Injured workers in Victoria seeking compensation for mental health injuries will be able to receive treatment as soon as possible from July this year.
Right now, workers with a psychological condition often wait up to five weeks before receiving a decision on whether WorkSafe will accept their claim and pay for treatment or support. This is a lot longer than the average seven days it takes WorkSafe to make a decision on a physical injury claim. Currently, if the claim for a psychological injury is rejected, the injured worker is not entitled to any funded treatment for this injury under the WorkCover scheme, and will need to pay for treatment themselves.
However, the Victorian Government has recognised the increasing number of work-related psychological injury claims lodged with WorkSafe and recently made changes to the law to allow early access to treatment.
The change will provide early intervention treatment to help injured workers in their recovery and return to work. From July 2021, workers will have access to payments for medical expenses for treatment within two business days of their claim being lodged by their employer with the insurer. This means they won’t be out of pocket for GP visits, psychiatrist or psychologist appointments and medication, while they wait for the outcome of their claim.
Whether the claim is ultimately accepted or rejected, the injured worker will have access to treatment for 13 weeks. Workers whose claims have been rejected will also have access to occupational rehabilitation services to help them return to work.
Workers who suffer a psychological injury after a physical injury can also access 13 weeks of psychological treatment without the need for approval from the insurer.
Employers will have to notify their insurer within three business days of receiving the psychological injury claim (or five days for self-insured employers) or face penalties if they don’t comply with their obligations from 1 January 2022.
Workers who’ve suffered a psychological injury at work should lodge a claim as soon as possible following the injury so they can access the support they need to focus on their recovery and return to work.
The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.