COMCARE AND SEACARE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT-MAXIMUM AGE FOR RECEIVING LOSS OF EARNINGS BENEFITS TO INCREASE BEYOND AGE 65
The Comcare and Seacare Legislation Amendment (Pension age and Catastrophic Injury) Bill 2017 has been introduced into Federal Parliament. (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017B00080/Explanatory%20Memorandum/Text).
Currently, injured workers covered by the Comcare or Seacare schemes lose the right to claim loss of earnings benefits at age 65 despite many Australians not being able to access the pension until age 67. The Bill amends the SRC Act and the Seafarers Act to ensure that injured employees in receipt of weekly compensation payments for incapacity can continue to receive those payments until they reach ‘pension age’ as defined in the Social Security Act 1991. The qualifying age for the age pension under the Social Security Act 1991 will begin to increase on 1 July 2017. By linking compensation for incapacity with the pension age rather than age 65, these amendments will ensure there is no gap between the cessation of compensation for incapacity and eligibility for receipt of the age pension.
The Bill also seeks to bring into line benefits for catastrophically injured workers who will require intensive care and support for the rest of their lives because of the severity of their injuries. Currently there is a cap on weekly compensation payable for household services and attendant care services for employees with a catastrophic injury. This cap will be removed. An employee with a catastrophic injury will also be eligible to receive compensation for household services from the day of the injury whereas under current legislative arrangements there is a 28-day waiting period.