TAC income support payments
If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to income support payments from the TAC.
You can be eligible for either loss of earnings or loss of earning capacity benefits
What are TAC payments?
If after an accident your ability to work has been impacted, the TAC may pay you income payments.
How long does the TAC pay income support payments for?
In most instances, the TAC can pay a person income payments after an accident for up to three years.
In limited instances, the TAC can pay income payments beyond three years.
Income support payments during the first 18 months after the accident
A person that is injured in a motor vehicle accident can claim loss of earnings benefits for the first 18 months after a motor vehicle accident.
The first five days after the motor vehicle accident (or after the injury first manifests itself), whichever occurs last, is excluded.
However, the TAC has a discretion to ignore the first five days exclusion rule if it thinks that enforcing the rule would result in financial hardship to a person.
The maximum weekly loss of earnings which can be claimed currently (2021) is $1430 per week.
If you suffer a total loss of earnings as a result of an injury sustained in the motor vehicle accident, the TAC is liable to pay 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings.
If you suffer a partial loss of earnings as a result of an injury suffered in motor vehicle accident, the TAC will pay 85% of the difference between your current weekly earnings and your pre-accident weekly earnings.
The amount of compensation paid varies depending upon whether someone has a dependent or not.
If you return to work, you are required to notify the TAC in writing, as soon as possible.
The TAC will review the entitlement to the payment of loss of earning benefits nearing the 18 month mark after the motor vehicle accident.
In some cases, the TAC may not do a review within the 18 month period and if they fail to do so then you are entitled to payments until the review of income benefits has been completed.
Income support payments after 18 months post accident
After the first 18 months, income benefits (called loss of earning benefits) may cease depending upon a persons capacity for work.
After the first 18 months, loss of earning capacity benefits may be payable.
If you have a total loss of earning capacity after 18 months following the motor vehicle accident, You are entitled to weekly payments of 80% of your pre-injury average earning capacity.
The amount of compensation payable for loss of earning capacity benefits in this instance will vary depending upon whether you have dependants or not.
If you have a partial incapacity after 18 months following an accident, you are entitled to income payments in the form of loss of earning capacity benefits of 85% of the difference between your pre-injury earning capacity and your post injury earning capacity.
The amount of income benefit payable varies depending upon whether you have dependants or not.
TAC will pay loss of earning capacity benefits for up to 3 years post accident or three years after the injury first manifests itself.
The exception to this is if you are assessed as having a 50% or greater whole person impairment rating (relating to your impairment claim).
Loss of earning capacity benefits will also cease if you reach the age of 65 or the normal retirement age, which ever occurs later.
However if the injury occurs within the 12 month period before this, you are entitled to benefits for a total of 12 months.
When will I not be entitled to income support payments from the TAC?
- If you are convicted of certain offences.
- If you were an unlicensed driver at the time of the accident.
- If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident that involves an unregistered uninsured vehicle on private land.
- If you are the owner of the vehicle and your driver or passenger in the vehicle and the vehicle was not registered at the time (if you are injured and you’re not the owner of vehicle, you are entitled to income benefits).
If a person dies in a motor vehicle accident, the surviving partner is entitled to pursue a dependency claim.
The amount payable is 80% of the deceased persons earnings.
The payments will continue for a maximum period of five years following the death or after the surviving partner reaches the pension age, whichever comes first.
Payments in respect of a dependent child will cease when the child ceases to be dependent.
Payments will also cease if there is a common law damages claim in relation to the death.
What do I do if I’m unhappy with the calculation of my income payments from the TAC?
The first option is to request that the TAC perform an internal review.
This involves someone from the TAC reviewing the calculation of your income payments.
You can request the TAC perform an internal review by emailing them or calling them.
The second option is to pursue what’s called a dispute application.
This is usually done when you have a solicitor representing you.
The solicitor will lodge an application form on the TAC which will initiate a conference.
The matter will then be negotiated between the TAC (or their representatives) and your solicitor.
The final option is to pursue the matter to VCAT. This is a hearing in the tribunal where a member will make a decision on the issue. You matter may settle before reaching a hearing however.
Will income support payments impact on my other TAC entitlements?
No, income payments will not impact on any other TAC benefits.
That is, they will have no impact on your entitlement to claim payment for medical like services, an impairment benefit lump sum or a common law lump sum.
Do other TAC entitlements impact my income support payments?
In relation to the income payments that are paid in the 18 months immediately after an accident (or after an injury first manifests itself after an accident), no other TAC entitlements will impact payment.
In relation to the income payments that are paid after 18 months following an accident (or after an injury first manifested itself after an accident) if you receive a settlement of common law damages which includes a loss of earnings component (sometimes referred to as pecuniary loss) the TAC does not have to pay you loss of earning capacity benefits.
What information will I need to provide to the TAC when claiming income support payments?
You’ll need to provide income details – this includes payslips, tax returns, PAYG summaries etc.
You may also need to provide a contract of employment and or a statement of offer of employment from your employer.
If you do not have the documents referred to above, then things such as bank statements showing regular income from an employer may be adequate.
Also you may be able to provide employment rosters or timesheets or statements from your employer accompanied by a statutory declaration form.
You may also need to have a letter from your employer.
Finally, and most importantly, you’ll need to have TAC Certificates of capacity.
What do I need to know about certificates of capacity?
These are special certificates that provide comment on the diagnosis of any injuries that you have suffered in the motor vehicle accident.
The certificates also provide comment on your capacity for work. They will say one of three things;
- That you have a capacity for full duties
- If you have a capacity for modified duties (and what those modifications and or restriction should be)
- That you have no capacity at all for any work.
The certificate will sometimes provide some information on your doctor’s treatment plan.
In order to get payments you need to ensure that you have unbroken periods of certificates.
A certificate of capacity may be issued by one of the following medical practitioners;
- GP or other medical practitioner
- Occupational therapist
The TAC will only accept a photocopied certificate of capacity where you confirm that the original certificate was provided to someone else, such as your employer.
You are able to fax your certificate to the TAC if you want.
You can also email your certificates for the TAC.
What happens while the TAC are calculating my income payments?
You can request that the TAC make an interim payment to you.
This will be based on the information you provide to the TAC initially.
They’ll pay for a period of two weeks.
If your income payments are assessed at a higher rate than the interim payments made to you (which is likely), you’re entitled to be paid the difference.
How often will I receive income payments?
The TAC, generally speaking, will make payments to you every fortnight.
Are my income payments subject to tax?
Yes, tax gets taken out of any income support payments from the TAC.
This is because they are classed as income.
You should also be aware that if you have to pay family maintenance or have a HELP debt, payments may be deducted from your income payments.
Note: the dollar amounts listed are for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. These figures get updated every financial year.