Injured workers hurting from compo changes

Carol Howard
Welfare Officer

Federation is receiving more and more calls as the 2012 changes to the Workers Compensation Act show their real impact on injured workers.

All members are asked to write to their NSW MP expressing their concern and asking for the changes to be repealed.

Members are being informed by Allianz, the Department of Education and Communities’ insurer, that because they have returned to full duty and as a result have not received any weekly payments in the past 12 months, their medical and treatment expenses will not be paid. Members often return to work while they are waiting for their injury to stabilise but know that they may need further surgery. If they wait for more than 12 months Allianz will not fund the surgery, recovery time, or related rehabilitation costs.

Allianz is legally correct, according to Workers Compensation Act Section 59A Limit on payment of compensation.

The cessation of payments also applies to teachers who have returned to work but have continued to regularly receive ongoing treatment such as physiotherapy or rely on medications (some of which are very expensive).

Where members have a greater than 10 per cent whole loss of function to person, Federation has been able to refer those financial members to Federation Law to pursue section 66 of the Act, Entitlement to compensation for permanent impairment:

“(1) A worker who receives an injury that results in a degree of permanent impairment greater than 10% is entitled to receive from the worker’s employer compensation for that permanent impairment as provided by this section. Permanent impairment compensation is in addition to any other compensation under this Act.

“Note: No permanent impairment compensation is payable for a degree of permanent impairment of 10% or less.

“(1A) Only one claim can be made under this Act for permanent impairment compensation in respect of the permanent impairment that results from an injury.”

If members are being impacted by these changes they should seek advice from Federation.