Whole Person Impairment Compensation Calculator and Guide
If you’re injured at work, you might be entitled to a permanent impairment lump sum benefit. In this guide we explain how to find out if you qualify for a whole person impairment payout, and what you need to know about claiming your lump sum. We’ve also included a simple whole person impairment compensation calculator you can use to estimate your lump sum payout range.
What is considered permanent impairment?
Permanent impairment refers to permanent damage, loss, or loss of use of any part of your body, or any part of your bodily system or function. Injuries that lead to permanent impairment can be physical or psychological.
Some examples of injuries that cause permanent impairment are:
- Disc bulges, also referred to as sciatica
- Surgeries – such as joint replacement and spinal surgery
- Hearing loss caused by work
- Ankle or wrist fusions
- Injuries that affect multiple body parts
- Knees, elbows and shoulders with restricted range of movement
- Injuries that affect eyesight
- Nerve damage
The whole person impairment psychological injury assessment is based on an examination done by a psychiatrist who is trained in this assessment method.
A psychiatric disorder is considered permanent if the psychiatrist determines it’s likely to continue indefinitely. The psychiatrist will consider:
- The duration of your impairment
- The likelihood of improvement in your condition
- Whether you have undertaken reasonable rehabilitative treatment
- Any other relevant matters
For psychological injuries or conditions to reach the permanent impairment threshold to qualify for benefits, the condition needs to affect your concentration and your ability to work and care for yourself. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that often reaches this threshold.
What is a permanent impairment benefit?
A permanent impairment benefit is essentially a lump sum payment to compensate you for the overall effect your work injury has had on your life. This lump sum payout is in addition to any weekly payments, medical and related expenses that you may have received.
You must have 11% or more whole person impairment for a physical injury or 15% or more for a primary psychological injury to be entitled to receive a whole person impairment payout in NSW.
For emergency services workers, the threshold reduces to 1% for physical injuries but is still 15% for psychological injuries.
Once you’ve received a lump sum permanent impairment benefit, it doesn’t put an end to any weekly benefits you’re entitled to – these payments will continue as long as you qualify for them. In fact, it’s important to pursue a permanent impairment claim if you qualify, as the length of time the insurer is required to pay for your treatment costs is dependent on your level of whole person impairment (WPI). If your level of WPI hasn’t been assessed, the insurer will pay for treatment for at least two years from the date of your injury or two years from the last date you received weekly benefits (whichever is later). Once your level of WPI is assessed, this entitlement will be extended according to the table below:
|Your level of whole person impairment (%)||Entitlement period|
|0-10% whole person impairment||Two years from the date of your injury or two years from the last date you received weekly benefits (whichever is the latter).|
|11-20% whole person impairment||Five years from the date of your injury or five years from the last date you received weekly benefits (whichever is the later).|
|21% whole person impairment and over||Lifetime coverage.|
0-20% – wages benefits capped at 5 years
21% plus – wages benefits entitlement continues to age 68
Whole person impairment compensation calculator NSW.
The following table can be used to calculate your permanent impairment lump sum compensation range based on your whole person impairment percentage.
Please note that your compensation amount will depend on the year your injury occurred as well as your level of whole person impairment. Also, different amounts apply for dust diseases, emergency service workers and coal miners, but are not included in this whole person impairment table for NSW.
|Degree of permanent impairment||Compensation range|
|0 – 10%||$0|
|11% – 20%||$22,480 – $53,470|
|21% – 30%||$51,880 – $85,570|
|31% – 40%||$83,040 – $138,460|
|41% – 50%||$131,440 – $191,360|
|51% – 60%||$242,010 – $338,100|
|61% – 70%||$376,030 – $484,740|
|71% – 74%||$510,040 – 558,040|
|75% – 100%||$577,050 – $631,370|
Find out how much you can claim.
Talk to one of our friendly lawyers. We’ll listen to you, review your situation, and tell you how much you can claim.Call for FREE advice
Request a callback
How do you calculate whole person impairment in NSW?
Whole person impairment in NSW is calculated by a doctor who assesses your injuries according to the NSW Compensation Guidelines for Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The methodology in the Guidelines is largely based on the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition (AMA5).
The doctor can’t combine both physical and psychological injuries to determine your level of whole person impairment – your compensation is based on your primary injury only (physical or psychological). The doctor also considers your medical history and all available relevant medical information.
The doctor must be accredited as a SIRA-approved assessor, and your workers compensation lawyer will arrange your assessment directly with the doctor. If your WPI is expected to be 21% or more, the insurer is likely to pick their own doctor to do your assessment, as this level of impairment means you’re entitled to compensation for lost wages for five years.
What happens at a permanent impairment assessment?
The doctor who does your assessment will look at the following criteria:
- Has your condition reached maximum medical improvement (MMI)? Or in other words, has your injury stabilised, and is your condition unlikely to improve?
- Do you have an impairment because of your injury?
- If so, it this impairment permanent?
- To what degree are you permanently impaired?
- Is your permanent impairment partly due to a previous injury or condition?
After completing your assessment and answering these questions, the doctor will determine your whole person impairment percentage using the tables, graphs and methodology given in the guidelines.
What are some examples of impairment ratings?
Here are some examples of common injuries and surgical procedures and the associated whole person impairment NSW ratings:
|Injury/ Procedure||Approximate Impairment Rating|
|A simple disc bulge in the lumbar spine||5-8%.|
|A discectomy surgery of the lumbar spine||10-16%|
|Hearing loss of at least 21% binaural hearing loss||11%|
|A fusion surgery of the wrist||18%|
|A fusion of the lumbar spine||21%|
|A joint replacement to the shoulder, hip or knee||21%|
|Amputation of the thumb||22%|
|Loss of eyesight in one eye||32%|
Find out how much you can claim.Get started
How can you get help claiming whole person impairment compensation?
The whole person impairment compensation calculator and guide we’ve presented here provides useful reference information, however it’s important to understand that your situation is unique, and your injuries may have led to other health issues and complications. At Law Partners, we have some of Australia’s best workers compensation lawyers who will take time to get to know you personally and get a thorough understanding of how your life has been impacted by your injuries. That’s how we’ll make sure you receive your maximum compensation entitlements, including any lump sums you’re entitled to.
Do I have a case?
Our senior lawyers will assess your case for free.