As a result of the 2012 reforms injured workers lose their entitlement to compensation by way of weekly payments once the worker has received 260 weeks of payments whether consecutive or not. A week of payment includes any payment during the week even if only for one hour. The reforms provided that the calculation of the number of weeks did not commence until 1 January 2013 where the worker was injured prior to 1 October 2012.
The result is that the first workers to accumulate 260 weeks of weekly entitlements face having their payments terminated with effect from 1 October 2017 with the majority of workers facing this from 26 December 2017.
In order to facilitate the determination of which workers will be affected insurers have commenced writing to a worker likley to reach the 260 week limit and inviting them to attend for an independent medical examination paid for by the insurer. The inference in the correspondence has been that this examination and report will determine the eligibility of the worker for weekly payments withouth indicating that the worker is entitled to challenge the medical assessment at the Workers Compensation Commission in the usual way.
This would be likely to cause workers a number of concerns and workers should be properly advised about their rights and the merits of accepting the degree of permanent impairment assessed at these examinations. For that purpose WIRO is prepared to pay $750.00 (+GST) for advice by Approved Lawyers to workers.
A simplified form for seeking funding appears on this page.
If, following the provision of that advice, the worker provides instructions to seek an alternative medical assessment to consider whether to challenge the insurers assessment, once WIRO confirms those instructions have been received the grant of funding may be extended for an additional $750.00 (+GST) to a total of $1,500.00 (+GST). WIRO will also fund the provision of medical report by an appropriate medical specialist.
There is a view that section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 would require a medical assessment certificate issued by an approved medical specialist in order for a worker to qualify for continued weekly payments. This approach by WIRO has been developed having regard to different views expressed about whether the only path to deal with section 39 is through the Commission.