We have put together information to help people injured at work, or on the road, to understand the impact of COVID-19 on workers compensation and the CTP schemes. We look at the areas of:
It is important that you continue your recovery from during the COVID-19 pandemic while having to adjust or change some parts of your treatment during this period.
- To help with physical distancing, you can now have most treatments over the phone or online and these appointments are sometimes called telehealth consultations
- Research has shown that telehealth treatments can be just as good as treatment given in person
- Talk to your health care provider first and make sure they agree this is the right option for you
- You can also use telehealth to obtain a certificate of capacity/fitness
- It is important to maintain regular check-ups, treatment and any medications to assist with your recovery. More information about how to do this is available from NPS medicinewise.
Staying in touch is essential for your wellbeing and can help you with your recovery.
- Stay in touch with your support team including your employer, insurer case manager, doctor, treatment providers and, where relevant, workplace rehabilitation providers. They will help you keep focused on your recovery
- Stay connected with your workplace. If you are unable to recover at work straight away, find ways to stay in contact with people in your workplace.
- Stay connected with family and friends.
COVID-19 is impacting our lives in different ways, and there are supports for you to access on those harder days.
- Talk to your support team - this might include your manager, your case manager, your doctor and any other health providers, and ask for extra support.
- Beyond Blue has a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service available to all Australians to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing.
- The service offers easy access to support including online wellbeing tips, self-help tools and phone counselling from trained professionals.
How can the Beyond Blue COVID-19 support service help?
Chris is recovering from a back injury and her partner, has lost his job due to COVID-19. Chris is very worried about her partner, and the household is experiencing uncertainty and financial stress.
The family has never accessed support before and is not familiar with what’s available.
Chris called the Beyond Blue COVID-19 support service and talked confidentially to a counsellor who listened and provided practical advice. The counsellor was able to assist Chris and her partner by referring them to get help from the National Debt Helpline (1800 007 007), as well as information about accessing a telehealth mental health plan. Chris is now able to focus on recovering from her back injury.
You can also access these confidential support services 24 hours per day:
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Service (Beyond Blue) - for 24 hours phone support on 1800 512 348 or webchat
- Lifeline Australia for 24 hour phone crisis support on 13 11 14 or live chat
- Kids Helpline for 24 hour phone support on 1800 55 1800 or live chat
- Mensline – support for men is available via phone on 1300 78 99 78 or online
- 1800RESPECT is a service for people impacted by sexual assault and family violence – 24 hour phone support is available via phone on 1800 737 732 or chat online
Here are some other specialised support services:
- Headspace provides youth mental health services. Chat online , email or speak on the phone with a qualified professional
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities advice on COVID-19 is available from the Australian Government Health website
- Multi-lingual news and information on COVID-19 is available in 63 languages from the SBS website.
Changes to the rules around medical certificates and accessing treatment have been made to make it easier to obtain a current certificate of capacity/fitness, and to make sure you can access the treatment and support you need. For example, second and subsequent certificates of capacity/fitness may be issued by the treating physiotherapist or treating psychologist in some cases. You could talk to your insurer about this option.
Can I get a certificate for more than 28 days?
Yes, you can ask your doctor if your certificate of capacity / fitness can be issued for longer than 28 days.
My legal representative has arranged an independent medical examination. Do I need to attend in person?
You should talk to your legal representative to see if another method of assessment (such as telehealth) is appropriate. Alternatively, you could discuss postponing the appointment until a later date.
Your legal representative is the best person to advise you of the urgency of this assessment and what it may mean for your claim.
Your recovery doesn’t have to stop because of COVID-19 – it might just look a little different.
If your recovery at work from your injury has been disrupted because of COVID-19, talk with your employer and insurer about what you can do.
SIRA offers programs that can help at this time, whether you need help with training or job placements while your workplace has closed down.
You can find a short-term work placement somewhere else to help you continue to recover, the Connect2work program could help. It pays a host employer $200 per week for up to 12 weeks to provide you with a placement to help you build your skills and capacity for work.
If you need to look for new work, the JobCover6 program can be offered to a new employer who offers you up to six months work
What can I do if I think I have contracted COVID-19 at work?
You may be entitled to workers compensation if you get COVID-19 at work. You will need to let your employer know straight away if you think that you have gotten COVID-19 at work.
Recent changes provide that workers in prescribed employment are automatically presumed to have contracted COVID-19 at work. Further information about the new presumption is available here.
Learn how to lodge a workers compensation claim.
I don't want to go to work because I'm worried that I will contract COVID-19. Will this affect my weekly payments?
It’s common to feel worried at the moment. The best thing to do if you feel worried about going to work is to speak with your manager about how you will be protected from COVID-19 at work, and to follow the NSW Government health advice.
Your weekly payments
Can I access any of the Commonwealth and NSW Government COVID-19 financial supports if I’m receiving workers compensation weekly payments?
If you are entitled to receive workers compensation weekly payments, you will continue to receive these payments.
If you wish to access any other financial support available from the Commonwealth or NSW Government, you will need to discuss your circumstances with the agency managing the support package. You will need to let the agency know that you receive workers compensation weekly payments so that they can better understand your circumstances.
If you were injured at work and are unable to resolve an issue with the insurer, you can contact the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) on 13 94 76 or via their online complaints form.
If you are an employer, insurer or provider, please contact us on 13 10 50.