Non-earner benefits are weekly payments given to certain accident victims who did not receive regular employment wages at the time of an accident. The specifics regarding non-earner wages are detailed in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) in Part II (12).
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Qualifying for Non-Earner Benefits
SABS 12(1) notes that insurers must pay non-earner benefits to injured victims with impairments if they meet one of the following criteria.
- “The insured person suffers a complete inability to carry on a normal life as a result of and within 104 weeks after the accident and does not qualify for an income replacement benefit.”
- The victim cannot carry on a normal life because of the accident and either was enrolled as a full-time student or graduated within the last year but had yet to secure employment related to their higher education.
In other words, non-earner accident benefits are essentially for victims who don’t qualify for Income Replacement Benefits or Caregiver Benefits (which are an optional benefit) or qualifying students older than the age of 16.
How much do non-earners receive?
In contrast to income replacement, non-earner benefits do not fluctuate. First, it’s important to note that non-earners are not entitled to benefits for the first 26 weeks of their disability. After that period ends, there are only two tiers of non-earner benefits, each with a set benefit amount.
- Up to two years – after the first 26 weeks and up to the two-year mark from the date of injury, the non-earners will receive a weekly entitlement of $185.
- After two years – after the two-year mark, if the claimant was enrolled in school at the time of injury, the weekly entitlement increases to $320.
Factors Considered for Non-Earner Entitlements
Even though the statutes seem fairly straightforward, it can be quite difficult to determine entitlement to non-earner benefits. This is primarily because the courts will look at a number of factors when determining if an accident victim should, in fact, be entitled to a weekly benefit.
In Heath v. Economical, the Court of Appeal decided that courts need to take the following factors into considering when determining entitlement:
- Is there a complete inability to carry on a normal life and normal activities compared with prior to the injury?
- Does the claimant’s disability continuously and substantially prevent him/her from engaging in nearly all of his or her pre-accident activities?
- Is the claimant’s degree of pain preventing him or her from performing normal activities?
Also, the courts must review the claimant’s activities over a reasonable period of time, rather than just a snapshot of their life immediately prior to the accident. Essentially, the courts want a complete picture of exactly how the injury affects the victim to determine whether or not non-earner benefits are necessary.
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Preszler Law Can Help File for Non-Earner Benefits in Ontario
If you were recently involved in an auto accident in Ontario, call Preszler Law to discuss your case. We can determine for which benefits you may qualify and help you pursue the maximum amount to which you’re entitled. Contact us today at 1-800-JUSTICE® to set up your free legal consultation.