Six confirmed dead after losing
their workers compensation benefits
Alarmingly, it’s been revealed that six of 3448 people in NSW who have had their weekly workers compensation benefits cut in the past nine months, have sadly passed away.
At this stage the cause of the six deaths have not been confirmed, however one of the individuals had previously been reported to emergency services as being at risk of self harm.
CEO for the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), Carmel Donnelly, earlier this week announced that her agency was made aware that a whopping 375 injured workers were at risk of self harm in the past 12 months with 13 actual cases reported.
Each year, many injured workers who are unable to return to work or due to their injury, forced to work in a new field – develop psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. These conditions often develop because the injured worker is no longer able to do what they love or trained for, and feelings of inadequacy creep in.
The six confirmed deceased are among the thousands of injured workers who have had their weekly payments cut off as a result of changes under section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. Under the changes, workers injured before October 2012 and have been assessed to have 20 percent or less whole person impairment (WPI), lost their weekly benefits after 260 weeks – even though so many aren’t able to return to work.
As time progresses, section 39 will continue to affect many incapacitated workers who are unable to return to work. Currently, any claims made after October 1, 2012 that has seen the injured worker assessed to have 20 percent or less WPI, will be unable to claim weekly benefits beyond 260 weeks.
It is imperative that all injured workers looking to lodge a claim or currently receiving weekly benefits, are aware and understand their rights – as when it comes to workers compensation – ‘knowledge’ is most certainly power.
And if you or someone you know is struggling or may be suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety, don’t be afraid to tell someone and seek help.