Return to work for self-employed clients

Returning to work plays an important part in your recovery.

When you work for yourself or own a business, you may feel pressure to return to work quickly.

The important thing to remember is you don’t have to be fully recovered to return to work. The earlier you start planning your return and have the right supports in place, the more likely you are to get back to work quickly and successfully.

Self-employed declaration form

Please complete this form when asked to by the TAC.

We use the information in this form to understand how your business operates. It helps us understand the impact of your transport accident on your business.

This will help us make sure you have access to the right services and supports to help you to return to work.

Download the Self-employed declaration form

Who can support your return to work

You

The most important person in your return to work is you.

When planning your return to a work, it is helpful to keep a positive mindset and focus on what you can do, rather than the limitations of your injury. In many cases, returning to work can help you recover faster.

To help your return to work you can:

  • Stay in contact with your workplace and your health professional to discuss your return to work
  • Keep your workplace up to date with your progress and talk about options to return to work
  • Talk to the TAC about the support we can provide you

Find out more about the steps to a successful return to work

The TAC

Our role is to ensure you have the right services and supports in place to help you with a successful return to work. In some cases, you might work with more than one person at the TAC.

We will work with you, your employer, and any health professionals or support services you may need.

After your accident, we will contact you to:

  • Find out how you are progressing in your recovery
  • Talk about your type of work and your plans to return
  • Explain what options and supports are available to make your return as smooth as possible.
  • Coordinate any additional services or referrals to support your return to work.

Find out more about how the TAC can support you

Your health professional

Your health professional is the best person to recommend how long you need off work and when you can return. For example, this could be your GP, physio, surgeon or chiropractor. They can:

  • Tell you what you can and can’t do while you are recovering
  • Discuss with you the most suitable options for your return to work
  • Provide advice on whether there are any restrictions or equipment needed for your return to work
  • Advise you on how to best manage your return to work, such as when to take breaks and when to do exercises.

Your health professional should use a certificate of capacity to make these recommendations. This information helps the TAC understand what you can and can’t do, and what support we can provide.

Return to work specialist

In some cases, we may refer you to a return to work specialist to support your return to work.

They can work with you, your employer and health professional to help you get back to work safely and successfully. They may also make recommendations and develop a return to work plan.

Find out more about return to work specialists

Steps to a successful return to work

After your accident

  • As soon as you are able, contact your workplace to discuss your potential return to work. You don’t have to fully recovered or have a clear return date before you start the conversation.
  • Discuss your work with your health professional (such as a GP, physiotherapist or surgeon) to assess how long you need off work, when you can return and in what capacity.
  • Consider the need to employ substitute labour to perform the duties you are unable to perform as a result of your transport accident injuries. The TAC may be able to take these costs into account when assessing your eligibility for income support.
  • Ask your health professional to complete a certificate of capacity for the TAC. You can also ask them about what you can do as part of your recovery to help prepare for your return to work.

Preparing to return

  • Keep your workplace up to date with your progress. If appropriate, arrange catch ups with your work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain your work relationships.
  • Talk to your health professional and workplace about your options to return to work. This might include reduced hours or alternative duties. Think about who could help you in your role, if you cannot fully return to work.
  • Try to keep positive and motivated – focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

When you return

  • Once you return to work, you must tell the TAC so that any income support you are eligible for can be calculated and paid correctly. This includes if it is part-time, unpaid or voluntary.
  • You can choose whether to discuss your injuries and any limitations at work. It may be helpful for others to understand what you can and can’t do, or why your role may have changed.
  • Regularly review your return to work arrangements and continue to discuss your recovery progress with your support team, including your health professional and return to work specialist (if applicable)
  • If you have any issues or concerns, please contact the TAC. We can recommend the next steps to take to help you resolve any issues you are facing.
  • Find out what to do if you have a flare up of your injury

Things to remember

  • The most important person in your return to work is you
  • Set goals for your return to work
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than your limitations
  • Seek advice from your health professional
  • Stay in touch with your workplace and let them know how you’re going
  • Contact the TAC if you have questions or set backs

How the TAC can support you

The TAC can provide a range of services and benefits to support your return to work. Your TAC claims manager will discuss these options with you and let you know how to access them.

Income support

If you are already receiving income support from the TAC, we can continue to offer this benefit until you are fit to fully return to work.

If your business is employing substitute labour, we may take this cost into account when assessing your income support.

