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Home | Legislation | Policies, decisions, changes > Changes to claims management effective 1 January 2008

Changes to claims management effective 1 January 2008

Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act) amendments for claims management came into effect from 1 January 2008 as part of a government package of better worker benefits. This aims to enhance benefits for longer-term injured workers and reduce claims duration through early rehabilitation and return to work.

 

Section 134 (decision making timeframes)

  • New applications for compensation made after 1 January 2008 only-insurers have 20 business days to decide an application for compensation (does not apply to applications made before that date).

 

Sections 150, 151, 152, 157 and 159 (weekly compensation benefits) - only for injuries sustained on or after 1 January 2008:

  • After the first 26 weeks, totally incapacitated workers will receive the greater of 75% of normal weekly earnings or 70% of QOTE for up to 2 years.
  • This rate will continue for up to 5 years if the worker has more than 15% work-related impairment (WRI).

 

Section 178A (new section about advances on lump sum payments).

  • Section 146 allows for advances on weekly compensation payments.
  • The new section 178A allows for advances on lump sum compensation payments.
  • Allows insurers to make advance payments on lump sum compensation to workers experiencing financial hardship.

 

Section 192 (lump sum payments)

  • Increased access to additional lump sum compensation by decreasing the WRI threshold from 50% to 30%-more workers are eligible to access lump sum payments.
  • Increased maximum additional lump sum to $218,400 (previously $199,240).

 

Section 203 (death benefit reduced for previous payments)

  • Deleted from the Act-payments to a deceased worker's dependants will no longer be reduced by any previous payments made.

 

Section 207B (new section about recovery of claim costs from third parties)

  • Extends an insurer's first right of recovery on damages

 

Section 235A (new section about common law management of over a period of time (OPT) injuries)

  • Streamlines the common law process for OPT (other than latent onset injuries) injuries-the date of injury is the date first seen by a doctor. This ties the procedural requirement of the damages claim to a single date.

 

Section 245 (common law management of multiple injuries from one incident) - only for injuries sustained on or after 1 January 2008.

  • Streamlines common law claims management in that unassessed or additional injuries claimed as part of the common law claim cannot be assessed for permanent impairment.

 

Sections 330, 264 and 479 (rehabilitation and return to work programs)

  • Clarifies that Q-COMP will now have a general function to administer rehabilitation and return to work programs across the workers' compensation scheme.