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Permanent impairment

If you have a work-related injury or illness that results in a permanent impairment (PI), you may wish to claim a PI lump sum benefit.

What is permanent impairment?

Under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, 'impairment' is defined as the loss, loss of use, or the damage or malfunction of any part of the body or of any bodily system or function, or part of such system or function.

Your doctor or specialist is able to assess whether you have sustained any impairment(s) as a result of your work-related injury or illness.

To decide if you are eligible for a PI benefit, Comcare will consider whether:

  • you have an impairment
  • your impairment is permanent
  • you have an assessable PI in accordance with the Comcare Guide to the Assessment of the Degree of Permanent Impairment—Edition 2.1
  • the degree of your impairment meets the thresholds for compensation
  • you have been paid a previous lump sum benefit for PI.

What are the thresholds for compensation?

The degree of your impairment is expressed as a percentage based on the concept of 'whole person impairment'. The whole person impairment concept provides for compensation for the permanent impairment of any body part, system or function to the extent to which it permanently impairs you as a whole person.

The thresholds for PI compensation are:

  • most compensable injuries—10 per cent whole person impairment
  • hearing loss—5 per cent whole person impairment (with some exceptions)
  • Loss of finger, toes, sense of taste or smell—no threshold.

The degree of  PI (if any) is to be assessed by reference to this guide:

How do I apply for a permanent impairment lump sum benefit?

To apply for a lump sum benefit you must submit a claim to your relevant claims manager.

Licensees

If you work for one of the licensed corporations under the scheme (see Current licensees), your employer's claims manager is responsible for managing your permanent impairment claim, not Comcare. You should contact your claims manager for advice on how to lodge your claim. If you do not know who your claims manager is, you may want to contact your HR area.

Current or former, Commonwealth and ACT Government employees

For current and former, Commonwealth and ACT Government employees, a request for a PI lump sum benefit should be made by completing a Compensation claim for permanent impairment and non-economic loss—form and checklist.

The form has three components:

  • a permanent impairment claim form
  • a non-economic loss questionnaire
  • a checklist for employees.

Note: A separate claim form is required for each of your compensable injuries.

Please read the Notes to assist completion of permanent impairment application form before completing the form.

The non-economic loss questionnaire component of the claim form asks you and your doctor to provide a score for each of its categories. You and your doctor must provide examples that elaborate on the impact the work-related injury has had on your activities of daily living.

After you complete all parts of the PI claim form, you can lodge it by mailing it to Comcare, PO Box 9905, Canberra ACT 2601. Alternatively, you can email a scan of the completed form to general.enquiries@comcare.gov.au.

You may enclose any additional medical evidence that Comcare may not already have on your compensation file.

Can I discuss my eligibility requirements before I lodge my claim for a permanent impairment?

Yes, you can discuss your eligibility requirements before making a claim. You can also refer to the Information for employees—permanent impairment factsheet, which will help you make a decision as to whether you should submit your claim now or when your condition is permanent and stable.

If you have any enquiries, contact your claims manager for assistance.

More information about the PI process

Page last updated: 29 Mar 2016