Comcare

What does SCOA do

SCOA helps former Commonwealth employees in receipt of compensation when they request assistance in dealing with Comcare to ensure that they are receiving their statutory entitlements under legislation. SCOA has on-going discussions with Comcare in the interests of achieving efficient processes and also of resolving individual cases brought to the attention of SCOA.

If you are a member of SCOA and in need of assistance, send an email to our “Comcare Officer” at comcare@scoa.asn.au and he will contact you further.

Comcare is the statutory body that is responsible for the administration of the Safety, Rehabilitation And Compensation Act 1988 (the Comcare Act) which provides the statutory framework for the safety, rehabilitation and compensation services to Australian Government employees (and employees of the ACT Government). Among other things the Comcare Act sets out the entitlements of Commonwealth employees who are injured, or suffer an accident, injury, illness or disease, in the course of their employment.

As an Association, we have an interest in ensuring that the overall policy framework governing workers compensation is right and operating effectively. SCOA appreciates Comcare’s consistent efforts to improve compensation administration over a period of years.

Issues

The issues encountered by former employees include the following:

(a) people who have been overpaid with resulting repayment and tax issues creating hardship for individuals;

(b) people who have been underpaid often because their salary and classification details were not kept up to date and supplied by agencies to Comcare;

(c) people whose payments have been stopped or reduced by Comcare without appropriate clarification.

The following are among the many issues that SCOA has taken up with Comcare and the responsible Minister in the interest of efficient and fair administration of statutory entitlements:

(a) 5% notional superannuation deduction;

(b) Former 10% deeming earning rate provision of the Comcare Act;

(c) administrative errors either by Comcare or Commonwealth agencies and the tax issues associated with such errors;

(d) the need to ensure that individuals receive their correct level of compensation before the application of the recently introduced wage cost indexation arrangements;

(e) the use of Comcare appointed medical advisers exclusively – especially in the context of case reviews;

(f) the absence of interest payments on underpaid amounts;

(g) the desirability of regular compliance auditing activity by the Australian National Audit Office regarding compensation administration.

Achievements

Due in part to these ongoing discussions, Comcare has changed the content and layout of its client advice to ensure greater clarity and to provide information in a more reader-friendly format. Comcare has also now set up a special dedicated team to handle the cases of those Comcare clients who were in receipt of benefits prior to the Comcare Act coming into force.

SCOA’s support of individuals has resulted in substantial back payments for some members and for other individuals, reinstatement of other entitlements and reversal of Comcare decisions to cease benefit payments.

Deeming thresholds

The deeming rate for lump sum payments for 2017/18 is 2.65%.  This is the 10 year Government Bond Rate. (Source https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/indicators)

It should be noted that SCOA does not initiate or undertake any legal action on behalf of its members.