How long does a certificate of capacity last?
In most instances under the WorkCover system, a certificate of capacity will run for 28 days. The initial WorkCover certificate should run for 14 days.
In a limited number of instances, certificates can run for three months but this is usually for people who have a long term injury that is not likely to change.
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Your initial certificate of capacity should run for no more than 14 days.
The initial certificate is the first certificate under your WorkCover claim.
So after you suffer an injury, and the first time the medical practitioner provides you with a certificate of capacity, this certificate should run for no more than 14 days.
If the certificate runs for more than 14 days, the WorkCover insurer may ask you to return to your doctor and break the certificate into smaller periods.
For example, if your first certificate runs for 28 days, the insurer may request that you go back to your doctor and obtain two certificates covering 14 days each.
In some instances, they will accept a first certificate that runs for more than 14 days, but it is a better idea of have your first certificate to run for no more than 14 days to save yourself the potential administrative headache.
If you have had weekly payments paid to you and then ceased, and then you make an application to have weekly payment reinstated, your first certificate under the reinstatement period should be 28 days.
It does not need to be for 14 days again.
If you’re not yet lodging a claim
If you’re not sure whether to lodge a claim yet, or you’re wanting to hold off on lodging a claim – but you’re still obtaining certificates of capacity, you should still ensure that your first certificate runs for 14 days and thereafter your certificates can run for 28 days each.
The majority of certificates of capacity will run for 28 days.
That is, any certificates obtained after the initial medical certificate.
Over the duration of your WorkCover claim, if you are obtaining certificates of capacity and claiming weekly payments, it’s likely that most of your certificates will be for 28 days.
This will apply regardless as to whether you have a physical injury or a psychological injury.
In some instances, you are able to have certificates that run for three months.
However, you should not just go to the person that is providing you with certificates and ask them for a three monthly certificate.
The WorkCover insurer in this instance will likely not accept the certificate and will ask you to go back to the person that certified you and obtain certificates that run for 28 days.
In order to have certificates that run for three months accepted by the WorkCover insurer, you should first have an injury that is a long term injury. That is, an injury that is not likely to change.
It might for example be appropriate if you have an injury and you have been in receipt of weekly payments for a number of years (perhaps you’ve crossed the 130 week threshold).
And in addition to this, before obtaining a three month certificate, you should first seek permission to obtain a three month certificate from the WorkCover insurer.
They may want the person to write on the certificate something to the effect of ‘the medical condition is not likely to change.’
Another instance as to where a three monthly certificate might be appropriate is if you are going overseas or otherwise unable to see your doctor for a while.
If you’re going overseas for say four months, the insurer may accept a three month certificate from you.
Can you get a certificate that runs for longer than three months?
In short, no you can’t. A three month certificate is as long as period as you can have.
Can a normal medical certificate substitute for a certificate of capacity?
No, the WorkCover insurer will not accept a regular medical certificate instead of a certificate of capacity.
This applies for any time period – that is, whether the regular medical certificate covers a 14, 28 or three month period.
The only possible alternative to a certificate of capacity is a statutory declaration.
In some instances, the WorkCover insurer will accept a statutory declaration that covers a period of time of incapacity where certificates of capacity were not obtained or not able to be obtained. However, a statutory declaration should only be a backup option – you should not rely on a statutory declaration being accepted by the WorkCover insurer instead of a certificate of capacity during the ordinary course of events of your WorkCover matter.
Most certificates of capacity will run for 28 days. Initial certificates of capacity should, in most instances, run for no more than 14 days.
In limited instances, certificates of capacity can run for three months. This is typically in instances where a person has a long term injury that is not likely to alter. Before obtaining a certificate of capacity that runs for three months, you should first seek permission from the WorkCover insurer. If you don’t, the WorkCover insurer is likely to not accept certificate and will ask you to return to the person that certified you and obtain certificates that run for 28 days each.