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20.4.1 Formal written application not required after acceptance of liability


Although Subsection 54 of the SRCA provides that 'a claim for compensation' is not payable unless the client applies in writing on the form approved by Comcare, 'a claim' in the Ss54 context means primarily a claim for liability. Following a determination conceding liability, access to payments does not require a further Comcare-approved form or indeed, any form. This was confirmed by the Federal Court in Commonwealth v Ford (1986) in which the Court found:

1.The Act did not require that a claim for compensation specify the particular type of compensation sought by the employee, it is the obligation of the Commissioner to decide the compensation to which the employee is entitled.

2.Once a claim has been made, the Commissioner should make further determinations without a fresh claim once it becomes clear that additional benefits are payable.

(Note: Though a decision on a 1971 Act case, Ford applies equally to the SRCA).

Therefore, where initial liability for the injury has already been conceded and incapacity occurs at a later date, claims for weekly payments do not need to be made on any particular form. The actual request for incapacity payments may in fact be made in any format, i.e. in writing, by e-mail or even verbally (e.g. by telephone).