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Whole Person Impairment Calculator and Claims Guide

If you have been injured at work and have sustained a permanent injury that has stabilised, you may be entitled to lump sum compensation claim for permanent impairment.

In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about making a claim, explain the whole person impairment table and calculator, and answer frequently asked questions.

Key takeaways:

  • Whole Person Impairment (WPI) is the % applied to injury in relation to the “whole body”
  • A physical Injury needs to achieve a threshold of greater than 10% WPI
  • A psychological Injury needs to achieve a threshold of 15% WPI

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Calculate Amount Payable

1. Applies to claims for lump sum compensation - s.66 NSW Workers Compensation Act.

2. For back injuries only (after 2006) - an additional 5% may apply to that part of the impairment only.

What is permanent impairment? What is whole person impairment?

Permanent Impairment is the term used to describe the lasting effect that an injury has on your daily functioning.  This type of injury can be physical and/or psychological.

Whole Person Impairment (WPI) is the measurement used to assess your permanent impairment. It is expressed as a percentage of how much permanent damage the injury has caused to your body.

Making a WPI claim is extremely important. In NSW, without a WPI assessment, an injured worker is only entitled to a maximum of five years’ worth of weekly payments and medical expenses. For example, if your WPI is assessed at 21% or above, you are entitled to payment of weekly payments until one year after your statutory retirement age and payment of medical expenses for life.

How is whole person impairment calculated in NSW?

WPI is calculated in NSW using a percentage system to try and scale injuries according to their seriousness. The rating determines the WPI payout amount, which is a lump sum payment that compensates you for the effect the work injury has had on your life. If your WPI is 11% or higher (15% or higher for a psychological injury), you are entitled to a lump sum amount of compensation. This lump sum claim is in addition to any weekly payments and medical expenses that you are already entitled to.

What is a whole person impairment scale/rating?

Whole Personal Impairment is the method used to assess the permanent impairment. The medical assessor will clinically assess an injured worker to determine the % whole personal impairment that will be applied due to the injury.

Injury Impairment rating
Fusion or Disc Surgery to the Lumbar Spine 21 – 25%
Fusion or Disc Surgery to the Cervical Sine 25 – 28%
Shoulder – loss of range of motion 25 – 8%
Hip Replacement 15 – 30%

 

Whole Person Impairment Table NSW 2022-23

Impairment rating range Whole person impairment payout range
11% to 21% $22,480 to $51,880
22% to 31% $54,820 to $83,040
32% and over $87,880 up to $665,260

What is the process for making a whole person impairment claim?

In order to make a WPI claim in NSW there are several steps that you must follow. Your lawyer will help you along the way, and that is why it is extremely important to get in touch with one if you think you may have a claim. Outlined below are the steps that you will take on your way to a lump sum payment for whole person impairment.

How do I qualify for a whole person impairment claim?

To qualify for a WPI claim, you’ll need a medical assessment from a SIRA certified doctor for two reasons:

  • To assess whether your compensable injury has reached a level of maximum medical improvement. A compensable injury refers to an injury that arises out of or in the course of your employment. Maximum medical improvement means that your injury is unlikely to change within the next 12 months. This usually does not occur until at least one year following the injury once all surgery has been completed, however, each case is different.
  • To assess whether your injury has resulted in a permanent impairment of at least 10%.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to qualify for a whole person impairment claim:

  1. The first, and most crucial, step is to contact a lawyer who is an accredited specialist. All lawyers at Garling and Co are accredited specialists.
  2. Once your injury has stabilised and reached maximum medical improvement, your lawyer will refer you to a medico-legal doctor who assesses your level of permanent impairment. If your injury is not at this stage yet, be patient. The doctor will not be able to assess you until your injury will not heal any further. Learn more about how doctors assess the level of WPI for spinal injury claims here.
  3. The medico-legal doctor will assess your level of impairment based on the AMA permanent impairment assessment guidelines. They will assess whether your condition is stable and if your impairment is permanent.
  4. If the doctor assesses you as above 11% for a physical injury, and 15% for a psychological injury, notify your lawyer. They will assist you in submitting a claim to your workers compensation insurer.

 

How do I make the claim for whole person impairment?

  1. Get in touch with an accredited specialist lawyer to assist you with making the claim. Your level of permanent impairment must have been assessed to be higher than 11% for a physical injury, or 15% for a psychological injury. Your lawyer will assist you with making the claim to your workers compensation insurer.
  2. Your insurer will review your claim and decide whether to accept or reject it. If your claim is accepted, you will be entitled to a lump sum payment based on your level of WPI. If your claim is rejected do not get disheartened. It is very common that WPI claims are rejected by insurers. An accredited specialist is used to disputing and appealing these decisions, and at Garling and Co, all of our lawyers are accredited specialists.
  3. If your claim is rejected, the Personal Injury Commission will appoint an Independent doctor who will assess your level of WPI.

