Non-Medical Expense Related Travel Policy 21-224 | Effective Date: January 1, 2020

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide direction to WorkSafeNB staff for paying expenses unrelated to medical treatment related travel.

Scope

This policy applies to:

  • All injured workers and survivors travelling for claim-related non-medical reasons, and to any companions or attendants required to accompany them.

Policy Statements

1.0 General

WorkSafeNB adjudicates all claims using the criteria outlined in Policy 21-100 Conditions for Entitlement – General Principles.

Once a claim is accepted, a worker may attend:

  • Non-medical appointments with WorkSafeNB staff, at the request of the staff member;
  • Appointments for vocational testing; and
  • Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal hearings. 

In addition, WorkSafeNB provides return to work services, including job training, that may require travel.

WorkSafeNB assists injured workers with travel expenses incurred while travelling in relation to a claim when the expenses exceed those generally incurred in day-to-day living. Payments are intended to offset additional costs that an injured worker may incur while travelling.

Payments may include, but are not limited to transportation, accommodation, meals, and associated child/dependant care expenses.

2.0 Appointments and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Hearings

2.1 Transportation

When injured workers are expected to travel for non-medical appointments WorkSafeNB reimburses transportation costs based on the actual distance travelled.

WorkSafeNB calculates transportation costs using the following formula:

Transportation costs = Distance travelled  x transportation rate.

For the current transportation rate see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

a) Travel Within New Brunswick

For travel within New Brunswick, this method is used to determine the amount payable, regardless of whether the injured worker chooses to travel by some other transportation method, unless the injured worker’s needs and condition warrants using an alternative mode of transportation (see section “c” below).

b) Travel Outside New Brunswick

For travel to appointments outside New Brunswick, WorkSafeNB arranges (or pre-approves) and pays for the injured worker’s transportation. When doing so, WorkSafeNB uses the most cost-effective and suitable means available.  

If WorkSafeNB recommends that an injured worker travel outside the province by car, the injured worker is reimbursed for transportation costs using the same formula and transportation rate outlined above.

WorkSafeNB reimburses injured workers at cost for pre-approved transportation by bus, taxi, train, ferry, or plane. Receipts are required.

WorkSafeNB does not cover the out-of-province portion of travel to attend Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal hearings. Alternatives to attending a hearing are available through workers’ advocates, full panel paper reviews, and telephone or video conference hearings.

When an injured worker chooses to travel by means other than that approved by WorkSafeNB, WorkSafeNB pays the lesser of:

  • The transportation rate for the distance travelled; or
  • The cost of the most economical, suitable means of transportation available. 

c) Alternative Modes of Transportation

When injured workers are unable to drive due to the injury or have a legitimate need to travel by an alternative mode of transportation, WorkSafeNB may approve and pay for an alternative mode of transportation (e.g. taxi, ambulance, plane, etc.).

In situations where personal use of a motor vehicle is not possible, workers are required to use the most appropriate and cost-effective mode of transportation (e.g. bus, taxi, etc.).

Before approving or paying for an alternative mode of transportation, WorkSafeNB:

  • Confirms the injured worker’s need to travel by an alternative mode; and
  • Determines if the alternative mode will meet the injured worker’s special needs.

The use of alternative modes of transportation must be pre-authorized by WorkSafeNB, except in the case of a medical emergency.   

d) Carpooling

If injured workers drive together, or with an attendant or companion, only the driver of the vehicle may claim transportation expenses.

e) Other Transportation Expenses

Expenses are paid at cost for ferries, road and bridge tolls, and parking fees. Receipts are required.

2.2 Accommodation

WorkSafeNB may pay for accommodations for injured workers who stay away from home overnight to attend non-medical appointments or Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal hearings, if:

  • Making the return trip is not safe or cost-effective; or
  • The injured worker’s needs and individual circumstances justify the overnight stay.

If the injured worker does not accept the recommended travel option, (i.e., travelling or staying overnight) WorkSafeNB reimburses the injured worker for the costs of the lesser of:

  • The option chosen; or
  • The option recommended by WorkSafeNB.

a) Travel Within New Brunswick

When injured workers are asked to stay overnight at a location within the province, they are reimbursed their accommodation costs up to the negotiated rate. Receipts are required.

For more information see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

When WorkSafeNB or injured workers make hotel reservations, WorkSafeNB rates should be requested. To receive WorkSafeNB rates for accommodations, injured workers must take with them a copy of the WorkSafeNB letter confirming the injured worker is required to travel to the area.

WorkSafeNB assists with accommodation arrangements if the injured worker requests.

b) Travel Outside New Brunswick

If an injured worker is asked to stay overnight at a location outside the province, WorkSafeNB pays the full cost of the accommodations (room-rate plus applicable tax). Receipts are required.

WorkSafeNB arranges out-of-province accommodations for injured workers. However, in some cases, WorkSafeNB may request injured workers to book their own accommodations. When making hotel reservations, injured workers may request WorkSafeNB rates.

In all cases, WorkSafeNB must approve the costs of accommodation before the stay takes place.

c) If No Receipt is Submitted

Injured workers who do not provide accommodation receipts, will not be reimbursed.

2.3 Meals

 WorkSafeNB may pay a daily meal amount to injured workers who travel to appointments and are not at home over meal hours. It may be paid in part or in full as circumstances warrant. For current rates, see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

3.0 Training and Return to Work

WorkSafeNB may pay a daily meal amount to injured workers who travel to appointments and are not at home over meal hours. It may be paid in part or in full as circumstances warrant. For current rates, see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

3.0 Training and Return to Work

Injured workers may be required to travel to attend training programs or to participate in return-to-work programs. This may cause a worker to have additional travel expenses, exceeding his/her pre-accident work-related travel expenses. WorkSafeNB helps injured workers pay for these additional expenses.

