If you have been injured in a car accident in Ottawa or anywhere else across Ontario, you may receive a notice from your own insurance company asking if you want to elect to receive a non-earner benefit. But what is this benefit and how much is it worth?
Am I Eligible?
Specific details regarding when the non-earner benefit is available are found in Part II of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) of the Insurance Act. Generally speaking, you are entitled to a non-earner benefit if one of the following situations apply:
1) You were unemployed or retired at the time of the accident; or
2) You were a full-time student or a recent graduate at the time of the accident.
In addition, you are only entitled to a non-earner benefit if you suffer from a “complete inability to carry on a normal life” as a result of the accident and are over 16 years old.
The courts in Ontario have held that to determine whether someone has suffered a complete inability to carry out a normal life, the insurance company should review the activities and circumstances of that person’s life before the accident and compare this to what are they able to do now, with more emphasis given to activities that were most important to them.
What is the Amount of the Non-Earner Benefit?
For accidents from September 1, 2019 to May 31, 2016 the benefit is not paid for the first 26 weeks after the accident. After 26 weeks, the weekly benefit is $185 per week until you reach age 65 or no longer meet the entitlement test. If you were a student at the time of the car accident, the non-earner benefit increases to $320 per week after the first 104 week period is over, if you continue to meet the entitlement test.
The amount of the non-earner benefit was reduced on June 1, 2016 for policies renewed on or after June 1, 2016. After June 1, 2016, the benefit is only paid for a maximum of 2 years, at the rate of $185 per week. In addition to being reduced to two years, the benefit no longer increases to $320 per week if you were a student.
If you have been seriously injured a motor vehicle accident in Ottawa or anywhere else in Ontario and would like a free consultation to discuss what benefits or damages may be available to you, contact one of our experienced injury lawyers today. We only handle injury and disability claims and would be pleased to discuss your case with you.