What many injured workers do not know is that they are eligible for compensation for domestic assistance to help them around the home. If you are injured at work and, as a result of that injury, it is reasonably necessary that you receive domestic assistance, the insurer may be liable to pay the cost of such assistance.
Domestic Assistance and Section 60AA of the Workers Compensation Act 1987
The principle for domestic assistance as part of compensation is contained in section 60AA of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. However, it is not quite so straightforward.
In accordance with section 60AA (1), the insurer is only liable to pay the cost of domestic assistance if all of the following four requirements are met:
- A medical practitioner has certified that it is reasonably necessary that the assistance be provided to the injured worker. Necessity will be assessed on the basis of a functional assessment, and the medical practitioner must be of the opinion that the necessity arises as a direct result of the injury;
- The assistance would not be provided but for the injury, that is, before you suffered your work injury, you did not need the assistance;
- The injury has resulted in permanent impairment of at least 15%
- OR the assistance is to be provided on a temporary basis. “Temporary basis”, under section 60AA(2) of the Act, means that it is provided:
(a) For not more than 6 hours per week, AND;
(b) For not longer than 3 months, AND;
(c) It is provided pursuant to requirements of the relevant injury management plan.
The domestic assistance is provided in accordance with a care plan established by the insurer (which must accord with WorkCover Guidelines).
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What if a Family Member or Friend is Providing Domestic Assistance Free of Charge?
It is possible to claim the cost of gratuitous (free) domestic assistance.
However, this cost will only be payable if the person that is providing the assistance has lost income or has forgone employment as a result.
This means that if a family member is providing the assistance, but would be at home regardless, they cannot be reimbursed. However, if they have had to take time off work to provide you with domestic assistance, they can be paid for the assistance provided (at the market rate).
Injured worker’s that meet the above requirements to claim the cost of domestic assistance should note the following (as set out in section 60AA(5) of the Act):
- Payments for domestic assistance are made only as the costs are incurred, or for gratuitous domestic assistance, as the services are provided;
- The payments will only be made if the costs of the domestic assistance and the provision of the assistance is properly verified.
Finally, any payments for gratuitous domestic assistance will be paid directly to the provider of the assistance.
What is Considered Domestic Assistance?
The definition of domestic assistance covers a very broad range of household tasks and day-to-day activities. SIRA defines domestic assistance as “tasks such as household cleaning and laundry, lawn or garden care, and transport not covered as a medical, hospital or rehabilitation expense.”
Work with Experienced Compensation Lawyers
Our legal team is experienced in dealing a variety of compensation and personal injury law matters, including workers compensation and how to claim domestic assistance as part of compensation. We provide legal advice and guidance on the court process, from start to finish.
The team at Burke Mead Lawyers are experts in personal injury legal services and can assist you throughout this process to protect your legal rights and help achieve the best outcomes for your family – contact Burke Mead Lawyers today.
About the Author
Sean is a member of the personal injury team with extensive experience in representing injured clients at the Personal Injury Commission as well as in the District and Supreme Courts of NSW.