Further Gains Won Back For Injured Workers
Following a long campaign by Stacks Law Firm and other concerned groups the government has given further ground in its unfair cuts to compensation for injured workers.
In December the government restored some entitlements to injured workers to assist them in their recovery and help them return to work.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, announced a series of changes to the entitlements available for injured workers, many of which were taken away in 2012 in a major cutback of benefits.
The government said benefits that apply from 4 December include:
? protection of weekly payments while a work capacity decision is under review;
? increased entitlement periods to medical expenses for all workers;
? minimum weekly amount as a safety net for workers with the highest needs;
? medical expenses for life for all workers with high needs;
? hearing aids and prosthesis for life for all workers.
Eligible workers with claims made before the new provisions commenced on 5 August 2015 may now have further entitlement to medical expenses and weekly benefits.
Mr Dominello said changes under the Workers Compensation Amendement Act 2015 were being delivered in stages.
In October, the NSW Government increased lump sum payments for permanent impairment, death and funeral expenses, and extended weekly benefits in some circumstances until 12 months after reaching retirement age.
Further enhancements to the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme in relation to legal costs and return to work arrangements are expected to commence in 2016.
Workers compensation specialist Erin Woodward at Stacks Law Firm said the latest government changes restore some of the entitlements taken away from injured workers by the government in 2012.
“Injured workers were hit hard by the government’s cutbacks to benefits and this goes only part way to getting back to where we were prior to 2012,” she said.
“The government still has a long way to go to restore the rights of workers who need assistance to get on with their lives after being injured at work.”
“Injured workers are having to deal with experienced and trained insurance representatives in matters that are very important to the worker. For this reason it is important to have a lawyer who specialises in workers’ compensation to help ensure that the appropriate assistance is available,” Ms Woodward said.
The workers’ compensation scheme was slashed after it ran up a deficit of $4 billion. After slashing benefits to injured workers it now has a surplus of $1 billion.