Temporary absence from Australia
If you are leaving Australia temporarily, you are entitled to a total of 8 weeks of weekly payments, unless your WorkCover insurer agrees there are special circumstances for an extension of this. This requires the usual provision of WorkCover Certificates of Capacity from your treating medical practitioner.
If you are leaving Australia for 28 days or less, you must go to your treating practitioner before you leave and get a Certificate of Capacity for the up to 28 day period you will be overseas.
If your trip overseas will be longer than the initial 28 day period, in addition to the above certificate, you must get a further Certificate of Capacity from an overseas doctor for up to a further 28 days. You are unable to obtain this certificate via a telehealth consult to Australia; it must be obtained from an overseas doctor.
Unless the WorkCover insurer believes that you have special circumstances, you are unable to receive payments whilst overseas past this point. It is always best to speak to your insurer before you leave the country so you can understand what they require of you prior to your departure.
Such special circumstances are assessed on a case by case basis, and it would be a good idea to seek legal advice if this applies to you, prior to your departure.
Medical and Like expenses
If you wish to get treatment for your injuries whilst overseas you should seek the approval of the insurer prior to your departure to pay the reasonable expenses. It is likely they will apply the relevant rates payable in Victoria only, though there may be room for negotiation on this point.
Ceasing to reside in Australia
If you cease to reside in Australia, the test to continue to receive weekly payments is different.
Your entitlement to weekly payments will cease unless you satisfy the WorkCover insurer prior to your departure that you have no current work capacity which is likely to continue indefinitely.
This test can be difficult to satisfy. You must show that you cannot work at all, and that it is uncertain as to when in the future you might be able to work.
It is encouraged that if you have plans to cease residing in Australia and believe that you should remain on weekly payments, you should contact your WorkCover insurer at least 6 weeks prior to leaving Australia.
Medical and Like Expenses
If you notify the insurer of your intention to cease residing in Australia prior to leaving, they may send you to an independent doctor to assess your entitlement to medical and like expenses, on an ongoing basis.
Your treaters should always seek approval from the WorkCover insurer for the reasonable costs of any expenses you plan on incurring, whether they are in Australia or overseas. A decision can then be made as to the reasonableness of funding the cost of the treatment.
As you will note from this article, it is possible to leave the country on and remain in receipt of WorkCover entitlements. However, you must be careful to follow the steps above to ensure you continue to receive your entitlements.