Return to work assistance

Published: 12 August 2019
Last edited: 12 August 2019

Return to work assistance in this section is not available for exempt workers – exempt workers please see 'SIRA funded programs'

Return to work assistance refers to two compensation benefits that are available to workers to help them with some of the costs associated with returning to work:

  1. New employment assistance
  2. Education or training assistance payments

New employment assistance

New employment assistance is an amount of compensation to help a worker return to work with a new employer if they cannot return to work with their pre-injury employer.

Up to $1,000 (cumulative) can be claimed for expenses such as:

  • transport (eg public transport or motor vehicle registration)
  • child care
  • clothing
  • education or training (eg industry licences or certificates)
  • equipment (eg tools of trade)
  • any similar service or assistance.

Eligibility

Workers can access new employment assistance if:

  • they cannot return to work with their pre-injury employer because of their injury
  • they have accepted an offer of employment with a new employer (this must be made in writing) for three months or more
  • new employment assistance will help the worker to return to work.

Claiming new employment assistance

To make a claim for new employment assistance the worker must submit (in writing) to the insurer:

  • a written offer of employment for a period of three months or more with a new employer
  • an explanation of how the item or service will help them commence employment
  • the amount being claimed, along with supporting quotes and invoices.

The insurer is to determine the worker’s claim for new employment assistance within 14 days.

Disagreements and disputes

If there is a disagreement about the use of a return to work assistance benefit, the worker should speak to the insurer in the first instance and ask them to review their decision.

The worker may provide additional information to support the request or application. The Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) can also help.

Refer to ‘Resolving complaints and disputes' for further information.

Payment

The insurer is expected to pay provider invoices and/or reimbursements to the worker promptly.

Education or training assistance

Education or training assistance is available to help workers return to work with the same employer, or a new one.

Up to $8,000 (cumulative) can be claimed for expenses associated with education or training. This includes:

  • course fees
  • other related expenses (eg text books, travel).

Eligibility

Workers can access education or training assistance if they:

  • have been assessed as having a permanent impairment of more than 20 per cent
  • have received weekly payments of compensation (paid or payable) for a period of 78 weeks or more
  • can demonstrate the education or training is consistent with their injury management plan and will help them to return to work
  • can ensure that the education or training assistance is provided by:
    • a registered training organisation
    • a registered higher education provider.

Claiming education or training assistance

To make a claim for education or training assistance the worker must submit a completed training application form to the insurer.

The insurer is to determine the worker’s claim within 21 days.

Disagreements and disputes

If there is a disagreement about the use of a return to work assistance benefit the worker should speak to the insurer in the first instance and ask them to review their decision.

The worker may provide additional information to support the request or application. WIRO can also help.

Refer to ‘Resolving complaints and disputes' for further information.

Payment

The insurer is expected to pay provider invoices and/or reimbursements to the worker promptly.

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