In determining expenses, WorkSafeNB considers such factors as whether the return-to-work training program is within a worker’s home area or away from it, and whether it is short or long-term.

3.1 Training Programs

a) Home Area vs. Away

The “home area” is the area within which WorkSafeNB expects a worker to commute to a return-to-work training program. This is typically within 75 kms of the worker’s home (one way). 

The home area may vary depending upon factors such as:

  • The worker’s functional limitations;
  • The driving conditions; and
  • The course schedule/demands

b) Training in the Home Area

Injured workers attending return-to-work training programs in their home area are reimbursed for their transportation costs only. This equals their actual distance travelled multiplied by the transportation rate. For the current transportation rate, see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

c) Training Away from Home Area

Injured workers attending return-to-work training programs away from their home area are also entitled to expense reimbursement. How this is calculated depends on whether the program is:

  • Short-term (three months or less); or
  • Long-term (more than three months).

In either case, WorkSafeNB works with injured workers to secure suitable, cost-effective living arrangements.

Short-term

Injured workers attending short-term return-to-work training programs away from their home area are entitled to travel expense payments in the same manner as injured workers travelling to attend appointments and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal hearings. Expenses are covered as follows:

  • Daily transportation from local accommodations to the training facility (distance travelled multiplied by the transportation rate);
  • Accommodations (actual cost of private or commercial accommodations, in-province maximum applies); and
  • Meals (full or partial per diem).

WorkSafeNB recognizes it may be difficult for injured workers to secure an apartment for short-term training periods. This is considered when determining payment for accommodations.

In addition, WorkSafeNB pays for return transportation from the injured worker’s home to the training area as outlined in section “d” below.

For current rates, see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

Long-term

Injured workers attending long-term training programs away from their home area are entitled a reimbursement amount to help cover the costs of daily transportation and accommodations. WorkSafeNB recognizes that injured workers should be able to find affordable long-term rental accommodations.

A reimbursement amount is paid up to a weekly maximum. Receipts must be submitted for reimbursement. For the current rates, see Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

In addition to the above reimbursement amount, WorkSafeNB provides to injured workers attending a long-term training program, a meal amount that is equal to 50% of the meal per diem outlined in Fee Schedule 29-224 Non-Medical Expense Related Travel.

d) Travel between the Training Area & the Worker’s Home

In addition to the payments described in section “c” (above), injured workers in short or long-term training programs away from their home area are entitled to payments to help cover the cost of trips home. WorkSafeNB pays costs for travel between the training facility and the worker’s home as follows:

  • A one way trip at the start of the program;
  • A one way trip at its conclusion; and
  • A round trip every month during the program, as long as it does not disrupt the worker’s participation in the program. 

If the program is outside New Brunswick, WorkSafeNB arranges (or pre-approves) the worker’s transportation. When doing so, WorkSafeNB uses the most cost-effective and suitable means available. 

Note: WorkSafeNB may authorize and pay for additional return trips home if an injured worker’s needs and individual circumstances justify this expense.

3.2 Return-to-work Programs

WorkSafeNB pays transportation costs to injured workers who participate in WorkSafeNB approved return-to-work programs, if attending the program causes the worker to have additional expenses that exceed normal pre-accident work-related travel expenses.

For example, a worker who carpooled prior to an accident may be unable to carpool while on a return-to-work program due to the unusual hours of the program. As a result, this worker may have additional travel expenses as long as carpooling is unavailable.  

4.0 Attendants and Companions

WorkSafeNB authorizes a companion or attendant to travel with an injured worker, if the injured worker’s needs and individual circumstances justify this expense.

WorkSafeNB pays authorized attendants/companions’ travel expenses under this policy, in the same manner as it pays injured workers’ expenses. 

WorkSafeNB does not normally reimburse any lost wages an attendant/companion may experience. However, WorkSafeNB-authorized personal care attendants hired to assist injured workers at home are paid a fee for services as outlined in Policy 25-003 Home Care and Independence. 

5.0 Child/Dependant Care Expenses

WorkSafeNB reimburses injured workers to help offset additional child/dependant care expenses: 

  • When the expense exceeds what the injured worker would pay when working; and
  • If the care is required to cover a period of absence due to a non-medical appointment related to the claim.

Payments are made according to Fee Schedule 29-223 Child/Dependant Care Expenses. Receipts are required.

6.0 Advances

Where it will avoid financial hardship, travel expenses may be paid in advance. Injured workers are required to submit receipts for accommodations and alternate pre-approved transportation (e.g. taxis, buses) at the conclusion of the travel period. All receipts should be submitted to WorkSafeNB within 30 calendar days.

Money paid in advance in excess of the actual travel expense incurred is considered an overpayment and the injured worker is required to repay the overpayment in full. For more information, see Policy 21-290 Recovery of Claim-related Overpayments.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workers’ Compensation Act (RSNB 1973, c W-13)

43

Tax Implications

Transportation, meals and accommodations that are paid to an injured worker for travel for non-medical reasons are generally exempt from reporting on T5007.

Appeals Tribunal – means the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal established under the WHSCC & WCAT Act.

Negotiated rate – a fixed rate for accommodation that has been agreed upon between WorkSafeNB and a service provider for provision of accommodations for injured workers.

WorkSafeNB – means the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission or "the Commission" as defined by the WHSCC & WCAT Act.

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