Workers over the age of 65 are entitled to workers’ compensation, reminds Safe Work Australia

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Employees over the age of 65 are covered by workers’ compensation as clarified by Safe Work Australia.

Director of Work Health and Safety and Compensation Policy, Julie Hill acknowledged the misconception that workers aged over 65 are not entitled to workers’ compensation.

“There is a common misconception that workers aged over 65 cannot access workers’ compensation provisions,” said Ms Hill.

“Medical and rehabilitation costs and lump sum payments for permanent impairment are paid irrespective of age under all Australian workers’ compensation schemes.”

As explained by Safe Work Australia, workers’ compensation schemes can be ‘long tail’ or ‘short tail’. Long tail schemes pay weekly incapacity payments for the duration of the injured worker’s incapacity. These payments are generally subject to regular reviews of work capacity. The Commonwealth, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory schemes are considered ‘long tail’ schemes.

‘Short tail’ schemes, on the other hand, impose a benefit period or amount restriction but does not mean that older workers aren’t entitled to compensation.

“While weekly incapacity benefits for injured workers cease once they reach retirement age, workers who are injured close to or after retirement age can receive weekly incapacity benefits for a period of between one year and two and a half years,” said Ms Hill.

‘Short tail’ schemes implemented in Queensland and Western Australia do not have an age cut-off. Their schemes limit weekly incapacity payments for all injured workers by other means.

“It is critical that the misconception that employees are not covered by workers’ compensation after the age of 65 is corrected,” said Ms Hill.

“This belief may deter older workers from continuing at work, or deter employers from employing older workers.”

A Workers Compensation Fact Sheet can be accessed for more information.

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