In a personal injury claim, whether it is in relation to a workers’ compensation claim, motor vehicle accident claim, or a public liability claim (including historical abuse and medical negligence claims), a plaintiff may be required to pay a statutory and/or contractual refund out of their settlement monies to a number of government agencies. 

In other words, refunds are amounts taken out of a plaintiff’s personal injury compensation to pay back various entities that provided financial assistance to the plaintiff after the plaintiff’s sustained their injury. 

This article will provide an overview of the different refunds that can apply to a plaintiff’s personal injury claim: 

Refund to Medicare Australia 

Medicare Australia is a national insurance scheme that provides free or subsidised healthcare for Australians.  

If Medicare Australia have provided benefits to a plaintiff in relation to medical expenses for the treatment of injuries sustained by the plaintiff from the incident or accident in which they are making a personal injury claim, the full amount of these benefits previously provided will be refundable to Medicare Australia from a plaintiff’s settlement.   

Refund to Private Health Insurance 

If a plaintiff has private health insurance, and the plaintiff’s private health insurer (common examples include Medibank, Bupa, NIB, OSHC) has provided benefits for medical expenses or rehabilitation in relation to the plaintiff’s incident or accident related injuries, a full refund of the benefits paid will be owing in accordance with the plaintiff’s private health insurer’s specific insurance policy from a plaintiff’s settlement.   

Refund to Centrelink Australia 

Centrelink Australia provides social security payments and services to Australians. 

If Centrelink Australia have paid any benefits to the plaintiff during the course of the plaintiff’s claim, a full or partial refund may be owing from a plaintiff’s settlement. The types of benefits that may be refundable include, but are not limited to,: 

  • Advance Pharmaceutical Allowance; 
  • Age Pension; 
  • Austudy; 
  • Carer Payment,; 
  • Community Development Employment Project Supplement; 
  • Disability Support Pension; 
  • Education Entry Payment; 
  • Fares Allowance; 
  • Newstart Allowance; 
  • Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single); 
  • Partner Allowance; 
  • Pensioner Education Supplement; 
  • Rehabilitation Allowance; 
  • Sickness Allowance; 
  • Special Benefit; 
  • Widow Allowance; and
  • Youth Allowance. 

In addition to the refund, depending on the gross amount of the settlement, a plaintiff’s entitlement to future Centrelink Benefits may be limited for a particular period (this is referred to as the preclusion period).  

Centrelink Australia has an online refund estimator which can be accessed through the following link:  

https://www.centrelink.gov.au/custsite_pfe/pymtfinderest/compensationEstimatorPage.jsf?wec-appid=pymtfinderest&wec-locale=en_US#stay  

Refund to WorkCover 

If WorkCover Queensland have provided benefits to a plaintiff in relation to the subject incident or accident, such as payment of lost wages or funding or rehabilitation, a full or partial refund may be owing to WorkCover Queensland from a plaintiff’s settlement.  

Refund to NDIA/NDIS 

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency. The NDIA implements the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which provides a wide range of support for Australians with a significant and permanent disability.  

If the NDIA/NDIS has funded support for a plaintiff in relation to the subject incident or accident, a full or partial refund may be owing to NDIA/NDIS from a plaintiff’s settlement.  

Emily Wright and our team are specialist personal injury lawyers who can assist you with your claim on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. If you would like advice in relation to a personal injury claim, including a medical negligence claim, please reach out to Emily Wright and Littles Lawyers today. 

Further blogs in relation to personal injury claims written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website. 

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