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Changes to Benefits for Injured Workers

The NSW Worker’s Compensation Scheme was in dire straits. It was $4.1 billion in the red, we faced premium increases of 28 % and 12,000 jobs were at risk. Apparently all is now “back on track “. In an extraordinary turnaround the scheme we are advised has returned to surplus!

Although the changes were expected to deliver financial benefits to the scheme the length of time that supposedly this has occurred in, and the level of impact on the deficit has surprised most people. As a result we are again seeing a more employee friendly environment. Some of us may argue it never really changed especially in relation to liability decisions.

The government has announced a number of changes to benefits for injured workers for compensation in respect to an injury made before 1 October 2012 as outlined;

  1. Access to medical benefits until retirement for workers with a whole person impairment between 21 % and 30 % without regard to the time limit in section 59A of the 1987 Act.
  2. Access to crutches, artificial members, eyes or teeth, and other artificial aids and spectacles as well as hearing aids and batteries as well as home and vehicle modification until retirement.
  3. Workers injured in the 12 months before their retirement age will be have the same entitlements as those who were injured at or after retirement age.
  4. The time under section 59A will not apply to secondary surgery (where it is consequential on earlier surgery and affects a part of the body affected by the earlier surgery) and was approved by the insurer within 2 years after the initial surgery.
  5. Work Capacity decisions of insurers are stayed until conclusion of the review process providing that the original application for review of the insurer’s decision is made within 30 days.

It is believed that these changes will cost the scheme some $280 million which the government states can be absorbed by the existing surplus. Time will tell if the scheme continues to show improvement or if these changes and other possible changes to benefits in the pipe line potential see the scheme fall back into a deficit situation

For further information or to see the services offered by Affida and how they may be able to help you, please visit our Dedcate pageAffida – Workplace Insurance

 

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