TAC dispute applications
If that TAC makes a decision that you do not agree with primarily in relation to your no fault benefits, you can lodge what’s called a TAC dispute Application (provided you have engaged a lawyer to assist you).
If you’re not sure what you’re no fault benefits are, it’s the payment of medical and like expenses, income payments, and an impairment benefit lump sum.
They are called no fault benefits because, as the name suggests, you do not need to show that another party was at fault in order to claim these benefits.
So what exactly is a TAC dispute application?
A dispute application is a form that outlines the decision that you disagree with and the reasons why you disagree with the decision.
It also includes your contact information and TAC claim number.
A dispute application form initiates the organising of a dispute conference.
And on the bottom of the form, there are sections where you are to list when you want the conference to be conducted. There are different sections for you to enter alternative dates.
This dispute application form can be lodged online using the TAC’s online claim lodgement form or alternatively a paper copy can be completed and sent to the TAC.
Who completes a dispute application?
Your lawyer is responsible for completing the dispute application and submitting it to the TAC.
For this reason, if there is a decision The TAC has made that you disagree with and want to contest by way of a dispute application, you should obtain legal representation.
What happens once the dispute application has been lodged?
The TAC and their representative will get in touch with your lawyer and acknowledge receipt of the dispute application.
They will then work with your lawyer to organise a date for a conference to be held.
In most cases, the conference will be held via video link.
Your lawyer should speak to you in the days or weeks leading up to the conference and let you know whether they would like you to attend their office during the conference or whether you just need to be available by phone.
What happens at the dispute resolution conference?
The decision will be discussed and your lawyer will put forward reasons as to why the decision should be altered.
In most cases you will not be required to be on video and you will not be required to talk to the TAC (or their representatives).
The TAC will put forward their position.
There might be some backwards and forwards discussions which may involve offers and counter offers being made.
Your lawyer should seek your instructions to put offers and reject offers on your behalf.
Sometimes matters will resolve during the conference as an agreement will be reached between the parties.
Sometimes, an agreement will not be reached however discussions can continue in the days, weeks and sometimes months after a conference and matters can resolve by way of these further discussions.
If the matter does not resolve and your lawyer believes there is merit in proceeding further and you’re happy to do so, then the next step you can take is to pursue the matter to VCAT.
What happens if the matter resolves at conference?
The original decision will then be altered and you will receive correspondence from the TAC confirming this.
It is important to note that if you succeed with your application, that is, the TAC agrees to change their original decision, then the TAC will pay some costs to your lawyer.
Depending upon the nature of the dispute and the amount of work involved required by your lawyer, you may not receive a further bill from your lawyer for work done.
In some instances however you may and for this reason you should discuss this with your lawyer before commencing the dispute application.
If the issue in dispute related to the payment of income benefits, for example, that your payments were terminated or that you believed you were entitled to a greater amount, then you are entitled to be back paid any monies owed to you by way of a lump sum.
What types of decisions commonly go to dispute applications and conferences?
Here are some of the typical issues that may proceed to dispute conferences:
- Calculation of income support payment amounts
- Termination of income benefits
- Non-payment of medication or a particular type of medication
- Termination of entitlement to a particular type of medical treatment or all medical and like expenses
- Impairment benefit Issues such as rejection of liability for an injury or a dispute regarding the appropriate whole person impairment rating.
A dispute application or informal review?
If the TAC makes a decision that you disagree with and if you want to contest that decision you can either pursue a dispute application (which you need a lawyer for) or ask the TAC to perform an informal review (which you do not need a lawyer for and you can do yourself).
The benefit of a dispute application is that you will have a lawyer assisting you, which will help ensure you get the best result possible in relation to the dispute.
However, there is nothing stopping you from pursuing an internal review first and then if the matter doesn’t resolve favourably, you can pursue a dispute application.
If the TAC makes a decision that you disagree with in relation to one of your no fault entitlements, then one avenue to contest that decision is to pursue a dispute application.
This is something that you need to do with the assistance of a lawyer.
A dispute application initiates a dispute resolution conference which generally occurs over video conference with your lawyer and representatives from the TAC or their representatives.
If the matter doesn’t resolve following the conference further discussions can take place between the parties which can result in the matter resolving.
If not, if you still wish to pursue the matter and if there is merit in doing so according to your lawyer, you can proceed to VCAT.