Jul 07

Protect yourself against insurance company vultures

We recently received a number of calls from distressed injured workers claiming insurance companies were threatening to take away their current entitlements, so we contacted WorkCover . According to their response, injured workers are currently protected until they undergo capacity assessments from any assault on there current benefits –  and as the reply states: Due to the large number of people receiving payments, it may take more than 12 months for all existing claimants to undergo a work capacity assessment.. Existing weekly payment rules will continue to apply until the person has undergone an individual work capacity assessment.  Furthermore, any intention to alter current arrangements needs to be preceded by written intention by the insurer of at least three months prior to making alterations.  We advise anyone who have and who have been threatened with having their benefits altered without going through this process, contact WorkCover and your legal representatives.

Here is the official response we received

WorkCover NSW reply

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the changes to the workers compensation legislation in New South Wales.

The Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 and the Safety, Return to Work and Support Board Bill 2012 were passed by Parliament on Friday 22 June 2012 and assented on Wednesday 27th June.

The new workers compensation laws change the way workers compensation benefits claims are assessed and paid.

Some of the changes have already taken effect. These include arrangements for journey claims, lump sum payments, nervous shock, heart attack and stroke and disease injuries.

The remaining changes will come into effect gradually over the next 12 to 18 months.

Special arrangements will apply to people who are already receiving weekly payments immediately prior to commencement of the new arrangements.

The changes depend on the length of time people have been receiving payments and their level of work capacity. Some features of the special transitional arrangements are:

  • during the first 26 weeks of incapacity payments, the amount paid will be the same as under the existing rules;
  • claimants who have already received 26 weeks of payments, and have an ongoing entitlement, will be paid according to a transitional rate (subject to a work capacity assessment) that is significantly more than the current basic rate of payment; and
  • existing weekly payment rules will continue to apply until the person has undergone an individual work capacity assessment.
Due to the large number of people receiving payments, it may take more than 12 months for all existing claimants to undergo a work capacity assessment.

Injured workers will be given three months’ notice by their Scheme agent of any changes to their weekly benefits due to the new laws.

The most seriously injured workers will not be subject to work capacity assessments unless they wish to have one.

A brochure, fact sheet and frequently asked questions are available on our website, www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

Further information will be posted as it becomes available. Regards, D. Henley on behalf of Contact mailbox WorkCover Information Centre phone 13 10 50 WorkCover NSW

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