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Asbestos-related workers' compensation claims

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) provides the legislative basis for the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme. The SRC Act establishes Comcare and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission. It also sets out the role and functions of both bodies including administrative, regulatory, and service responsibilities.

All accepted claims for workers’ compensation under the SRC Act—including those in relation to asbestos-related disease—may have an entitlement to the following payments.

Medical expenses

Comcare has established an appropriate payment limit for many treatment types. Medical expenses can only be paid in relation to the accepted compensable condition. For asbestos-related claims this may include pharmaceuticals, general practitioner and specialist consultations, x-rays and the like.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for medical expenses.

Travel costs

Comcare may reimburse costs related to travel to attend medical treatment in the following cases:

  • the condition reasonably requires use of an ambulance or public transport, including a taxi
  • a private motor vehicle is used for travel to attend medical treatment and the distance travelled for any one-off treatment session is more than 50 kilometres for the round-trip.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for travel costs.

Household and attendant care services

A serious work-related injury or illness may make it difficult to cope with home duties. Comcare may reimburse certain costs to help you manage day-to-day activities. In some circumstances, Comcare may approve attendant care services if they are required as a result of a work-related injury or illness. These are services of a personal nature and include things like help with washing and dressing.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for household and attendant care services.

Aids, appliances and modifications

Comcare may approve the provision, repair or replacement of any aid or appliance that is reasonably required as a result of a work-related injury or illness.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for aids, appliances and modifications.

Incapacity benefits

You may be entitled to receive income support—known as incapacity benefits—while you are unable to work as a result of your accepted work-related injury or illness.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for incapacity payments.

Permanent impairment

If a work-related injury or illness results in a permanent impairment, a permanent impairment lump sum payment may be payable by Comcare. Permanent impairment lump sums are assessed according to Comcare’s Guide to the Assessment of the Degree of Permanent Impairment (the Guide).

Under the current Edition 2.1 of the Guide, employees with lung cancers (other than mesothelioma) are considered severely impaired at the time of diagnosis and are given a Whole Person Impairment (WPI) rating of 70 per cent.

If there is evidence of tumour, or if tumour recurs one year after diagnosis is established, then the employee remains severely impaired and the WPI rating is increased to 80 per cent.

Employees with mesothelioma are considered severely impaired and a WPI rating of 85 per cent is awarded upon diagnosis.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for permanent impairment.

Death and funeral benefits

If a death is the direct result of a work-related injury or illness, compensation may be payable to the deceased person’s dependants.

This may include:

  • a lump sum payment to dependants
  • fortnightly payments for each dependent child who was a dependant of the employee at the date of death and is under the age of 16—or aged between 16 and 25 and receiving full-time education and not working
  • reimbursement of funeral expenses.

Refer to additional information regarding claims for death and funeral benefits.

Page last updated: 24 Jul 2014