Australian Federal Police [‘AFP’] Comcare Claims

Emanuel Solicitors assists the Australian Federal Police Force members to receive ALL their entitlements and benefits, from Comcare.

The Law that applies to AFP workers’ compensation claims

AFP members workers’ compensation rights and entitlements, as set out in the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 [‘SRCA’], are administered by Comcare, who is the workers compensation insurer in this role.

Comcare wears 2 hats

When dealing with Comcare, it can become very confusing for an AFP member who has claimed compensation, because Comcare ‘wears two hats’ in this compensation scheme. The following example shows how:

  • if Comcare, wearing its ‘insurer’s hat’, makes a ‘Determination’ to terminate a member’s incapacity payments, either the member or the AFP [‘the employer’] can dispute that Determination,
  • then Comcare puts on its other ‘hat’ to become the umpire between the AFP member and the AFP [‘the employer’], and makes a ‘Reconsideration’ of the disputed first decision.
  • The Reconsideration will be made by a different Comcare Delegate, than the Delegate who made the first Determination
  • If either the AFP member or the employer, is unhappy with Comcare’s Reconsideration, the AFP member or the employer, may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal [‘AAT’] for a Review of the Reconsideration.
  • If the AFP member applies to the AAT, Comcare will then put its ‘insurer’s hat’ back on, to be the Respondent, that is, the opposition, to the AFP member’s Application for a Review in the AAT.
  • If the AFP [‘the employer’] applies to the AAT, Comcare will also put its ‘insurer’s hat’ back on, to be the Respondent to the AFP’s Application for a Review in the AAT.
  • In this situation, the AFP member will still need to be legally represented in the AAT, because, whatever the outcome of the judicial AAT process is, it will effect the AFP member.
  • In the process outlined above, it may well appear that the review process and Comcare’s role in it, is not fully independent or transparent.

The Benefits under the Comcare compensation scheme:

The available benefits can be summarised as follows:

  • Incapacity Payments:
    • compensate for income loss
    • range from 75% of your pre-injury income up to 100% of your income, dependent on the percentage of your pre-injury hours which you able to work, if any.
    • paid until the age of 65 years.
    • the most valuable financial benefits.
  • Treatment Expenses:
    • all reasonable treatment expenses and pharmaceutical expenses are payable for all of life.
  • Lump Sum Payments for Permanent Impairment [‘PI’]:
    • require assessment by a medical specialist who is competent in applying the Comcare Guide which are the appropriate assessment Tables under SRCA
    • Medical conditions must be assessed by a medical expert to be ‘stable and permanent’
    • lump sums
    • tax free
  • Domestic and Handyman Services [‘Household services’] and Attendant Care Services
    • require that an Occupational Therapist undertake an assessment and report to DVA.
    • quite difficult to get any more than 2 – 3 hours pw of domestic assistance and up to 3 hours per fortnight of gardening and handyman assistance.

The Appeal Process

  • An initial Determination is made by Comcare;
  • If dissatisfied with this, a Reconsideration is sought from Comcare;
  • If dissatisfied with this Reconsideration, then an Application for Review can be brought to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal [‘AAT’].

Emanuel Solicitors are here to help

  • Comcare claims are quite technical and a claimant should seek our carefully considered legal advice before accepting a Decision by Comcare with respect to their entitlements, or, more preferably, should seek such advice before even claiming such Comcare benefits.
  • For example, a resignation, or the acceptance of a voluntary redundancy package, could result in the loss of the AFP member’s entitlement to incapacity payments for all time.

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