Returning to work following a severe injury
If you’ve been severely injured in a motor accident or a workplace in NSW, we can help you get back to work or other meaningful activities.
If you’re an Lifetime Care participant or a worker in the Workers Care Program, we can pay for supports that will help you return to work.
While it might not be possible to return to work in the same capacity as before your injury, we can provide supports to help you to explore and find options for work that you’re able to do that interest you.
Research has shown the important role that work can play in the recovery process, reducing the risk of long term disability and work loss, as well as being beneficial to your health and wellbeing.By staying focused on what you can do rather than what you can’t, gradually getting back to work can become an important part of your journey to recovery.
While your employer may have a role to play in providing suitable employment, it’s up to you to take an active approach to managing your recovery.
You don’t have to wait until you’re fully recovered to get back to some form of work. We recommend talking to your employer and icare coordinator or case manager about planning for your return to work as early as possible.
Returning to work after a severe motor accident injury
If you’re returning to work after a severe motor accident injury you’ll be supported through Lifetime Care.
Your coordinator and case manager will talk with you, your family and your treating team to understand the right time to start planning any return to work.
If you have a job to go back to, we’ll work with your employer to plan what supports you need to start working again. This may be on reduced hours and suitable duties while you’re getting used to being back at work.
If you don’t have a job to go back to, we’ll work with you and a return to work specialist to help you develop a ‘work options plan’ which identifies the types of jobs that interest you and the supports you need to get started in finding work.
Once you’re working, we’ll continue to provide the ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports you need to maintain work or to continue to upgrade your work hours and skills.We can also provide support if your work role or your needs change.
Returning to work after a severe workplace injury
icare has introduced the Workers Care Program to improve the way treatment and care services are delivered to people who are severely injured at work. Severe injuries include:
- brain injury
- spinal cord injury
If your injuries meet the criteria for the Workers Care Program, we’ll manage your return to work. Your employer’s workers compensation insurance agent will continue to manage your weekly payments and other types of compensation. Your employer is required to create a return to work program if you are:
- certified as having current work capacity
- currently receiving weekly compensation payments under the Workers Compensation Act 1987
We’ll work with your employer to plan what supports you need to start working again. This may be on reduced hours and suitable duties while you’re getting used to being back at work.
If you’re unable to return to your previous job or your employer is unable to provide suitable duties, we’ll work with you and a return to work specialist to do a ‘vocational assessment’. This identifies the types of jobs that interest you and the supports you need to get started in finding work.
Once you’re working, we’ll continue to provide the ‘reasonably necessary’ supports you need to maintain work or to continue to upgrade your work hours and skills.
Whilst you’re getting back to work, you may also continue to receive weekly or lump sum payments from your employer's workers compensation insurance agent while you are in the workers care program.
If your injuries don't meet the criteria for the Workers Care Program, you'll have your return to work needs managed by your employer’s workers compensation insurance agent.
icare return to work initiatives and incentives
icare has specialist return to work initiatives for people with a brain injury or spinal cord injury.
In-Voc provides vocational rehabilitation services to people with a spinal cord injury admitted to one of the specialist spinal cord injury rehabilitation units in NSW. Services are provided by the NSW Spinal Outreach Service of Royal Rehab.
In-Voc aims to support people with spinal cord injury by:
- Providing services that are specific to their needs to help plan their employment future
- Assisting them to investigate and identify meaningful work and study opportunities
- Assisting them to develop the skills necessary to return to work
- Working collaboratively with injured people and employers.
Vocational Intervention Program (VIP)
The Vocational Intervention Program (VIP) is an initiative of icare and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. The program is funded by the icare following a successful 2-year pilot program.
Returning to work following brain injury is an important step in rehabilitation. Successful employment is achieved through good partnerships between employers, people with a brain injury, their families, clinicians and vocational service providers.
VIP is designed to achieve better work outcomes for people with brain injury via
- establishing a network of vocational service providers
- supporting vocational providers to develop specialist skills and a network of practice
- closer working relationship between selected vocational providers, Brain Injury Rehabilitation units, Case Managers and clinicians.
Pathways to Employment:
- Fast Track which assists participants with a brain injury return to their pre-injury employer if they were working at the time of their injury.
- New Track assisting people to achieve new work following a brain injury, which may involve re-training, trying new work options or preparing for work.
A number of vocational providers have been appointed across NSW to meet different participant needs. Providers include Disability Employment Services, SIRA accredited vocational rehabilitation providers and providers who only work with LTC participants. View a list of the vocational providers.
A clinician, coordinator or participant can refer to any of the vocational providers on the list. It may be useful to contact potential vocational providers to determine if they will be a good match to the needs of the participant.
VIP services are funded on an individual fee for service basis and incorporated into existing treatment or rehabilitation services and processes.
School to Work Support Program
The School to Work Support Program is about supporting high school aged Lifetime Care participants throughout their high school years to help them start thinking about what work they may want to do when they finish school. The program gives children, parents and the school extra support around subject selection, work experience and determining career pathways.
Incentives for employers to get you back to work
icare has incentives for employers to offer employment to people with severe injuries.
- Lifetime Care pays for insurance for work placement experience.
- The Workers Care Program pays for insurance for work trials, work placement programs and offers workers compensation premium protection for employers.
- We can also provide training and education for employers about severe injury.