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4.3.1 Interim Payment
Section 25 of the SRCA authorises an interim payment of compensation for permanent impairment where the impairment is 10% or more but a final assessment of the degree of impairment has not been made (e.g. because the degree of impairment is expected to increase, or where the impairment is not yet stable but a minimum level of impairment can be identified). Section 25 permits an injured member to access an amount of lump-sum compensation while waiting for his or her injuries and impairments to stabilise.
Section 25 states:
Interim payment of compensation
25(1) Where Comcare:
a)makes a determination that an employee is suffering from a permanent impairment as a result of an injury, and
b)is satisfied that the degree of the impairment is equal to or more than 10% but has not made a final determination of the degree of impairment,
Comcare shall, on the written request of the employee made at any time before the final determination is made, make an interim determination of the degree of permanent impairment under Section 24 and assess an amount of compensation payable to the employee.
25(2) The amount assessed by Comcare under Subsection (1) shall be an amount that is the same percentage of the maximum amount specified in Subsection 24(9) as the percentage determined by Comcare under Subsection (1) to be the degree of permanent impairment of the employee.
Note that section 147 states that for the purposes of applying the SRCA to defence-related claims, references to Comcare are read as if they are references to the MRCC.
The SRCA authorises more than one interim payment, although this should only be done in exceptional circumstances. Where the investigation is a reassessment of an interim payment, the delegate should ensure that deduction of the previous interim payment is made at the appropriate point later in the investigation.
An interim payment should be distinguished from:
- a final determination and payment of compensation under S24
- a reassessment where a client who has received a final payment of compensation under S24 seeks a further payment under S25(4) because their overall degree of permanent impairment has increased by 10% or more, and
- compensation for permanent impairment arising from a completely different injury or disease.