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Changes to WorkCover entitlements explained

The Victorian Government has recently announced changes that will affect workers compensation entitlements under the Workers Compensation legislation.

From 31 March 2024, changes under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (WorkCover Scheme Modernisation) Act 2024 will come into place. These changes will affect Victorian's making WorkCover claims on or after this date.

The changes make it far more difficult to have accepted WorkCover claims for mental injuries, and to remain in receipt of weekly payments for injuries after two and a half years.

The State Government blame financial blowouts in the WorkCover system for the changes, whilst we believe that any financial blowout has been caused by poor management and implementation of the scheme.

Mental Injury Changes

New mental injury definitions

This new definition is a much tougher test of what constitutes a mental injury than has previously existed.

Exclusion of stress and burnout

From this new definition, stress or burnout because of normal workplace activities, such as additional hours and workload pressures, are no longer eligible for a WorkCover claim.

Some situations remain eligible such as mental injuries because of repeat harassment or bullying in the workplace, or mental injuries caused by stress related to traumatic events that are typical to one's employment.

Second Entitlement Period Changes

Whole person entitlement

Under the current scheme, workers receiving weekly WorkCover payments have their case reviewed before the 130-week threshold. This is called the second entitlement period review. This will continue, however, there will be an additional requirement that workers must achieve to continue their payments make it a harder criteria to satisfy.

A whole person impairment (WPI) assessment will occur to determine the degree of permanent impairment arising from the workplace injury. Under the new scheme, the WPI must be 21% or more for the worker to continue receiving weekly payments past the 130-week threshold. Again, this is a much tougher test of eligibility that has previously existed.

If the worker is no longer eligible for weekly payments, they will still be able to access additional support to help them return to work including workplace training and assistance in gaining employment.

It is important to know all the facts around WorkCover claims before you make one. For more information on the changes and how they might affect you, speak to our experience personal injury team.

Get back on your feet quicker, contact Maddens Lawyers for an obligation free consultation or use our free online claim checker at any time.

Written by Maddens Lawyers' Personal Injury department

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