What are your entitlements?
If you have an accepted workers’ compensation claim there is an allocation of $239,179.00 for wages (the Prescribed Amount). The higher your wage, the quicker this allocation runs out, the lower your wage the longer it will last.
The Prescribed Amount is a gross amount, not a net amount. If your wages are $1,000.00 gross per week, being $838.00 net per week, then the Prescribed Amount will last 239 weeks or approximately 4.5 years. You will not receive the gross amount of $239,179.00 but the net amount of $200,282.00.
Weekly compensation payments are capped at a maximum of $2,772.00 gross per week under workers’ compensation. Even if you were earning more than this prior to your injury, your weekly wages will be reduced to $2,772.00 gross per week.
Generally speaking, you will only accrue leave and be paid superannuation if there is a contractual obligation (ie it’s contained in your employment contract). There is no obligation under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (the Act) to accrue or pay these.
Section 217 of the act dryly states:
Order as to the total liability of employer
What does this mean?
In simple terms, if the Prescribed Amount runs out and you are experiencing financial hardship and you are totally incapacitated for work you can apply to access up to 75% of the Prescribed Amount, being up to $179,384.00 gross.
Providing details of your social and financial circumstances is accomplished by filling out Form 101.
Permanent total incapacity for work means that you are unable to return to the job that you were doing, trained for or for any other job that you are reasonably qualified for. The evidence for this is gathered by obtaining a statement from you, a specialist medical report, (usually from an occupational physician), and a vocational rehabilitation and labour market research report from a vocational rehabilitation specialist.
The person who ultimately decides if you are to receive an extension of the Prescribed Amount up to a further 75% is a WorkCover Arbitrator at Arbitration (think trial at WorkCover minus the gowns and wigs). It takes more than a minute to get an Arbitrator’s decision though.
There is a process involved and this is it:
From the commencement of the process to a Pre-Arbitration Conference, it can take about 6 months.
From the commencement of the process to an Arbitration hearing, it can take in excess of 12 months. Then the Arbitrator reserves the decision and at times there can be a prolonged period from the actual Arbitration Hearing to the handing down of the decision.
It can be costly as well. Obtaining the medical reports and other supporting documents can cost anywhere from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00, depending on the complexity of the case.
At PPIL we fund the whole process. That means that you would not have to find the $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 to obtain the evidence (disbursements). We pay for the disbursements and at the successful conclusion of the process, when the workers’ compensation insurer agrees to pay a settlement amount, it will also agree to pay the majority of the legal fees and will refund the disbursements which have been incurred to obtain the evidence. Your contribution to our fees will never be more than 10% of your settlement amount. This is our capped fees guarantee.
This is a tough question. Your lack of income will be something that is considered by the workers’ compensation insurer in making offers to settle your claim. It will not be treated as a plus for you in their settlement offers.
We recommend that you:
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact PPIL or Justin Cvitan directly on 0488 700 596.
North Perth: 9443 5312
Mandurah: 9581 4339