Short Term Disability

The Short Term Disability benefit (Wage Indemnity) is a wage replacement program if you are sick or have a non-occupational accident. You can receive benefits for up to 15 weeks, after which you have to apply for EI sickness benefits if you are still disabled. You may be eligible for a further 15 weeks of payments if you do not qualify for EI or you are still disabled after the EI benefits run out.


If you become sick or disabled…

…the last thing you need to be worrying about is lost wages. That is why the Plan offers a short term disability benefit, in case you develop a non-occupational illness or disability. (Occupational illnesses or injuries are covered through Workers’ Compensation.)

You must be under the full-time care and treatment of a licensed physician, surgeon or oral surgeon. You can also claim short term disability benefits if you are totally disabled and being treated by a registered chiropractor, for a maximum of four weeks.

Alcohol and drug addiction are also considered eligible illnesses but only if you are undergoing treatment in the B.C. Construction Rehabilitation Plan, or through a recognized treatment facility through that plan, or at a detox centre in conjunction with the B.C. Construction Rehabilitation Plan program.

The indemnity is also available in the case of pregnancy, where a member is not eligible for EI Maternity Benefits.

You can make a claim even if you are self-employed or gainfully employed. Just remember that this benefit does not cover occupational illness or injury.

If your disability is prolonged, then you must apply for EI Sick Benefits (if you are eligible) about four weeks before the 15th week of disability. These benefits may last you another 15 weeks.

If you do not qualify for EI Sick Benefits, you may still be eligible for another 15 weeks of short term disability benefits. Contact the Plan Office for details.


When you file a claim…

…it should be no later than 30 days from the start of your disability, unless you can provide a written explanation as to why that was not possible.

Your claim will be assessed on the basis of information from you and your doctor. If your claim is turned down, and you are dissatisfied with the explanation provided, you can ask the Plan Administrator to review your claim.

You will receive your benefit as long as you continue to be eligible, for a maximum of 15 weeks.


Your benefits will begin

  • in case of injury, on the first day of disability.
  • in case of injury or illness leading to hospitalization, on the first day you are admitted as an in-patient.
  • in the case of illness that does not lead to hospitalization, on the fourth day of disability. (This waiting period is waived if you have a chronic illness and require periodic specialized treatment, such as kidney dialysis, as an out-patient at an approved general hospital.)
  • in the case of oral surgery, of the first day of surgery.

The short term disability benefit is not available for…

  • occupational injuries or illness (you must apply to Workers’ Compensation).
  • injuries or illness resulting from a motor vehicle accident (MVA) regardless of whether or not you are at fault.
  • injuries or illness caused by war, taking part in a riot or disorderly conduct, or your service as a member of any armed forces.
  • injuries or illness sustained while committing a criminal offence.
  • any period in which you are not under your doctor’s care.
  • members who are receiving any form of pension from the Carpentry Workers’ Pension Plan of B.C.
  • claims made under false pretences. Members making such a claim will be ineligible for the indemnity for one year.

and several others. Be sure to contact the Plan Office if you require further information.


In special cases…

  • you already have other short term disability coverage. If so, your total benefit must be no greater than 80% of your normal earnings. Otherwise, your Plan benefit will be reduced proportionately.
  • a third party is liable for your injury. If so, you may still receive the benefit, but you must agree in writing to reimburse the Plan when you receive payment from the third party.
  • the Workers’ Compensation Board has rejected your claim, and you are appealing it through your local union. If so, you may still receive the benefit, but you must agree in writing to reimburse the Plan when you receive payment from Workers’ Compensation.
  • your disability is a recurrence of a former ailment for which you already received the indemnity benefit. You are allowed one maximum claim during any one 12-month period. To qualify for further benefits, you must have returned to work with a participating union employer for at least four consecutive weeks.