by LINDA GERONIMO-SANTOS,
Solicitor NSW & WA
AS of June 19, 2012, changes to workers compensation claims have been effected in New South Wales. While the principles are similar, there are differences between workers compensation entitlements in New South Wales and in other States.
Basic changes in New South Wales.
•Journeys to and from work
Prior to 19th June 2012, the journey to and from work is covered by workers compensation. Post 19th June 2012, these journeys are deleted from compensable situations.
If you are injured and receiving weekly payments, your medical and other related expenses can be claimed up to 12 months from date of your claim.
If you are seriously injured, (MORE THAN 30% permanent impairment assessment as against the whole person (WPI)) this 12-month limit does not apply.
•Lump sum payment
If you made a claim after 19th June 2012, you are entitled to have a lump sum payment if your permanent impairment assessment as against the whole person is greater than l0%. Under 10%, you are not eligible for lump sum payment, but you may be eligible for weekly wages.
•Commutation of weekly wages –
To make weekly wages into a lump sum payment, will be allowed only if the permanent impairment (WPI) is assessed at least 15%
Under the amended legislation, the dependant’s allowance’ entitlements are now removed from schedule of benefits.
A new government body was established to assist workers in their workers compensation claim. A list of WIRO approved legal practitioners is available – the WIRO practitioners can provide legal assistance to legally assisted claimants.
The principle behind the workers compensation policy, i.e. to assist workers injured at work, remains the same. However, there is more emphasis now in the intention to get the worker back to work, e.g. occupational therapy, rehabilitation programme, etc. Further, there is limit to weekly payment entitlements under the new regime. Pre-19th June 2012, the worker may be entltled to ongoing weekly payments until retirement age; this has now been changed to entitlements up to 5 years. If there is substantial permanent incapacity (21%-30%), the worker may be entitled to additional weekly wages.
The writer is an approved WIRO legal service provider for legally assisted persons/workers under her professional name, Erlinda Lulu Geronimo.