Changes made to the NSW Workers Compensation System state that a Lawyer cannot be paid for assisting an injured worker when challenging the validity of a Work Capacity Decision. However, according to the CFMEU’s article titled “Victories show importance of fighting payment cuts” (Unity Issue 61 September 2013),those NSW injured workers who are lucky enough to be a member of a Union (in this case the CFMEU in NSW) can still seek Union assistance to challenge any Work Capacity Decision made by a workcover insurer.
It also appears that the CFMU may have better results than the WIRO alone when it comes to fighting wrongful payment/benefit cuts by the insurers!
CFMEU victories show importance of fighting workcover payment cuts in NSW
Victories show importance of fighting payment cuts
By CFMEU – Unity Issue 61 September 2013
THE CFMEU’s legal team has won valuable breathing space for injured worker Jason Broadbent. The Morrisett scaffolder has secured an extra four-five months’ workers compensation after the WorkCover Independent Review Officer (WIRO) found his insurer CGU had not complied correctly with the legislation.
Critically CGU will also have to backpay Broadbent to July 5 when it terminated his payments.
The victory was thanks to the efforts of the CFMEU team led by Industrial Officer Sherri Hayward who challenged CGU’s decision to end Broadbent’s payments.
Hayward says the win shows the importance of injured workers coming forward to challenge any decision to terminate compensation payments. “It was only at the final review by WIRO that we won the argument, so it shows you can’t just give up,” says Hayward.
The decision also means the union can go through the appeal process again and maybe able to win a further reprieve for Broadbent. The union had also secured a small payout for Broadbent after it discovered CGU had been underpaying him. “It’s incredible they pay you nothing and then they rip you off,” says Broadbent, who is delighted by the latest news.
Hayward says Broadbent’s case shows how unfair the system is. “Jason has been applying for up to eight jobs at a time and no one calls him because he is on compensation and they don’t want to take the risk. “The government says it’s the workers’ fault but if no one is willing to hire them because of their injury how can that be?”
Among the victories was a claim for Robert Hoxha, 53, who Hayward says can barely walk, yet according to his workers’ compensation insurer he is fit to work. Hoxha was told his payments would cease but the union had this decision overturned.
View the CFMU NSW website and published magazines: http://www.cfmeunsw.asn.au/news/unity