Psychiatric issues

Sometimes the Commission can help bring new medical information to the case manager’s attention, before a final decision is made.

A 49-year-old worker was receiving a 30 per cent NEL (permanent impairment award) for bilateral elbow and shoulder injuries, as well as a neck injury. She had been receiving full LOE benefits for five years, after a number of unsuccessful attempts to return to work.

In May 2010 the worker was advised that, effective immediately, she was being referred to a labour market re-entry plan for four weeks of job search training. She was told that once she completed the training her benefits would be terminated. The decision did not refer to a recent medical specialist’s report containing new information including restrictions and possible new areas of entitlement (chronic pain and anxiety disorder). As a result of the Commission’s inquiry, the WSIB continued the worker’s benefits pending a psychiatric report.

The psychiatrist reported that the worker was suffering from a major depressive episode as a result of her chronic pain. She was also considered to be at risk of suicide.

On reviewing the report, the case manager allowed psychiatric treatment and medication for the period of the worker’s LMR plan. The LMR plan was changed and the worker was offered a certificate program in Customer Service Clerk, Retail, followed by an eight-week job search training program and a four-week paid work trial. The worker signed the LMR plan in October.