Who can provide social work services? 

The WorkSafe Agent (the Agent) can only pay for social work services provided by healthcare professionals who are:

  • registered by WorkSafe to provide social work services 
  • able to show proof of eligibility for full membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers or relevant tertiary qualifications, and
  • able to provide evidence of current professional indemnity insurance. Further information on WorkSafe's required level of professional indemnity insurance can be found on WorkSafe's Application for Registration to Provide Services to Workers.

WorkSafe expectations for the delivery of social work services

  • WorkSafe expects that all social workers providing services to workers as part of the Victorian Workers' Compensation Scheme integrate the principles of the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services to Injured Workers (Clinical Framework) into their daily practice.

The Clinical Framework is based on the following principles:

  1. Measurable treatment effectiveness must be demonstrated.
  2. A biopsychosocial approach is essential for the management of pain.
  3. Treatment must focus on empowering the worker to manager their injury.
  4. Treatment goals must be functional and focused on return to work.
  5. Treatment must be based on the best evidence available.

Referral requirements

  • A medical practitioner must provide a request for social work services prior to commencement of treatment:
    • WorkSafe considers social workers to be a referred service. A request from a medical practitioner must therefore be provided.
    • Referred services include all approved health services with the exception of medical, chiropractic, physiotherapy, osteopathic, optometry, dental and podiatry services.
  • No referral to other health services:
    • WorkSafe does not allow social workers to provide referrals to other health services.

How much can the Agent pay?

The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of social work services up to the maximum amount as detailed in WorkSafe's Social work services fee schedule.

What the Agent can pay for

The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of social work services that meet all of the following criteria:

  • Treatment is for a work-related injury or illness
  • The provider is currently registered as an social worker with WorkSafe
  • A medical practitioner has provided a request for treatment
  • The service is in line with the principles of the Clinical Framework.

Family Counselling

The Agent will pay the reasonable costs of family counselling services, up to the maximum statutory amount, when:

  • Incurred in Australia
  • Provided by a medical practitioner, psychologist or social worker currently registered with WorkSafe
  • Provided upon prior approval from the Agent
  • Provided to the family member/s of the worker who has:
    • Died as a result of an injury, or
    • Sustained a severe injury. A severe injury is an injury which was incurred on or after 1 July 2006, required an immediate in-patient treatment in a hospital and meets the definition of a severe injury under the Victorian workers compensation legislation, and
  • Where the family member is a partner, parent, sibling or child of the worker or of the worker's partner. Parent includes a person who has day to day care and control of the worker.

Note: A medical practitioner request is not required for the provision of family counselling services which meet the above criteria.

What the Agent will not pay for

  • Non-attendance/cancellation:
    • The Agent will not pay for appointments where the worker cancels or does not attend.
  • Telephone conversations:
  • The Agent will not pay for telephone consultations or conversations, either to the worker or other related parties (such as the employer, WorkSafe or other healthcare professionals).
  • More than one consultation on the same day:
    • The Agent will not pay for more than one social work consultation provided on the same day to the same worker.
  • Provision of more than one allied health service on the same day:
    • Where a social worker is registered with WorkSafe for more than one allied health service (for example, social workers and remedial massage), the Agent will not pay for the provision of more than one service type to the worker on the same day.

Further information

Contact the referring Agent or email [email protected].

Note: This policy is a guideline issued by WorkSafe Victoria under Victorian workers compensation legislation in respect of the reasonable costs of services, and services for which approval should be sought from the WorkSafe Agent or self-insurer (as the case may be) before the services are provided.

Important information