Update on SHORT TERM DISABILITY BENEFITS in light of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Under the IUOE Local 793 Life and Health Benefits Plan (the “Plan”), Short Term Disability Benefits are integrated with Employment Insurance (EI) and Plan Members must apply first for EI Sickness Benefits.
Normally, a worker who qualifies for EI Sickness Benefits serves an unpaid one-week waiting period before a maximum of 15 weeks of EI sickness benefit payments start. For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the federal government announced on March 11, 2020 that the EI program waiting period will be eliminated, so qualifying individuals would get EI sickness benefits for the entire 14-day quarantine period.
The federal government is also waiving the requirement for a medical certificate. However, the exact documentation that is required for claimants who go into quarantine as required by law or by a public-health official, is yet to be determined.
The federal government has also determined that if you are put into quarantine as a precaution and aren’t sick but then test positive for COVID-19, a signed medical certificate confirming the diagnosis would be required to receive EI Sickness Benefits past the initial period of quarantine. These benefits could extend for a maximum of 14 weeks.
If the COVID-19 virus extends past the claimants EI sickness entitlement, the Plan Member may be eligible for an additional 10 weeks of short-term disability under the Plan, provided medical documentation supports the extended benefits.
What if I don’t qualify for EI Sick Benefits? For Plan Members who do not qualify for EI Sickness Benefits the denial letter from Service Canada is required, as well as, medical documentation confirming the diagnosis past the initial 14-day quarantine period.
If you have any questions regarding entitlement to short terms disability benefits please contact the Disability Department at firstname.lastname@example.org