Extended payments for long-term injured workers

Long-term injured workers transitioning off workers' compensation will now receive up to an additional six months of weekly payments.

Last updated

Monday 27 Apr 2020

Introduction

Long-term injured workers, currently transitioning off workers' compensation at 130 weeks or who have received a notice that ceased their entitlements from 1 December 2019, will now receive extended weekly payments for up to six months.

These changes are to support long-term injured workers' recovery and return to work or transition from workers' compensation during the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the extended payments

Prior to the changes, if an injured worker had an accepted claim for workers' compensation, WorkSafe or a self-insurer would pay weekly payments until the worker could return to pre-injury work.

For the first 13 weeks (first entitlement period):

Workers could receive 95 per cent of their pre-injury average weekly earnings, subject to a statutory maximum of double the Victorian average weekly earnings.

From 14 weeks to 130 weeks (second entitlement period):

Workers could receive 80 per cent of their pre-injury average weekly earnings, subject to a statutory maximum of double the Victorian average weekly earnings.

Where a worker is not eligible for weekly payments beyond 130 weeks, they would receive a written notice that their entitlement will cease and be provided with a minimum of 13 weeks' notice from the date of the notice. This is referred to as a second entitlement decision.

Under the changes, the notice period will increase from 13 weeks to 39 (total) weeks for second entitlement decisions that are made from 1 December 2019 to 23 October 2020.

This means that at the end of 130 weeks, when a long-term injured worker receives a notice for a second entitlement decision, they will receive extended access to 39 weeks of weekly payments from the date of their notice.

In practice, it is intended that an injured worker is given a minimum of 13 weeks' notice when the entitlement to weekly payments ceases prior to the expiry of the 130 secondary entitlement period, and after this date that they continue to receive payments for a further 26 weeks (13+26 =39 weeks) paid in accordance with the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.

Information for injured workers

What if I received a notice for a second entitlement decision during the relevant period, but I have stopped receiving weekly payments?

The changes apply to decisions made from 1 December 2019, which means that for some workers their entitlements to weekly payments may have already ceased.

Where this applies, your WorkSafe Agent or employer will contact you to advise of your eligibility to extended payments and arrange for back payment of any payments that you may have otherwise been entitled to.

How long will the extended payments last?

This will depend on when your second entitlement decision was issued.

You can use the below table to determine your entitlement to extended payments under the changes.

Date of second entitlement decision

Entitlements to extended weekly payments

Second entitlement decision issued on or after 1 December 2019 and the 13 week notice period has expired.

 

Your weekly payments will resume and you will receive an additional 26 weeks of weekly payments (13+26=39).

 

You will receive back payment of any weekly payments that you would have received in the time between the expiry of the 13 week notice period and the reinstatement of your weekly payments.

 

Second entitlement decision issued on or after 1 December 2019 and the 13 week notice period has not expired.

 

You will receive an additional 26 weeks of weekly payments from the date that your entitlement to weekly payments was due to cease (13+26=39).

 

Second entitlement decision issued on or after 25 April 2020.

 

You will be given a minimum of 13 weeks’ notice of the termination of the entitlement to weekly payments and an additional 26 weeks of weekly payments beyond your cease date.

What happens after the 39 weeks ends?

If you have not returned to work or found new employment within the 39 week period, you may be eligible to receive other financial assistance, including the JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments, depending on your individual circumstances and when your entitlement to weekly payments ceases.

Am I still eligible for other workers' compensation benefits while receiving the extended payments?

The extended weekly payments will not impact your eligibility to any other benefits and entitlements under the WorkCover scheme, including access to medical and like expenses.

For further information about these benefits and entitlements, visit the Claims process for workers.

Can I also access the new JobKeeper payment?

You should speak to your employer to determine whether you are eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment.

What if I am eligible to both the JobKeeper payment and the extended weekly payments?

Your JobKeeper payment will be taken into account in calculating your weekly payments.

Please contact your WorkSafe Agent or employer to find out more.

Can I have my second entitlement decision reviewed?

Yes, you can. Details on how to do this are provided in your decision letter.

Exercising your right to have your decision reviewed will not affect your ability to access the extended weekly payments.

In some cases, you can also apply to continue to receive weekly payments after the expiry of the second entitlement period and the extended access to weekly payments. Your WorkSafe Agent or employer can provide you with further information about this process.

Need help?

We understand this may be a difficult or distressing time and we don't want to make things harder for you. If you have any questions about this process, please contact our Advisory Service on 1800 136 089, your WorkSafe Agent or employer.

More information for employees

Information for employers

What do I need to do if my employees are eligible for the extended payment?

If your employees are eligible for the extended payment, your WorkSafe Agent will contact them to let them know they are eligible.

Your WorkSafe Agent will also contact you to let you know that your worker is eligible to receive the extended weekly payments.

You should start paying the weekly payments to your worker and request reimbursement from your WorkSafe Agent using the ordinary processes.

In some circumstances, the WorkSafe Agent may pay the weekly payments directly to the worker.

How long will the extended payments last?

This depends on the date that your employees' second entitlement decision was issued.

You can use the below table to determine the different entitlements to extended payments under the changes.

Date of second entitlement decision

Entitlements to extended weekly payments

Second entitlement decision issued on or after 1 December 2019 and the 13 week notice period has expired.

 

An injured worker’s weekly payments will resume and they will receive an additional 26 weeks of weekly payments (13+26=39).

 

They will receive back payment of any weekly payments that they would have received in the time between the expiry of the 13 week notice period and the reinstatement of their weekly payments.

 

Second entitlement decision issued on or after 1 December 2019 and the 13 week notice period has not expired.

 

An injured worker will receive an additional 26 weeks of weekly payments from the date that their entitlement to weekly payments was due to cease (13+26=39).

 

Second entitlement decision issued on or after 25 April 2020.

 

An injured worker will be given a minimum of 13 weeks’ notice of the termination of the entitlement to weekly payments and an additional 26 weeks of weekly payments beyond their cease date.

 

Is my worker still eligible for the JobKeeper payment if they are being paid the extended weekly payments?

If you are an eligible employer under the scheme, the entitlement of your worker to the JobKeeper payment will depend on their current work capacity.

A worker receiving workers' compensation will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if they are working, for example on reduced hours, but will generally not be eligible if they are not working.

You should advise your WorkSafe Agent if your worker is eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Can my worker receive the JobKeeper payment and extended weekly payments at the same time?

Yes, they can. Their JobKeeper payment will be taken into account in calculating their weekly payments.

Please contact your WorkSafe Agent to find out more.

Will workers still be eligible for other workers' compensation benefits while receiving the payment?

The amendments will not impact a worker's eligibility to any other benefits and entitlements under the WorkCover scheme, including access to medical and like expenses.

Where applicable, workers will also be provided with additional supports, including occupational rehabilitation, over the extended 39 week period. This will assist with planning for the worker's return to work.

How will these extended payments be funded?

The extended payments will be funded through the WorkCover scheme.

If the worker is employed by a self-insurer, the costs associated with the extended payments will be covered directly by their employer.

More information for employers