Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1235 20
29/01/2021
A. Patterson
  • Supplements, transitional provisions (permanent) (additional amount)

The worker suffered neck and low back injuries in June 1984, for which he was granted pensions, now totalling 35%. In Decision No. 1436/14, the Tribunal found that the worker was not entitled to a further reassessment of the pensions.

The worker now appealed denial of another reassessment of the pensions and review of the supplementary benefits additional amount under s. 147(14) of the pre-1997 Act.
On the evidence, any deterioration since the last denial of reassessment was not related to the worker's compensable condition. The worker was not entitled to reassessment of the pensions.
The Board granted s. 147(4) supplementary benefits as of September 1991. At the 60-month review in November 1996, the Board granted the additional amount under s. 147(14). However, in 1997, the s. 147(4) supplementary benefit was increased such that the sum of that benefit and the worker's pension exceeded the threshold of 75% of the pre-injury average earnings, and so the s. 147(14) additional amount was reduced to zero.
The Vice-Chair agreed with the worker that the worker remained, at all relevant times, entitled to the additional amount under s. 147(14), even though the amount of that entitlement might be zero. The worker's entitlement to the s. 147(4) supplement was never reversed, and was only discontinued due to receipt of old age security benefits, which is an exception noted in Board policy.
The Vice-Chair also agreed that reviews of the s. 147(14) additional amount are not contingent on the same conditions as those applicable to reviews of entitlement to the s. 147(4) supplement. Although they will often performed at the same time, Board policy is clear that reviews of the additional amount can be performed at any time, unlike s. 147(4) supplement reviews, which can only be performed at the 24-month and 60-month reviews, or if there is a change in the permanent disability award.
Decision No. 1463/10 adopted a similar analysis of s. 147(14) review. Although that decision applied a prior version of the Board policy, the reasoning was also applicable under the present version. The Vice-Chair found that analysis persuasive.
Accordingly, the worker was entitled to review of the s. 147(14) additional amount, as of 2004 when he stopped working.
The appeal was allowed in part.