Some additional tips to keep in mind when making a WPI claim. 

  • You can only make one claim for permanent impairment.
  • You must have a WPI of 15% or more to make a negligence claim.
  • You must have a WPI of 21% or more to receive weekly payments for longer than 5 years.

Garling & Co Lawyers’ top tips for making a whole person impairment claim

Here are some tips that may be useful when making a claim for WPI.

  • Keep good records of your injury. This includes medical records, rehabilitation records and any other documentation that supports your claim.
  • Be persistent. The claim process is lengthy. It often takes multiple years to conclude. Do not get discouraged if you feel as though your claim is not being completed.
  • Do not give up. If your claim is denied and you have a good case, you should appeal the decision.
  • Stay patient. Some injuries can take years to stabilise. Most cases you will have to wait at least a year before your injuries can be assessed, as they have not reached maximum medical improvement.

FAQ

What are the differences between the lump sum payment and weekly payments?

A lump sum payment is the amount of money you can claim for a percentage of whole person impairment. Weekly payments are payments that you receive from your insurer, usually from the date of your injury to cover any wage loss. Such payments are made fortnightly into your bank account.

Does the whole person impairment assessment affect any claim for negligence against my employer?

Yes, you will need to reach a WPI of at least 15% to make a work injury damages claim for negligence against your employer.

Can psychologists assess whole person impairment?

No, only SIRA approved psychiatrists can assess permanent impairment for WPI claims.

Thank you for reading our article. We hope it helped your understanding of Whole Person Impairment. Should you have any further questions, please contact our office at (02) 8329 9500 or complete a free case assessment here.

Garling & Co Lawyers

Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law approved by New South Wales Law Society. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Matthew is also a member of...
Kimberly B.
23:14 14 Feb 24
Mathew is very knowledgable and has been of great assistance to me. All the staff are friendly and helpful. I'm so happy I found this firm.Thank you Mathew and team for your great work in my case.... I am 100% happy with what you achieved for me.read more
Julie M.
10:16 16 Jan 24
My last stage of Workers compensation claim was managed by Emma Perkins, Natasha Stojanovic, Rebecca Dunshea and Kelli Robinson at Garling and Co. Lawyers who went the extra mile with their service... from the beginning to the end of 3 years of my case. I have become very anxious with almost everything after a workplace injury and a lot of times I probably ask more questions than I need to, but Emma Perkins always finds clear answers to my questions in a short time and explains to me patiently even using her mealtime or between her meeting and make me feel that I have been very well take care and supported. I am so grateful and extremely satisfied. The excellent service, attitude, and culture of Metthew Garling and his team are second to none with a very high success rate. If you going to battle with your workplace injury for a short or long period, you are better off with Garling and Co. lawyers who are able back you up every step of the way. I strongly recommend it to anybody who needs their service like me. Julieread more
patrick P.
01:46 19 Dec 23
I like to say that I had a very wonderful experience,And the support, and also understanding with all my requests,I could not ask for a better team!Thank you Emma and also her assistant Rebecca... thank youread more
Kazi H.
13:38 13 Dec 23
Work cover fund is GOVT’S money but insurer think that it is from their 14th generation. So only they can have it. Not only that, people from the work, IME doctor from insurer, back to work... coordinator from work, Rehab provider from any side push the worker as hard as possible that the worker (doesn’t matter how the workers mental or psychical condition) either go back to his pre injury duty or leave the job.More over on that very bumpy any difficult journey some of them only treat the worker as a MONEY MAKING MECHINE .in some point worker feels like, no rooms to breath. On that moment need someone to support legally, someone to care, someone to relive.On my case I believe that, somehow, I manage to make my God happy. That’s why God sends me to Matthew Gerling and his team Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, and all of GARLING & co Lawyers.I am not good enough in English, can’t express my gratitude.Matthew, Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, please accept my appreciation and pass it to others.read more
Carol L.
01:32 29 Nov 23
Professional, understanding and friendly
Sean G.
23:21 14 Nov 23
Matthew Garling and everyone I spoke to at Garling and Co were kind, caring and compassionate. They were sensitive to my psychological condition and were patient in explaining everything to me, so... that I clearly understood the legal process. I am exceptionally grateful for the settlement outcome that Garling and Co obtained for me. Many thanks.read more
waqas A.
08:33 13 Nov 23
Great Experience with Garling & Co. Matthew explained everything in detail during the first appointment. Allison, Nathan, Rebecca and the staff have been extremely helpful. Thank You to the team and... lawyers at Garling & Co. for making the long process easy for me and getting an excellent outcome for my compensation claim.I would highly recommend Garling & Co. Lawyersread more
Saskia L.
21:42 08 Nov 23
The world of workers compensation is long, hard and confusing, but Emma and Rebecca at Garling & Co always treated my case with kindness, respect and understanding. No question was ever silly and... they always had time to make sure I knew what would happen next and how we could best prepare. I am so thankful for their expertise and could not have chosen anyone better to represent me.read more
Antonio P.
08:46 06 Nov 23
Thank you Matthew and his team for taking care of my case couldn’t ask for a better results and couldn’t have better team to do that thank you
Julie M.
00:40 06 Nov 23
Garlic & Co Lawyers have been wonderful, supporting me through some difficult times. With their assistance, positive outcomes were achieved. Many thanks to the Team.Julie
READ ALL TESTIMONIALS

