Does WorkCover cover travel to and from work in Victoria?

Workers travelling too and from work on a busy street

If you were injured on the road driving to and from work, then the WorkCover insurer would not be responsible for paying your entitlements.

In this case, you would need to lodge a claim with the TAC who would be responsible for paying you travel expenses.

In some cases however, WorkCover can pay for the cost of travel to and from work in Victoria.

If you’re injured at work and you are able to do some work and you need to get to and from work but are longer able to drive yourself, in that case the WorkCover insurer will have a responsibility to pay you reasonable travel costs.

What travel expenses can I be reimbursed for by WorkCover?

Your WorkCover insurer can reimburse you for travel related to the following:

  • Medical appointments With your own doctors
  • Travel to and from treatment
  • Attendance upon independent medical examiners
  • Attendance upon impairment benefit assessment
  • Attendance upon occupational rehabilitation services
  • Attendance at medical panel appointments.

What if I use my own vehicle?

If you are required to travel for one of the above reasons and you use your own vehicle to attend, you can seek reimbursement based on the distance travelled in kilometres to the appointment.

If any parking or toll fees were incurred, then keep in mind that you can also claim these.

There is a particular travel reimbursement form that you’ll need to fill out. You should contact the insurance company and ask them to sent to you.

This form needs to be completed and then sent off to the insurance company as soon as possible after the travel expense has been incurred.

Ensure to provide the WorkCover insurer with the following information;

  • Date and time of travel
  • The address of departure and the address of the arrival location
  • The reason for attendance (name of provider attending close
  • The total kilometres travelled per trip.
  • Any receipts that you may have for parking or tolls

In relation to the total kilometres travelled, you’ll be reimbursed by the WorkCover insurer at 30 cents per kilometre.

In relation to the parking and toll receipts, if the cost of parking that you incurred was less than $15 then you do not need to provide a receipt to the WorkCover insurer.

What if I used public transport?

You can claim the reasonable cost of travel using the a train, bus or tram.

You are able to claim the cost of the ticket and a copy of the ticket is not required but it is always a good idea to provide this to the insurance company if it is easy enough for you to do so.

Workcover travel costs vic public transport

What about taxi travel?

If you are not able to attend a medical appointment or one of the other assessments referred to above using your own private vehicle, the WorkCover insurer may approve payment for the cost of taxi travel.

If you would prefer that the insurer pay the taxi provider directly to ensure that you are not out of pocket, then you’ll need to discuss this with the insurance company. It is possible for this arrangement to be made.

In order to approve the payment of taxi travel, you need to obtain a short letter from your treating GP or another health practitioner that addresses the reasons why are you are unable to travel by your own vehicle or public transport.

If you have an appointment coming up and you will need to use a taxi service for which you will require the insurance company to pay for, then you should arrange this as soon as possible prior to the appointment.

Any claims for reimbursement of relevant taxi expenses need to be submitted in writing along with a receipt from the taxi provider so make sure that if you do use a taxi service, you ask for a receipt.

What about meal and accommodation expenses?

In some instances, WorkCover insurers will reimburse you for the cost of any accommodation or meals.

This is usually the case if you attended a medical panel assessment or an independent medical examination.

Usually this does not apply if you are attending your own treating doctors.

In relation to accommodation expenses, you can be reimbursed where you have provided information from your treating doctor, usually your general practitioner, that shows that you needed to have accommodation because of your work injury or illness.

Your doctor needs to comment on the fact that your work related injury or illness resulted in you not being able to attend your appointment and return home on the same day.

This is particularly relevant for injured workers in regional areas.

In order to claim reimbursement for accommodation expenses you must submit, along with the letter from the doctor, any relevant receipts.

If you would prefer the insurance company to pay for accommodation upfront rather than reimbursing you, then you need to discuss this with them. It is possible for this arrangement to be made.

In relation to meal expenses, WorkCover can reimburse you for these where the distance from your home to the appointment is more than 100 km away and the appointment that your attendance resulted in you being away from home at meal times.

Again, this is particularly relevant for those injured workers from regional areas who have to travel to Melbourne for assessments.

As with accommodation expenses, in order to claim meal expenses you must submit copies of relevant receipts.

What about travel expenses to attend conciliation conferences?

WorkCover insurers are able to reimburse you for the reasonable cost of travel to and from a conciliation conference.

As at 1 July 2020, the maximum amount that they can reimburse you for is $63 which includes any kilometres travelled as well as the cost of any parking.

In order to claim conciliation related travel costs, you need to fill out the travel a form that you were provided with after conciliation. If after the conciliation you were not provided with one of these forms, then you should contact the accident compensation conciliation service.

What about the cost of air travel?

If you have to attend a medical panel or independent medical examination organised by the insurance company and you can’t use one of the other modes of travel, in some cases the WorkCover insurer can reimburse you for the cost of air travel.

It’s important to note that prior revel is required so once you know that an appointment is scheduled you should contact the WorkCover insurer and discuss the matter with them.

In order to claim the cost of any air travel expenses, you need to provide a copy of the airline receipt to the insurer, along with details of the appointment that you attended.

Again, if you would prefer the WorkCover insurer pay the provider directly, you should discuss with them this option.

What about rideshare services?

Rideshare services like Uber are able to be reimbursed where you are unable to drive a private motor vehicle or travel as a passenger in a private vehicle and you’re not able to travel by public transport.

Keep in mind that prior approval must be obtained before using the rideshare service.

What about the cost of road ambulance

If you need a road ambulance to travel to relevant appointments, in some cases the WorkCover insurer can pay for this. Prior approval is required.

What cannot be paid?

The insurer will not pay for the following;

  • Any travel for non work injury or illness purposes.
  • Expenses related to another person. So for example say your spouse attended an appointment you cannot claim their meals or their accommodation or any lost time from work.
  • You cannot claim the costs of any meals or accommodation related to attending your own doctor.
  • If approval is provided in relation to accommodation expenses, you can’t claim expenses on top of that related to the accommodation. For example, you can’t claim minibar or laundry expenses.
  • You are unable to claim the cost of fuel if you use your own vehicle. The reimbursement per kilometre is all the insurer will pay for.
  • Any parking fines are not payable.
  • Any motor vehicle hire expenses are not payable.
  • You cannot claim travel costs to and from a pharmacy.

What if the insurer is refusing to pay for the cost of travel?

If the insurer refuses to pay and you think they should, then you can lodge a request for conciliation to try and have the matter determined.

Most disputes relating to travel will resolve at conciliation.

 

Please keep in mind that the information contained on this page should not be considered legal advice and no content on this site should replace the need to obtain advice tailored to the specific facts of your case. The facts of a case can significantly alter the advice that can provided. This site only provides general advice. Read more here.

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To contact Michael or Peter call 1800 746 442 or email [email protected]

Written by the Work Injury Site team