6.2.1 Overview of impairment benefits


6.2.1.1 Stabilisation of injuries | 6.2.1.2 Collection of treating practitioner reports | 6.2.1.3 No disadvantage compensation | 6.2.1.4 IB Claims lodged after employer exits Victorian scheme | 6.2.1.5 Request to withdraw, cancel or hold in abeyance | 6.2.1.6 Interest on IB & maims claims | 6.2.1.7 Inactive claim | 6.2.1.8 Compensation after the death of a worker


Impairment benefit claims are for injuries sustained on or after 12 November 1997. They:

  • replace compensation for maims and pain and suffering
  • are paid in addition to any other compensation payable.

Impairment benefits are compensation for non-economic loss that is the result of permanent impairment.

The Worker’s Claim for Impairment Benefits form is the only form approved by WorkSafe for IB claims.

An IB Specialist manages IB claims lodged with the Agent.

WorkSafe impairment protocols

Protocols have been established to assist in the collection of treating medical evidence from a worker’s medical practitioner/s.

See: Collection of treating practitioner reports | Impairment Benefit Protocols | Impairment Benefit Protocols - indexed fee schedule

Total loss

If the worker suffers a ‘total loss’ injury and the amount of compensation for non-economic is less than the amount under the no disadvantage compensation table, the worker is entitled to compensation under the no disadvantage compensation table.

See: No disadvantage compensation


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Agent to determine liability & entitlement

Within 120 days of receiving the claim:

  • accept or reject liability for each injury included in the claim
  • obtain an assessment or assessments in line with the legislation as to the degree of permanent impairment (if any) of any accepted injury
  • determine the degree of permanent impairment (if any) for:
  • impairment lump sum (WPI Whole person impairment)

  • Common law (combined WPI and psychiatric)

  • voluntary settlements

  • determine whether a worker has an injury which is a total loss mentioned in the no disadvantage compensation table
  • calculate entitlement to compensation for impairment.
Agent to determine liability - pre 18/11/04 claims

The Agent is required to determine liability for all the claimed injury/injuries listed on the Worker’s Claim for Impairment Benefits form within 90 days.

When liability has been determined for each of the claimed injuries and any disputes have been resolved, the worker’s claim will progress to the impairment assessment stage.


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Legal representation

If a worker has legal representation, the Agent must communicate with the worker’s authorised legal practitioner Legal practitioner means an Australian legal practitioner within the meaning of the Legal Profession Act 2004.

The Agent must document communication on its claim file and forward a copy of correspondence to the authorised legal practitioner.

The cost of this legal representation is to be borne by the worker. Exceptions are legal costs incurred by the worker in successfully litigating a liability dispute.

As provided for in the protocols – see: Collection of treating practitioner reports.

Payment to be made directly to worker

The payment of compensation should be made directly to the worker.

If a worker has authorised a Power of Attorney, the Agent should contact the representative body and seek a copy of the legal document before processing the payment of compensation.

Agents to report issues to WorkSafe

Agents must contact the Impairment Benefit Team of WorkSafe if they become aware of issues affecting the management of IB claims.

Lodge an impairment claim

A claim for impairment benefits cannot be made before the expiry of the period of 12 months after the date of the worker’s injury.


Exception

An Agent may receive a claim for impairment benefits before the expiry of the period of 12 months after the date of the worker’s injury but only if the claimed injuries has stabilised.


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Common law (claims lodged on or after 18/11/04)

A worker is able to pursue common law entitlements before lodging an impairment claim. However, workers are unable to have concurrent common law claims and IB claims.

An IB claim must not be processed if the worker has a serious injury application or common law proceedings which have not been finalised (unsuccessfully or successfully) or withdrawn.

If a worker has lodged a serious injury application or common law proceedings and an IB claim, register the IB application as defective and return the claim form to the worker within 14 days.


Worker is less than 18 years of age

If the worker is not 18 years of age at the time of the claimed injury, the assessment of the IB claim cannot be made until the worker attains the age of 18 years (lodge as defective and return within 14 days).


Death of a worker

Compensation for impairment benefits is not payable after the death of a worker except in limited circumstances.


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