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A quick guide to workers compensation - information for workers

This information is also available as a printable PDF.

Introduction

The NSW workers compensation system provides you with support and assistance to recover as soon as possible from your work-related injury or illness. This pamphlet will help you understand what to expect during your recovery.

Workers compensation claim number

When your injury has been reported, the insurer will give you a claim number. This will appear on all correspondence relating to your claim.

Certificate of capacity

The certificate of capacity is the main way your doctor communicates with everyone. The certificate describes the nature of your injury/illness, your capacity for work and the treatment you may require. It helps inform your injury management and recover at work plans.

Your support team

Your support team works together to help you recover at work in a safe and durable way. Your support team includes:

  • your case manager who will be the key person to assist you with any queries or concerns throughout your recovery. Your case manager is appointed by your employer’s insurer. They will contact you within three days of being notified of your injury and coordinate all aspects of your claim
  • your doctor (of your own choice) who will assess, diagnose and treat you. They will also complete your certificate of capacity, support your recovery at work and communicate with other members of your support team
  • your employer who will nominate a person to support your recovery in the workplace. This support person (often called the return to work coordinator) will talk to you, your case manager and doctor about your recover at work plan.

Depending on your circumstances, your support team may also include other providers, such as a physiotherapist or psychologist. Sometimes your insurer might engage a workplace rehabilitation provider (an organisation that can assist workers with recovery at work) to help with this process. You will be consulted on the choice of provider involved.

TIP: Write your claim number and support team’s contact details on the back of this pamphlet. Give your case manager’s details to your doctor. Then ask your doctor to call
your case manager to discuss your recovery.

To assist your recovery and return to work, a case conference may be arranged. This is a meeting with either some or all of your support team (in person or over the phone).

Recovering at work

Your employer must provide work that is suitable and supports your recovery at work. You should participate in finding work options that are within your capacity.

Taking an active role in the planning process will avoid delays and assist a timely, safe and durable recovery at work. Suitable work options may include:

  • parts of your job you were doing before your injury
  • the same job, but on reduced hours
  • different duties altogether
  • duties at a different site
  • a combination of some or all of the above.

As you recover, your capacity for work will increase. You and your employer can gradually upgrade your suitable work options by increasing your hours of work, reducing rest breaks, increasing work pace, or introducing new tasks. Talk openly to your employer and your doctor about how they can best support your recovery. SIRA funds programs that can support your recovery at work. Talk with the insurer or visit www.sira.nsw.gov.au.

Other options

If you are unable to return to your pre‑injury role, your case manager and a workplace rehabilitation provider will help to identify suitable options. There are also a range of benefits and programs available to help you secure new employment. For more information, visit www.sira.nsw.gov.au.

Your entitlements

Weekly payments

Weekly payments help to cover lost earnings and support your recovery at work. Payments are based on the calculation of your pre-injury average weekly earnings. Your entitlement to weekly payments is subject to change depending on how many hours your are working, how long you have received weekly payments and/or your capacity for work.

If you have an entitlement, payments should commence within seven days of the insurer being notified of your injury.

Medical and rehabilitation expenses

You are entitled to payments for reasonably necessary ambulance, medical, hospital services and other treatments. Your doctor will make any treatment recommendations on your certificate of capacity.

Your entitlement to weekly payments and medical expenses may change depending on your circumstances. You should discuss this with your case manager.

Other expenses

If your property has been damaged because of your work-related incident, you can make a claim for damaged artificial aids, spectacles and clothes. Speak to your case manager if you require more information.

Your responsibilities

Your role is to focus on recovery including making reasonable efforts to return to work. You should actively participate in rehabilitation and assessments to assist your recovery at work. It is your responsibility to have a current certificate of capacity and update it at least every 28 days.

You must complete the declaration (section 3) on the certificate to make it valid. You must notify your insurer if your circumstances change as this may affect your earnings.

Need assistance or further information?

If you have questions about your claim, entitlements or recover at work plan, contact your case manager. They are familiar with your circumstances, can take action or escalate your concerns.

If you are dissatisfied with your case manager’s response or unhappy with the insurer’s decision, contact the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO). WIRO provides an independent complaints resolution service. Contact WIRO on 13 94 76 or via email at complaints@wiro.nsw.gov.au or visit www.wiro.nsw.gov.au.

For all other complaints please contact SIRA on 13 10 50.

If you need interpreting services, please contact Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS) on 13 14 50 or visit www.tisnational.gov.au.

If you have a speech or hearing impairment, you can use the National Relay Service. For voice calls or telephone typewriter (TTY) call 13 36 77 then ask for 13 10 50. Visit www.relayservice.gov.au for more options.

Do you need help now?

If you are feeling distressed, you can access support for free by calling these providers.

Lifeline Call 13 11 14 for crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Beyond Blue Call 1300 224 636 for help managing stressful situations, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mental health line Call 1800 011 511 to speak with a mental health professional and to find out about local treatment options, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Head to Health Log on to Head to Health for a range of online programs and support at www.headtohealth.gov.au.

Emergencies In an emergency, call 000 or go to a local hospital emergency department.