Does WorkCover pay for retraining?
Yes, in certain instances WorkCover will pay for retraining expenses. This applies if you’re no longer employed with the employer with which you suffered injury, or if you are still employed with the injury employer have some restriction with regard to your work capacity.
The process for getting approval for retraining expenses can on occasion be quite involved however.
This page will explore the matter further.
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What type of retraining expenses will WorkCover pay for?
WorkCover will consider paying for (or contributing towards) various different types of retraining courses.
From a simple basic computer training course that lasts a day, to a full study course at TAFE or university.
Whether they will pay for a course or not is determined by the WorkCover insurer on a case by case basis.
Will WorkCover pay for more than just course fees?
Yes, in addition to the course costs, WorkCover can also pay for other costs incurred or that may be incurred during the training course.
This can include things like books and stationary.
In certain instances, WorkCover will also pay for a computer and related items.
When determining whether to pay for a computer, the WorkCover insurer will consider whether the need for the computer directly relates to the course that they are funding.
They’ll also look at whether you may be able to access a computer elsewhere (such as at the library of the course provider), whether you can self fund a computer and whether you would not be able to participate in the retraining if they did not fund a computer.
When will WorkCover pay for retraining expenses?
WorkCover will consider paying for retraining for you to be redeployed within the injury employer, as well as to assist you to obtain employment with a new employer.
They will consider paying for retraining expenses if you’re still employed with the injury employer, unemployed following an injury or with a new employer.
WorkCover, generally speaking, will consider paying for retraining expenses if you have some incapacity for work related to you work related injury.
How do you get WorkCover to pay for retraining?
You as an injured worker are able to approach the WorkCover insurer at any time during your WorkCover matter and ask them to approve a training course.
You can do so by emailing or calling the insurer.
You will need to provide information about the training course to the insurer. This includes information regarding what the course involves and what it costs.
The insurer will then go through the process of determining whether to approve the course.
This can take a matter of weeks, sometimes longer.
If you feel as though it’s taking too long or if a course deadline is approaching, then you can always follow the insurer up either by phone or email and ask for an update as to how things are progressing.
Once the insurer has made a decision in relation to the matter, they should send you a written notice explaining their decision.
If the insurer approves the course, any costs can be paid to the provider or reimbursed to you.
If they do not approve the course, their written notice should outline the reasons as to why.
Sometimes the insurer may agree to contribute towards part of cost only.
Should you wish, you are able to contest a decision of the insurer to not fund a course, or to only part fund a course. More on this below.
When should you ask for approval from the WorkCover insurer?
In general, you should ask WorkCover to approve a course before you commence the course.
We understand there are situations where this might not be preferable however, such as if the course commencement deadline is approaching and you are eager to start the course.
In these situations, you can enrol in the course and pay any costs yourself and then seek reimbursement from the insurer down the track. Keep in mind however that there is no guarantee that the WorkCover insurer will pay or contribute towards the cost of the course, and you may end up out of pocket.
What happens if the insurer does not pay for the retraining costs?
If the insurer does not approve your request for payment, then the insurer should send you a notice outlining why they rejected your request.
You should read through the reasons. If the request was rejected for a reason you can rectify – such as them not having enough information to make a decision – then you should do so.
Otherwise, you can elect to initiate a conciliation.
At conciliation the insurer may not change their decision unless you have further material to assist.
They may offer to pay a portion of the retraining costs and it’s up to you whether to accept their offer or not.
If you can’t reach an agreement at conciliation then there are options open to you beyond conciliation.
What if you don’t complete the training course?
If you don’t complete a course that the insurer has paid for, there is the possibility that the insurer will seek a refund of all or part of the training course cost.
If you have had a course paid for by the insurer and are thinking of stopping it before completing it, you should contact the insurer and clarify before doing so, whether this will financially impact you.
WorkCover will consider paying for retraining expenses to both injured workers to assist them to return to their pre injury employer, or with a different employer.
They’ll consider paying for retraining expenses if you have some incapacity for work related to your work related injury.
In most instances, it is preferable to ask the insurer for approval prior to commencing a course and having the insurer pay the provider directly, as opposed to you paying for the course and then seeking reiumbusement from the insurer.
If the insurer elects not to approve payment for a course, you are able to appeal this decision.