Claiming compensation as a Commonwealth employee

Monday 5 August 2019
Grace Bowran-Burge

If you are an injured employee who works for the Commonwealth or a prescribed large business, you may be able to seek compensation through the Comcare scheme.

Under this scheme injured employees, regardless of fault, can access payments for lost earnings and the medical expenses they incur.  If they have suffered a permanent injury, and can seek a lump sum payment of compensation if they have suffered a permanent impairment.

How do I make a Comcare claim?

  • Seek Medical treatment. If you need time off work you will also need a Certificate of Capacity from your doctor.
  • As soon as possible, notify your employer in writing that you have sustained an injury.
  • Lodge a Comcare claim along with your Certificate of Capacity.

Note: Comcare, or the relevant self-insurer, is required to accept or reject your claim as soon as reasonably practicable. If you do not receive a response within 30 days you should seek legal advice.

Entitlements for Comcare workers

Incapacity payments

If your Comcare claim is accepted and you have an incapacity for work, you will be entitled to incapacity payments. These are calculated on the basis of your earnings in the two weeks prior to your injury, and take into account your annual normal salary.   Incapacity payments are paid at a percentage of your pre-injury earnings on the following basis:

  • For the first 45 weeks, incapacity payments are paid at 100% of your average pre-injury earnings.
  • After 45 weeks until retirement age, incapacity payments are paid at 75% of your average pre-injury earnings. This will be increased if you return to employment.
Medical and like expenses

If your Comcare claim is accepted Comcare will be liable to pay for all reasonable medical treatment in relation to your injury. The medical service or treatment being claimed must be on the recommendation of a medical practitioner. 

Impairment claim

Having an accepted Comcare claim also entitles you to make a claim for a lump sum permanent impairment payment.  This payment attempts to compensate you for your permanent impairment and is payable in addition to incapacity payments and medical and like expenses. 

An impairment claim is assessed in accordance with the Comcare Guide to the Assessment of Permanent Impairment.  In order to receive compensation, you need to have suffered an impairment of at least 10% under the guidelines.  

Prior to making a lump sum impairment claim, your injury must be considered permanent and have undertaken all reasonable rehabilitation treatment.

For more information about the Comcare scheme, speak with a lawyer directly on (03) 9321 9988.

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