WorkCover after retirement age
You can lodge a WorkCover claim after retirement age if you’ve suffered an injury related to your employment. This applies to both injuries suffered before and injuries suffered after retirement age.
For the most part, you’ll be entitled to claim what a person would be entitled to claim if they were injured prior to retirement age.
There are however some differences to the entitlements that you can claim, which this page will explore.
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When is retirement age for WorkCover purposes?
When it comes to WorkCover claims in Victoria, retirement age is tied to the pension age.
The pension age has been increased from 65 to 67.
What the pension age is for a particular person depends upon when that person was born. See below:
- From 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1959, the pension age of 65 years and six months (from 1 July 2017).
- From 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955 the pension age is 66 years (from 1 July 2019).
- From 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956, the pension age of 66 years and six months (from 1 July 2021).
- From 1 January 1957 onwards the pension age is 67 years (from 1 July 2023).
Lodging a WorkCover claim after retirement
If you suffer an injury prior to retirement age, and then lodge a WorkCover claim after retirement age, this should have no impact on what you can claim.
Your entitlements under the WorkCover system will be the same as any other worker.
If you suffer an injury during the course of your employment after your retirement age, should you wish to pursue a WorkCover claim you would do so in the same way that any other injured worker would.
This is done by completing and lodging the relevant WorkCover claim form.
The WorkCover insurer will then organise for you to be medically assessed by an IME.
The insurer will then either accept or reject the claim.
If the claim is accepted, then you are entitled to the same benefits, for the most part, that any other injured worker would be entitled to who was injured prior to retirement age.
The four basic WorkCover entitlements are;
If your claim is rejected there are options open to you to contest the rejection.
Weekly payments after retirement age
One of the main ways that a WorkCover claim for a person injured after retirement age differs is in relation to weekly payments.
Firstly, if you are injured after retirement age, then you will still be entitled to the payment of weekly payments in the same way that a person injured prior to retirement age would be.
You can read about weekly payments here.
However, one key difference is that normally if a person is injured prior to retirement age, when they hit the 130 week mark and have no work capacity which is likely to continue indefinitely, that person may be entitled to ongoing weekly payments.
Similarly, if a person injured prior to retirement age after 130 weeks does have a work capacity, but not a full work capacity and has returned to work working at least 15 hours a week, but if they’re not able to increase their hours, they may be entitled to top up pay from the WorkCover insurer.
If you are injured after retirement age, you are not entitled to claim weekly payments beyond 130 weeks. This applies to claiming payments on the basis that you have no work capacity and on the basis that you have a partial work capacity but you cannot increase your work hours.
You would be entitled to 130 weeks of weekly payments only.
Once your payments have ceased under WorkCover, then you would have an entitlement to the age pension (assuming that you satisfy the means criteria relating to the age pension).
Common law claim after retirement age
A Common law lump sum claim is claim that a person will be entitled to if they have suffered an injury and that injury was contributed to by negligence of employer or third-party.
The first thing that must be established in relation to a common law claim is that a person has a serious injury.
Unless a person has been assessed as having a 30% whole person impairment rating under their impairment lump sum claim, the way that they would establish a serious injury is via what’s called the narrative test.
In simple terms, the narrative test involves looking at a before and after picture as to how a person was before an injury and comparing that to how they are after the injury. The bigger the difference, then generally speaking, the more likely are to be considered as having a serious injury.
Here’s an example:
Two people with the same shoulder injury – one of those people is 20 years old, and the other person is at retirement age.
Generally speaking, when it comes to determining the issue of serious injury under the narrative test, the impact of a shoulder injury will be more significant on a 20 year old that it would be on a person at retirement age.
The younger person may have a better prospect of obtaining a serious injury certificate as opposed to someone who is at retirement age.
Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t always the case – it is just an illustration.
When it comes to compensation under a common law claim, a person can be compensated for pain and suffering as well as, in certain instances, loss of earnings.
Being injured after retirement age can impact both of these heads of damages.
When it comes to determining compensation for pain and suffering, the impact an injury has on a persons life is highly relevant. Generally speaking, the greater the impact the greater the amount of compensation payable.
Using the example of the shoulder injury above, the compensation payable to the 20 year old would likely be greater than the person at retirement age.
When it comes to determining compensation for loss of earnings, this seeks to compensate you (but not on a dollar for dollar basis) for the income that you would had earned, had you not been injured.
Just because you’ve hit retirement age does not necessarily mean that you are not able to claim loss of earnings under a common law claim. What you would need to show is that, prior to the injury, you had the intention of working beyond retirement age.
If your intention was, prior to getting injured, to continue working safe for another five years or beyond, then potentially you can be compensated for this.
You may, for example have been working in an industry where it was commonplace for a person to work well beyond retirement age.
You would need to have material that shows that you intended to continue working will be on retirement age.
Medical and like expenses
You’re able to claim medical and like that, a person injured prior to retirement age can.
You can pursue an impairment lump some claim and be compensated in the same way that a person injured prior to retirement age would be.
With an impairment claim, claim age is not relevant in the same way that it can be in relation to a common-law claim.
If you are injured after retirement age and make a WorkCover claim after retirement age, for the most part, you’ll be entitled to claim the same benefits that a person who was injured prior to retirement age.
There are some differences however.
When it comes to weekly payments, you will not be entitled to receive payments beyond 130 weeks.
There may also be an impact on your ability to demonstrate serious injury, you may be entitled to less by way of pain and suffering compensation, and there may be an impact on your loss of earnings claim.
Claiming WorkCover after retirement should have no impact on your ability to claim medical and like expenses or an impairment lump sum claim.