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Weekly payments

If you have been injured at work you may be eligible to receive weekly payments depending on your capacity for work as a result of your work related injury.

The first step in claiming compensation for a work related injury or illness is to notify your employer and the insurer of the injury. If you haven’t done this, please see What to do first.

After the insurer has been notified of the injury, they will contact you to discuss the support available.

You may be entitled to weekly payments when a work related injury has resulted in a loss of earnings because you have been partially or totally incapacitated.

To demonstrate this incapacity, you must provide a completed workers compensation certificate of capacity to your employer and the insurer.

The insurer must determine liability within 21 days of receiving your claim, unless they have:

  • commenced provisional payments within seven days of receiving your claim
  • delayed starting provisional payments due to a reasonable excuse and notified you of the reason(s) for doing so within seven days of receiving your claim.

If the insurer has disputed your claim, there’s help available. Our workers compensation disputes section has more information.

The insurer must advise you of your weekly payment amount. The amount of your weekly payment is based on:

  • whether you have current work capacity or no current work capacity
  • your pre-injury average weekly earnings
  • how long you have received weekly payments for
  • whether you have been able to return to work
  • your ability to earn in suitable employment
  • whether your income includes non-monetary benefits from your employer

To help understand your weekly payment entitlements, see the guidelines for claiming workers compensation. This provides a breakdown of your entitlements.

You may receive your weekly payments directly from your employer or the insurer within your usual pay cycle.

If you do not provide a completed SIRA certificate of capacity, the insurer may stop weekly payments within seven days of advising you that the document is required.

Pre-injury average weekly earnings

Pre-injury average weekly earnings are calculated by your insurer based on information provided by you and/or your employer. They reflect how much you were earning before your injury.

During the first 52 weeks of weekly payments, the calculation of pre-injury average weekly earnings includes ordinary earnings plus overtime and shift allowance payments.

After 52 weeks of receiving weekly payments the calculation of pre-injury average weekly earnings will not include overtime and shift allowance payments.

Provisional payments

Provisional payments enable the insurer to start paying weekly payments (and medical expenses) to you while they fully assess your claim. The amount of the weekly payment will vary for each person.

Provisional payments can include weekly payments for up to 12 weeks, and payment of medical expenses up to $7,500. It also extends the time allowed for the insurer to make a decision on liability.

0-13 weeks: First entitlement period

In the first 13 weeks, the amount of your weekly payments are based on whichever is less:

  1. 95 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, minus:
    1. the value of any deductible amount if you have no capacity for work, or
    2. your current weekly earnings if you have capacity to work.
  2. The maximum weekly compensation amount ($2,101.70) minus:
    1. the value of any deductible amount if you have no capacity for work, or
    2. any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount if you have capacity for work.

14-130 weeks: Second entitlement period

Working 15 hours or more a week

Where you have current work capacity and are working 15 hours or more per week, your weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

  • 95 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings minus your current weekly earnings, or the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment, and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount minus any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount.

Working less than 15 hours a week

Where you have current work capacity and are working less than 15 hours per week, your weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

  • 80 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings minus your current weekly earnings or the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount minus any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount.

No capacity for work

Where you have no capacity for work, your weekly payment is based on whichever is less:

  • 80 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings,  minus the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount ($2101.70) minus the value of any deductible amount.

After 52 weeks

Any overtime or shift allowance will no longer be included in the calculation of your average weekly earnings.

Note: Payments after 130 weeks will stop unless:

  • you have been assessed as having no current work capacity, and this is likely to continue indefinitely, or
  • you are working at least 15 hours per week and earning at least $185 (indexed annually), and this is likely to continue indefinitely, AND
  • you have completed an application for continued weekly payments after 130 weeks form and sent it to the insurer.

131-260 weeks

Payments after 130 weeks will stop unless:

  • you have been assessed as having no current work capacity, and this is likely to continue indefinitely, or
  • you are working at least 15 hours per week and earning at least $185 (indexed annually), and this is likely to continue indefinitely, AND
  • you have completed an application for continued weekly payments after 130 weeks form and sent it to the insurer.

Working 15 or more hours a week

If you have current work capacity, are working at least 15 hours per week and earning at least $185 a week (indexed annually), and have been assessed by the insurer as being likely to continue in this capacity indefinitely, weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

  • 80 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, minus your current weekly earnings or the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment, and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount minus any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount.

No capacity for work

If you have been assessed as having no current work capacity and this is expected to continue indefinitely, you will continue to be eligible for weekly payments after 130 weeks.

If this is the case, your weekly payment is based on whichever is less:

  • 80 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings,  minus the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount ($2,101.70) minus the value of any deductible amount.

Workers with permanent impairment of more than 20 per cent

If you have been assessed or are likely to be assessed to have a permanent impairment more than 20 per cent, you will continue to receive weekly payments if you are working less than 15 hours a week or earning less than the minimum $185 a week (indexed annually).

Your weekly payment will be based on whichever is less:

  • 80 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, minus your current weekly earnings, and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount minus any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount.

After 260 weeks (five years)

Weekly payments will cease unless your level of permanent impairment is more than 20 per cent.

After 260 weeks, weekly payments are calculated based on the lesser of:

  • 80 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, minus your current weekly earnings or the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment, and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount minus any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount.

Further information

Stopping weekly payments

Your ongoing entitlement to weekly payments are dependent on:

  • you meeting your return to work obligations
  • work capacity decisions made by the insurer
  • whether or not you have exceeded the entitlement period of 130 weeks
  • whether or not you have exceeded the entitlement period of 260 weeks.

Work capacity assessment/decision

The insurer assesses your capacity for work based on your functional, vocational and medical status.

They use this information to make a decision about your ability to return to your pre-injury employment, or to suitable employment with the pre-injury employer or at another place of employment.

If they determine you have some capacity to work, then your weekly payments may be reduced or stopped according to the amount that you could earn in that capacity.

These decisions can be reviewed. See work capacity decision reviews for more information.

Retirement

If you're receiving weekly payments and reach retirement age, you may be entitled to receive weekly payments for up to 12 months after.

If you receive an injury on or after retiring age, you may be entitled to up to 12 months of weekly payments from the date of your first incapacity.

The retiring age is defined as the age a person is eligible to receive the age pension.

You will need to provide the insurer with a SIRA certificate of capacity for the period you are claiming weekly payments.

For injuries received before 30 June 1985, your entitlement to weekly payments is not affected by the retiring age.

The retiring age is defined in more detail in the Workers Compensation Act 1987. Section 23 of the Commonwealth Social Security Act 1991 describes the age pension in more detail as well.

Maximum weekly compensation amount

The maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and indexed in April and October each year. The maximum amount from 1 October 2017 to 31 March 2018 is $2,101.70 per week.