We have been informed that any injured worker with concerns or complaints about their claims or how their claims are being managed can now contact WIRO (WorkCover Independent Review Office). We urge all injured workers who feel their claims have been mismanaged to contact WIRO and voice your concerns. The WIRO is very keen to hear about systematic or individuals problems with the workers compensation system.
Complaints or concerns? WorkCover Independent Review Office (WIRO) is now open for business
The Role of WIRO – Background
In June 2012 the Government introduced changes to the Workers Compensation Scheme in NSW.
The implementation of those reforms included the appointment of a WorkCover Independent Review Officer (WIRO). This role is effective from 1 October 2012.
- The WIRO provides an independent review of decisions made about benefits and work capacity.
- The WIRO is responsible for: investigating complaints made by workers about insurers, and making recommendations for action to be taken by the insurer or the worker
- reviewing work capacity decisions by insurers
- encouraging high quality complaint resolution by insurers and employers
- reporting annually to the Minister and the Parliament on their responsibilities.
More recently, UNIONS NSW along with representative from Workers Health Centre and IWSN met with the new head of this department Mr Kim Garling.
Key points to notes coming from this meeting were:
- The WIRO will attempt to resolve any complaints from injured workers.
- The WIRO is looking at funding legal representation for injured workers in relation to Work Capacity Decisions.
- The WIRO is very keen to hear about systematic or individuals problems with the workers compensation system.
- The Independent Legal Assistance and Review Scheme (ILARS) should ensure that all workers with a reasonably arguable case get free legal representation all the way to the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC).
- The WIRO hopes most disputes about workers compensation can be resolved quickly and without recourse to the WCC.
- Workers need to be educated about the new system and the WIRO will discuss how best to achieve that with Unions NSW.
The WIRO will take inquiries over the phone as of now. The WIRO will also keep notes about every call.If it is premature for the injured worker to be dealing with WIRO they will be referred to the WorkCover Claims Assistance line or the Insurer. The WorkCover Claims Assistance line is currently being upgraded. The WIRO is confident it can deal well with issues referred to it but if there are any problems with bad advice, let him know.
The WIRO will collect statistics about the types of problems that arise to inform their input to the Minister and Parliament about legislative change. The statistics (including number of claims denied and why, outcomes before and after intervention of WIRO) will be published. If you are aware of an individual or systematic problem with the system, please call.
The WIRO is meeting with regional law societies, the AMA and other groups in coming weeks.
WIRO needs to educate workers about the system. They will liaise with Unions NSW about how best that can happen.