The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) recently granted disability benefits with medical reimbursement to a 55-year-old driver, who suffered a stroke
The driver has been with the Social Security System (SSS) Koronadal Branch since October 1999. A known hypertensive and diabetic, the said SSS employee collapsed inside the SSS vehicle on March 17, 2018. He was rushed to the nearest hospital, where he was confined for 10 days. His final diagnosis was Hypertensive Intracerebral Hemorrhage.
The said SSS employee filed a claim for benefits at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the said illness. GSIS, the administering agency of ECC for the public sector workers, denied his claim for benefits on the ground that there was no evidence that his duties as a driver increased his risk for contracting the illness. Moreover, the GSIS cited that the employee is hypertensive and diabetic. Diabetes and all its complications that may lead to stroke are deemed non-compensable.
On appeal, the ECC found substantial evidence to award the benefits to the SSS employee under Presidential Decree No. 626. Applying the conditions of compensability of cerebrovascular accidents, the said employee is a known hypertensive and his condition remain poorly controlled as shown in his annual physical exam in 2017. Despite having knowledge on the employee’s health condition, there was no indication that his duties as driver were modified by his employer to reduce his exposure from physical stress or other risk factors.
Moreover, based on the incident report, days prior to the contingency, the said driver was required to help in lifting and transporting furniture and equipment, records and supplies from one office space to another, resulting to a strain at work which contributed to an increased risk of contracting cerebrovascular accident.
Under PD 626, as amended, there is an increased risk if the illness is caused or precipitated by factors inherent in the employees’ nature of work and working conditions.
The ECC reversed the appealed decision and granted the said employee applicable EC disability benefits and/or medical reimbursement under the EC Program.
EC claims for work-related sick or injury resulting in disability or death are filed at the SSS, for the private sector and at the GSIS, for the public sector.
D. Lacson – 3