Since the 2012 changes to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW), injured workers with a permanent impairment of 20% or less are entitled to weekly payments for up to a maximum of 260 weeks (5 years). For the purpose of determining whether a worker has an entitlement to weekly payments after 260 weeks, permanent impairment needs to be determined in accordance with the NSW workers compensation guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment as Whole Person Impairment (WPI).
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has recently reminded scheme agents that for some workers the 260 weeks will be reached in late 2017 or early 2018. As such, Insurers have begun proactively contacting around 7000 injured workers who may soon reach or have reached this 260-week threshold and have advised them that they must be assessed to determine whether or not they meet the 20% WPI threshold that may make them eligible for further payments. This article published by the Sydney Morning Herald in April 2017 shows the effect the changes in the law are having on injured workers.
Many injured workers are not aware that they can challenge the Insurer’s decision to cease their payments of weekly benefits. The Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) provides funding for injured workers to seek legal advice and obtain independent medical reports to refute the findings made by Insurers. WIRO funding can only be granted to WIRO approved lawyers. At CBD Law, we have a number of Approved Legal Service Providers who can make applications and receive grants of legal assistance to investigate your workers compensation claim.
If you are one of the almost 7000 injured workers who have recently been told that your workers compensation benefits have been or will be cut off, you should contact CBD Law immediately. At CBD Law, we can investigate whether your degree of permanent impairment exceeds this 20% WPI threshold by having you assessed by a medico-legal expert at no cost to you. We can also advise on other potential avenues of compensation through the workers compensation scheme or in the common law system.