2012-2013 Workers Compensation Changes: Weekly Payments
The Workers Compensation Act was substantially amended in June 2012 with one of the major changes affecting weekly payments.
Prior to the changes workers were entitled to claim weekly compensation as a result of injuries sustained at work. The payments were payable until retirement age provided:
a) You were unfit for your pre-injury employment, and
b) You were cerified by a medical practitioner as being either unfit for work or fit for suitable duties, and
c) You were suffering an ongoing loss of income.
As a result of the changes unless you are classed as suffering serious injury you are now limited to weekly payments to a maximum of five years set into three periods. They are:
For the first thirteen (13) weeks while you are unfit for your pre-injury employment you are entitled to claim the following:
a) If you are totally unfit for work, 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, or
b) If you are fit for some form of employment then you are able to receive 95% of your average weekly earnings less any current earnings in light duty employment.
The pre-injury average earnings are assessed as being your earnings prior to the injury which includes any overtime and shift allowances.
From weeks thirteen (13) to week one hundred and thirty (130) you are able to claim the following weekly payments:
a) If you are totally unfit, 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, or
b) If you have a current work capacity and have returned to work for 15 hours per week or more, 95% of your average weekly earnings less your earnings or ability to earn, or
c) If you have a current work capacity and have not returned to work or have returned for less than 15 hours per week, 80% of your average weekly earnings less your earnings or ability to earn.
Weekly payments generally cease after 130 weeks however there are some circumstances where you are entitled to receive ongoing payments which cease depending on the degree of your injury. Payments are available in the following circumstances:
a) If you are assessed by the insurer as having no current work capacity and that is likely to continue indefinitely, then you are entitled to 80% of your average weekly earnings, or
b) If you are assessed by the insurer as having a current work capacity then you are entitled to weekly payments at 80% of your average weekly earnings less your earnings or capacity to earn provided:
i) You have applied in writing to the insurer no earlier than 52 weeks before the end of the second period for continuation of weekly payments, and
ii) You have returned to work for not less than 15 hours per week and earning at least $155.00 per week, and
iii) You have been assessed by the insurer as being indefinitely incapable of undertaking further additional employment.
Five Year Limit
Weekly payments in most circumstances are limited to a maximum period of five years. Payments are however available indefinitely if you have a permanent impairment which is greater than 20% whole person impairment. Unless you considered as being seriously injured, those ongoing payments will be subject to the insurer assessing your work capacity regularly.
A seriously injured worker is a worker who is assessed as greater than 30% whole person impairment.
If you require assistance in determining whether you have been paid correctly or need assistance in making a claim for weekly payments contact LHD Lawyers today.