We have identified an issue with the interpretation of legislation which may have led to some dust diseases weekly compensation award amounts not strictly aligning with legislative intent.
The establishment of these practises reflect long established interpretations of the 1942 and 1987 NSW Workers Compensation Acts. These payment practices appear to have been established over many years.
We have developed a proposed approach with PwC. An independent assurance was undertaken by Deloitte which has expertise in wage remediation matters and has deemed icare's approach as 'fair, timely and appropriate.' The remediation program is being completed by PwC.
icare will contact those affected directly to discuss their situation.
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below provides you with additional information.
Who is icare Dust Diseases Care (DDC)?
Insurance and Care NSW (icare) operates the NSW Dust Diseases Care (DDC) Scheme, which prior to September 2015 was operated by the NSW Workers Compensation Dust Diseases Board.
Why has the compensation payment been reassessed?
As part of our review process of legacy systems, icare proactively reviewed the payment procedures that were used to work out compensation payments for those with a dust disease.
This review process showed us there were differences in how the Workers' Compensation Acts of 1942 and 1987 were previously understood. As a result, this led to an underpayment of compensation.
What is the outcome of the review?
Any participant who was underpaid during the first 26 weeks of their compensation will receive a lump sum of the amount owing to them.
This remediation will correct payments that were made in error to Dust Diseases Care participants. We are working with wage remediation experts to fix this.
Why were awards wrong for such a long time?
These practises may have been embedded due to the ambiguity and complexity in determining benefit entitlements under the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942 and the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) as it was prior to 2012.
These practises date back many years. icare received legal advice clarifying this issue when preparing for an internal system change in 2020.
Does that affect my current compensation?
We will pay you a lump sum of compensation owed. Please be assured though, the current rate of compensation after 26 weeks has been assessed correctly under the legislation. Your current weekly compensation will therefore remain the same.
How has the compensation been calculated?
During the first 26 weeks of receiving compensation some people were underpaid. They received what is referred to as the statutory indexed rate when they were entitled to receive the current weekly wage rate. The current weekly wage rate is based on what they would have been earning if still employed in their d occupation where they were exposed to their dust-related injury.
Compensation has been calculated based on:
- The amount underpaid
- $1,000 additional payment from icare to cover any out-of-pocket expenses while obtaining advice.
We would like to assure you that the current rate of compensation has been assessed correctly under legislation.
Will this affect current or past Centrelink payments?
We have contacted Centrelink to inform them of this matter. We are working to understand potential impacts and will provide more detail on this page soon.
Will this affect how I am taxed?
The final tax outcome is only determined through the annual income tax return lodgement and assessment process. If and when withholding tax is deducted from a weekly compensation type payment, and more so for an arrears payment, that tax is not a final tax outcome.
icare acts in accordance with the Australian Tax Office withholding tax requirements for current and arrears weekly compensation type payments. icare does not give advice on taxation matters. You may consider seeking professional advice, such as from a registered tax agent.
If you require further assistance to lodge an income tax return you can visit the ATO website (for individuals).
When will this payment appear in my PAYG summary?
The 2021-22 annual PAYG Payment Summary will report weekly compensation type payments made during the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
Included on that PAYG Payment Summary, at label "Lump Sum Payments E", will be any arrears weekly compensation type payments covering accrual periods earlier than 1 July 2021.
What do I need to do?
- If you have recently changed your bank details please let us know, as icare will pay into your nominated bank account.
- If you are currently receiving Centrelink payments we recommend you inform Centrelink once you receive regular compensation payments, as this may impact any income support payments you receive.
- If you were previously receiving Centrelink payments for the same, or part of the period covered by this compensation payment, you will need to contact Centrelink. You can contact Centrelink by phoning 132 300.
- A specialist in wage remediation will be contacting you via a phone call to discuss this with you in the coming days.
- You'll be asked to provide nominated bank details so icare can arrange payment of money owed.
Can I dispute the outcome of the review?
If you don't agree with how we reviewed compensation payments in the first 26 weeks of entitlement, you can contact us to request a review of our decision. You can do this by contacting us by phone or email.
We may ask you for the reason why you disagree and for information that will help us review our decision. You can also file an appeal under section 8I of the Workers' Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942 in the District Court of NSW.
Your appeal must be lodged within 6 months of us informing you of the outcome of the review of compensation entitlements in the first 26 weeks of entitlement.
Who else can I talk to about review of compensation entitlements?
You can talk to an independent and impartial NSW government agency with responsibility for handling complaints with any concerns that you may have about how we have reviewed compensation payments in the first 26 weeks of entitlements.
Does this issue affect everyone in the scheme?
No. This issue does not affect everyone in the scheme and Dust Diseases Care participants do not need to do anything. icare will contact those affected directly to discuss your situation.
How many Dust Diseases Care participants have been impacted?
icare has identified about 1500 files that may have been miscalculated, including 800 deceased estates.
How will icare fix this issue?
We have developed a proposed approach with PwC. An independent assurance was undertaken by Deloitte which has expertise in wage remediation matters and has deemed icare's approach as 'fair, timely and appropriate'.
The remediation program is being completed by PwC.
Will Dust Diseases Care participants continue to receive payments?
Yes. There are no changes to existing arrangements at this time.
Do Dust Diseases Care participants need to do anything?
No. There are no changes to existing arrangements at this time. icare will contact those identified as impacted over the coming months to discuss any changes before they are made.
Our focus remains supporting participants with a dust disease and their families.
Will icare be asking for any overpayments to be paid back?
Have any of the incorrect entitlements or rates been challenged?
While no participant has exercised their right to appeal their entitlements, icare will be establishing a remediation program.
Who will pay for the remediation?
icare Dust Diseases Care scheme will be paying for the remediation.
We are here to help
If you have any questions, you can:
- Call us on 02 6714 8022 or
- E-mail us on DDCPaymentReview@icare.nsw.gov.au or
- Visit this webpage for the latest information.
Please let us know if you would like to nominate a family member, support person or language interpretation service to speak with us on your behalf.