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Kimberly B.
23:14 14 Feb 24
Mathew is very knowledgable and has been of great assistance to me. All the staff are friendly and helpful. I'm so happy I found this firm.Thank you Mathew and team for your great work in my case.... I am 100% happy with what you achieved for me.read more
Julie M.
10:16 16 Jan 24
My last stage of Workers compensation claim was managed by Emma Perkins, Natasha Stojanovic, Rebecca Dunshea and Kelli Robinson at Garling and Co. Lawyers who went the extra mile with their service... from the beginning to the end of 3 years of my case. I have become very anxious with almost everything after a workplace injury and a lot of times I probably ask more questions than I need to, but Emma Perkins always finds clear answers to my questions in a short time and explains to me patiently even using her mealtime or between her meeting and make me feel that I have been very well take care and supported. I am so grateful and extremely satisfied. The excellent service, attitude, and culture of Metthew Garling and his team are second to none with a very high success rate. If you going to battle with your workplace injury for a short or long period, you are better off with Garling and Co. lawyers who are able back you up every step of the way. I strongly recommend it to anybody who needs their service like me. Julieread more
patrick P.
01:46 19 Dec 23
I like to say that I had a very wonderful experience,And the support, and also understanding with all my requests,I could not ask for a better team!Thank you Emma and also her assistant Rebecca... thank youread more
Kazi H.
13:38 13 Dec 23
Work cover fund is GOVT’S money but insurer think that it is from their 14th generation. So only they can have it. Not only that, people from the work, IME doctor from insurer, back to work... coordinator from work, Rehab provider from any side push the worker as hard as possible that the worker (doesn’t matter how the workers mental or psychical condition) either go back to his pre injury duty or leave the job.More over on that very bumpy any difficult journey some of them only treat the worker as a MONEY MAKING MECHINE .in some point worker feels like, no rooms to breath. On that moment need someone to support legally, someone to care, someone to relive.On my case I believe that, somehow, I manage to make my God happy. That’s why God sends me to Matthew Gerling and his team Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, and all of GARLING & co Lawyers.I am not good enough in English, can’t express my gratitude.Matthew, Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, please accept my appreciation and pass it to others.read more
Carol L.
01:32 29 Nov 23
Professional, understanding and friendly
Sean G.
23:21 14 Nov 23
Matthew Garling and everyone I spoke to at Garling and Co were kind, caring and compassionate. They were sensitive to my psychological condition and were patient in explaining everything to me, so... that I clearly understood the legal process. I am exceptionally grateful for the settlement outcome that Garling and Co obtained for me. Many thanks.read more
waqas A.
08:33 13 Nov 23
Great Experience with Garling & Co. Matthew explained everything in detail during the first appointment. Allison, Nathan, Rebecca and the staff have been extremely helpful. Thank You to the team and... lawyers at Garling & Co. for making the long process easy for me and getting an excellent outcome for my compensation claim.I would highly recommend Garling & Co. Lawyersread more
Saskia L.
21:42 08 Nov 23
The world of workers compensation is long, hard and confusing, but Emma and Rebecca at Garling & Co always treated my case with kindness, respect and understanding. No question was ever silly and... they always had time to make sure I knew what would happen next and how we could best prepare. I am so thankful for their expertise and could not have chosen anyone better to represent me.read more
Antonio P.
08:46 06 Nov 23
Thank you Matthew and his team for taking care of my case couldn’t ask for a better results and couldn’t have better team to do that thank you
Julie M.
00:40 06 Nov 23
Garlic & Co Lawyers have been wonderful, supporting me through some difficult times. With their assistance, positive outcomes were achieved. Many thanks to the Team.Julie
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
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