Following an injury in early 2019, one of our clients had various periods of having no capacity to work, whilst on other occasions having sporadic periods of being fit to do suitable duties.
The worker was then able to maintain suitable duties for a period of four months and in doing so, whilst the workers compensation insurer provided make up pay in weekly compensation payments. However, the employer could not maintain the provision of the suitable role. Suitable duties was no longer available and our client was unable to return to normal duties. Although, no further suitable duties were provided by the employer, weekly compensation payments did not continue.
The worker elected to apply for Centrelink and commenced receiving Centrelink payments. It reached the point in time when we were able to send our client for an assessment on impairment as our client had reached maximum medical improvement. Following the receipt of the assessment report, we initiated a claim for this injured worker in relation to lump sum benefits for impairment and also a claim for the reinstatement of weekly compensation.
The claim as set out was not accepted by the workers compensation insurer, which prompted us to commence proceedings in the Personal Injury Commission for a determination on both of these entitlements. In the Personal Injury Commission, our client received a fabulous outcome, with an accepted offer for lump sum benefits claim relating to impairment and also a reinstatement of weekly compensation payments dating back 16 months, being the time when suitable duties and weekly payments ceased.
The outcome was a wonderful outcome however, the unfortunate part in this ride is the extensive timeframe for matters to be dealt with. Of course, in order to obtain appropriate medical opinion on impairment, we had to allow the worker to reach maximum medical improvement. The assessment report was to deal with not only the injured worker’s impairment rating, it had to deal with the issue of capacity to work as well.
An appointment was then made with the medico-legal assessor, whose earliest appointment was 10 weeks after we enquired. Following the assessment, there was a considerable wait for the assessment report. Thereafter, the claim was made and a wait of three months before a response was given by the workers compensation insurer. Of course, there was also a considerable delay in getting a report from the worker’s General Practitioner of four months, which obviously did not help expediting this claim. The outcome, nevertheless, was a successful one.
What an injured worker needs to be mindful of when weekly compensation payments are reinstated include, but are not necessarily restricted to the following:-
- The back payments of weekly compensation will be paid in a lump sum amount and this is taxable entirely, in the year in which it is received for taxation purposes.
- Any amounts received from Centrelink would need to be repaid to the department, for any benefits received during the period of the claim. This is usually on a dollar-for-dollar repayment to the department.
- Further, if they were receiving Centrelink at the time of the conclusion of the claim, not only would there be a potential repayment to the department for past benefits, Centrelink will cease ongoing payment payments if the outcome of the claim includes weekly compensation payments on a continuous basis. This is regardless, whether it is a job seeker benefit or a disability pension.
- It will usually be that the insurer will be the direct payer of the ongoing weekly compensation payments, which will require the worker to complete and provide a Tax File Number Declaration Form to the insurer.
Our client never gave up in this particular case. Here at Alliance Compensation Lawyers, we never give up on our clients. We know how the process works and we persevere. If ever you, a family member or friend need assistance in a compensation claim, reach out to us here at Alliance Compensation Lawyers and we will certainly give you a hand. Contact our office on 02 87641776 or email@example.com