On December 31 this year (2017) an estimated 8,000 injured workers in NSW will lose their weekly benefits due to changes made to workers’ compensation laws brought in by the state in 2012.
As part of the reforms the NSW Government has ditched WorkCover and set up a new body called the Workers’ Compensation Independent Review Office or WIRO, headed by Kim Garling, to reform the state’s workers’ compensation system.
According to the new legislation, unless these workers can show a minimum of 20 per cent impairment levels by December 31, they will lose their compensation payments, even though they might be unfit for work and could be reliant on daily pain management medication.
Many see the changes as unfair because during the reforms the government changed the legislation to end workers’ compensation benefits after five years for most of the injured workers, even if the injuries had previously made them eligible for lifetime support before the legislation was changed.
In a story in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 16 this year, it was revealed that the 2012 changes mean that only people assessed with a whole-person impairment of 21 per cent or higher will continue to receive benefits after five years.
WIRO’s Kim Garling says most injured workers nearing the maximum 260 weeks of compensation payments will stop receiving them the day after Christmas.
However, he says many injured workers don’t realise they can challenge their insurer’s assessment or that they can apply to WIRO for funds for legal advice and independent medical reports. WIRO will pay $750.00 (+GST) to workers for advice from approved lawyers.
What services does WIRO provide?
Injured workers are provided with the help they need when making complaints against insurers and super funds so they can have their cases resolved fairly and as quickly as possible.
To do this we have in place:
- The Independent Legal Assistance Review Service (ILARS)
To make sure you have all the help you need to resolve a dispute, WIRO can give you a grant to access independent legal advice.
- Employer complaints
Employers wishing to resolve a complaint against their insurer in relation to NSW workers compensation are provided with assistance by WIRO.
This includes complaints with regard to:
- The calculation of a premium
- The acceptance of liability
- The usual handling and management claims
WIRO also makes inquiries into situations arising from the operation of the Workers’ Compensation Acts.
Forms can be downloaded or completed online on the WIRO website and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve been injured at work and feel you will be unfairly treated by the workers’ compensation laws, or you’re having trouble wading through the fine print, contact your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
PK Simpson Injury Compensation Lawyers are ready to take your call on (02) 9299 1424.