Section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/wca1987255/s39.html) is going to start cutting off injured workers from receiving workers compensation weekly payments in 2017.
Have you received a letter from your insurer, telling you your workers compensation weekly payments are going to stop later this year?
You’re not the only one. Around 6,500 injured workers across New South Wales are about to be affected by changes to the Workers Compensation Scheme which were put in place in 2012.
The right to get workers compensation weekly payments after a person is injured at work was once an ongoing entitlement – that is, you would be able to get weekly payments for as long as you needed it up until retirement age. Under the 2012 changes, a limit of 260 weeks of weekly benefits was introduced.
This means that after a worker has received 260 weeks of workers compensation payments, they would be cut off. This limit would not affect payments already made, so the 260 week “countdown” started in 2012. If you do the math, that means the first wave of permanently injured workers are about to reach 260 weeks later this year.
Can I get weekly payment past 260 weeks?
There are ways an injured worker can still get weekly payments after 260 weeks.
The law says payments will continue where the worker can show they are over 20% whole person impaired. The “whole person impairment” rating can only be iven by a doctor who is certified by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (“SIRA”) to give such an assessment.
If you’ve received a letter about the possible termination of weekly payments under Section 39, chances are your insurer has already arranged for you to see one of these doctors. Even if the insurer’s doctor has given you a whole person impairment rating of less than 20%, it is important that you speak to a lawyer, as you may be able to challenge this decision.
There are other complicated factors which may affect your situation. For instance, if you are about to have surgery for your condition, or have recently undergone surgery, you may fall into a special kind of category where you do not need a rating of 20% whole person impairment. These are important things to discuss with your lawyer.
What can I do?
Talk to a lawyer for free.
Workers about to be affected by section 39 are entitled to receive free legal advice about their options.
If it appears likely you may be able to challenge the insurer’s determination, or if you have a claim for other workers compensation benefits, Brazel Moore Compensation Lawyers will be able to investigate and run your matter free of charge.
Contact Brazel Moore Compensation Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699 for a free, friendly and confidential chat about your workers compensation matter today.