Those changes which will benefit injured workers are as follows:
All eligible injured workers who are receiving weekly payments of compensation until retirement age (which is 67 years for workers who were born in 1960 or later), will be entitled to continue receiving those payments until 12 months post retirement age (previously only workers who were injured prior to 1 October 2012 were entitled to continue receiving weekly benefits for 12 months post retirement). The injured worker is also eligible to continue to submit claims for medical treatment for an additional 12 months after the weekly benefits have ceased.
There has been an increase to the maximum amount payable under the death benefit from $528,400 to $750,000, which is an increase of 41% for workers who pass away on or after 5 August 2015. In addition, the amount of compensation for funeral expenses has increased from $9,000 to $15,000. These benefits are available to the dependents of a deceased worker or, if the deceased worker does not have any dependents, the worker’s estate.
The maximum amount payable for lump sum compensation for permanent impairment has also increased for workers who have a whole person impairment of greater than 10% (or 15% for psychological injuries) and who are injured on or after 16 October 2012. For example, if you have a whole person impairment of 11%, you could expect to receive lump sum compensation totalling $19,540, rather than $15,400 under the old scheme. For workers with a 75% whole person impairment or greater, the maximum compensation has increased from $220,000 to $577,050.
Further changes are expected in December 2015 and mid-2016 and we will keep you updated as the changes occur.