Published: 22 January 2021
Author: Stringer Clark
Worried about your job? It's time to rethink that injury claim
Injured but scared of losing your job? You really should lodge a WorkCover claim quickly. Making the claim before losing your job means you get to keep any redundancy payout plus you also qualify for WorkCover income payments and medical expenses.
Some workers carry injuries because they don't want to make themselves targets for redundancies. As the Jobkeeper scheme is wound down, those workers probably feel under even more pressure to hide their injury.
However, if you have been putting off making a WorkCover compo claim for fear of retrenchment, you should reconsider your position. Changes made to the law mean you are entitled to a redundancy while also receiving weekly income payments from WorkCover, plus medical.
Consider the following.
A WorkCover claim postponed is a WorkCover claim forfeited
If you have been holding back making a WorkCover injury claim for fear of retrenchment and you are then made redundant, you will almost certainly lose your right to lodge a claim once you are laid off. (There are exceptions, but they are tricky.) If this occurs you'll have nothing to fall back on once the redundancy package is spent. You won't even have access to free medical help.
Re-training becomes an option
If you are worried that putting in an injury claim will make you a target for redundancy, you are gambling with an opportunity to be retrained for a new job. I have known many workers who were concerned that lodging an injury claim would make if more difficult for them to find a new job.
It is true that employers are reluctant to hire people with injury records. But if you have been in restricted of light duties and you are carrying some sort of injury, you are more likely to be asked about it when applying for a new job than ever before. If you are specifically questioned in writing and you don't inform your new boss that you have been injured, and you then go on to exacerbate that injury, WorkCover may not cover you.
That's right, failure to disclose an existing injury to a new employer can exempt that employer from assisting you and will shut the WorkCover benefits door.
Receive redundancy AND WorkCover payments
A big change to the law means you can claim weekly WorkCover payments and medical help without having any deductions whatsoever made to your redundancy package. Previously, you would have only had access to WorkCover weekly payments once you had served a waiting period that varied according to the size of your payout. Now you can have both. And of course, you continue to have access to all the extra help including medical expenses, specialists, tests, rehabilitation, home help and so on.
Free help with job search and training
Finally, if you are seriously interested in finding new employment in a less physically demanding job, for example, WorkCover may offer you an occupational specialist to help with your retraining and educational expenses. This is highly valuable and free assistance that wouldn't be available if you were on your own.
If the cloud of redundancy is hanging over your head and you've been carrying an injury, you really ought to get that WorkCover claim lodged as soon as possible.