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Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB)

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This policy applies for losses on and after 28 November 2007

Policy

The TAC will pay the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB) to a client:

  • who has returned to work after suffering a "severe injury" and is 50% or more impaired, and
  • who subsequently is terminated from his/her job, or can no longer sustain his/her self-employment after returning to work.

Note, this policy applies to a client who otherwise would be entitled to LOEC payments because the impairment is 50% or more but whose job is terminated or can not be sustained if the person is self-employed, for non-transport accident related reasons.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.54A(1)

Definitions

In this policy:

  • Earner's pre-termination weekly earnings refers to the weekly average of the gross earnings received by the person as an earner during the 12 months immediately before the day on which the post-accident employment was terminated.
  • Self-employed's pre-termination weekly earnings means the amount assessed by the TAC having regard to the earnings of the person during the 12 months immediately preceding the day on which the person can no longer sustain his/her self-employment.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.54A(7)

Guidelines

What type of payment is the SNIB?

The SNIB payment is payable for losses on and after 28 November 2007. The SNIB is an income payment for severely injured clients who are 50% or more impaired and have returned to work but their employment is subsequently terminated due to reasons such as site closure, restructure, redundancy or insolvency.

How is the client's entitlement to the SNIB calculated?

A client's weekly SNIB payment must not exceed, whichever is the lesser of
(a) The statutory maximum, or
(b) an amount equal to 80% of whichever is the greater of the person's "pre-termination weekly earnings" or the person's "pre-accident earnings".

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.54A(5) and s.4(1)

Is the SNIB taxed and does the TAC issue a Statement of Earnings?

The SNIB is a taxable income payment and the TAC will issue a Statement of Earnings at the end of each financial year.

Does the statutory weekly maximum amount get indexed?

The statutory weekly maximum amount is indexed by the Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) on 1 July each year.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.61(2A)

Is the client expected to participate in a rehabilitation program whilst in receipt of the SNIB?

The TAC may arrange for a client to participate in a:

  • rehabilitation program provided by an approved rehabilitation service, or
  • vocational rehabilitation program provided by a vocational rehabilitation service,

to assist a client in returning to an alternative job.

Note, the TAC is not liable to make a SNIB payment where a client unreasonably refuses to participate in a rehabilitation program or vocational rehabilitation program arranged by the TAC.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.54A(2)

Will SNIB payments continue if a client is placed on a return to work program with an alternative employer?

The TAC can arrange a return to work program for a client who is receiving SNIB payments and is unable to return to his/her pre-termination field of employment or alternative employment without the support of vocational rehabilitation services. Where applicable, the TAC can pay top-up SNIB payments to a client who is receiving some wages from the post-termination employer whilst on the return to work program. Refer to the Return To Work Programs policy.

What happens if a client who is receiving SNIB payments takes up a reasonable offer of alternative employment and this is unsuccessful?

Depending on the reason why the return to work was unsuccessful, the client may be entitled to receive either a SNIB payment or total or partial LOEC payment.

Example 1, a client was initially terminated from work because the company was being restructured. The client wanted to return to an alternative job. A suitable alternative job was located and the client returned to full-time work. The client has to travel a long distance to get to work and often arrived late. The employer terminated the employment because the client was arriving late for work. In this situation the client is entitled to the SNIB.

Example 2, a client was initially terminated from work because the company was going to close down. The client wanted to return to an alternative job. A suitable alternative job was located and the client returned to full-time work. The client however could only manage part-time work due to his/her transport accident injuries. In this situation the client is entitled to partial LOEC payments, as he/she has an incapacity that arises from the transport accident injury.

What happens if a client on SNIB payments who worked full-time takes up an offer of part-time work because that is what can be offered?

If the reason the client takes up part-time work is because that is all the client can reasonably expect to be offered after being terminated or the employer can not offer the hours of work the client performed before termination, the TAC can pay top-up SNIB payments. If however the reason the part-time work is taken up is solely as a lifestyle choice then SNIB payments can not be paid, eg. a client decides to reassess his/her lifestyle after the termination, he/she takes up an offer of part-time and not full-time employment in order to spend more time with the family.

Can a client receive an LOEC benefit and a SNIB payment?

A client is not entitled to receive an LOEC benefit if he/she is receiving SNIB payments. However, a client who returned to alternative employment after receiving SNIB payments and goes off work again because of his/her transport accident injuries, is entitled to a total or partial LOEC payment depending on the extent of the incapacity. See also the Loss of Earning Capacity Benefits policy.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.54A(6), s.49 and s.50

What if a client's job is terminated because of the transport accident injury?

If a client loses his/her job due to the transport accident injury and suffers a total or partial loss of incapacity, he/she is entitled to LOEC benefits. See also the Loss of Earning Capacity Benefits policy.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.49 and s.50

When does a client's entitlement to SNIB cease?

A client's entitlement to SNIB may cease when a client has:

  • found and taken up a reasonable offer of suitable employment, or
  • refused to participate in a TAC approved rehabilitation program, or vocational rehabilitation program, or
  • settled his/her common law claim for pecuniary loss damages, or
  • reached the age of retirement for his/her occupation, or the age that he/she can apply for the Commonwealth aged pension,

whichever first occurs.