Once you return to work, even if it’s on reduced hours, you must contact the TAC so that your income support can be calculated correctly.

Generally, if you go back to work and your pay is less than the TAC paid you before you returned to work, we can top-up your pay.

Find out more about income support for self employed clients

Travel to work benefit

If you are unable to travel to work in your usual way because of your accident injuries, you may be eligible for a ’travel to work’ benefit.

The TAC will work with you and your health professional to assess your eligibility. For example, if you drove to work before your accident, but aren’t able to drive at the moment because you have a leg injury, the TAC can reimburse your alternative travel costs.

Your health professional should provide a written request which states that you are not able to travel to work in your usual way. They should also recommend other forms of suitable transport, for example, public transport.

We can pay the travel to work benefit for a maximum of 24 weeks and it is capped at a maximum of $1,550. This amount is updated every year on 1 July.

Return to work plan

If you require extra support to return to work because of your accident injuries, we may recommend a return to work plan.

In most cases, we will refer you to a return to work specialist who will develop the plan with you.

Your plan will be based on what you can do and what you need for a successful return to work. This usually includes:

  • an assessment of your workplace and role to find out if you need any changes to support your return
  • an outline of your expected duties and hours
  • recommendations for any workplace modifications or equipment
  • details of any supports the TAC can provide to your business, such as paying for modifications or equipment

The return to work specialist will ensure your plan is agreed to by you and your health professional before you return to work. They will also monitor your progress once you return.

Allied health and mental health services

Allied health services include a range of treatments to help you move better, relieve pain or improve function. They include treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology.

Mental health services include treatment or counselling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these services to help you physically and/or mentally prepare for and return to work.

The TAC may consider paying for these services when they are related to your transport accident injuries and support your return to work plan.

If you have a pre-existing disability or new disability as a result of your accident, there are some services that can support your return to work.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Employment services

Supported Employment Service

The Supported Employment Service can help a person with a disability enter or re-enter the workforce, develop job skills and prepare to work in the open employment market. It connects eligible TAC clients with an Australian Disability Enterprise, which employs people with a disability in a supported work environment.

Find out how a Supported Employment Service may be able to help you return to work

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability to find work and keep a job.

These services are government funded for eligible people, and can include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training. You can also get help with job searching, and ongoing support at work for you and your employer.

Your TAC claims manager can talk about your support options if you are considering a DES provider.

More information about DES and other disability employment support is available on the JobAccess website jobaccess.gov.au/home

IncludeAbility

IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was developed to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability. It aims to close the gap in workforce participation between people with disability and people without disability.

IncludeAbility is designed to support:

  • employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability
  • people with disability seeking employment, developing a career or considering self-employment.

Find out more at the IncludeAbility website

Choose a TAC Vocational service provider

A vocational service provider is an organisation that employs qualified return to work specialists.

Their aim is to help you return to work safely and successfully.

There are a number of reasons why the TAC may refer you to a return to work specialist. Generally, this is when you need extra support for your return to work.

Depending on your needs, a return to work specialist can:

  • Assess your current skills and abilities
  • Assess your workplace to see what support you need
  • Work with your employer and health professionals to explore your return to work options
  • Prepare a personalised return to work plan
  • Recommend modifications or equipment for your workplace
  • Recommend and organise retraining programs
  • Provide career guidance
  • Help you find and apply for a new job
  • Help you prepare your resume and provide interview training

Vocational rehabilitation programs

If you are looking for new or different work options because of your accident injuries, your return to work specialist will develop a vocational rehabilitation program.

This program is designed to prepare and help you to secure new job opportunities. It may include:

  • Skill development and/or retraining programs
  • Job seeking and interview preparation
  • Trial periods
  • A return to work plan, agreed to with your health professional and new employer

As part of the program, we expect that you will:

  • Return phone calls to your return to work specialist, your employer and  the TAC
  • Attend appointments, course sessions, job interviews and work regularly and on time
  • Participate in agreed vocational or return to work programs
  • Identify and apply for suitable jobs independently
  • Accept reasonable offers for job interviews
  • Attend job interviews
  • Provide evidence of job seeking (e.g. job diaries documenting jobs you’ve applied for)
  • Accept reasonable offers of employment.

Through this program, the TAC provides you with a reasonable offer of vocational rehabilitation. By law, if you choose not to take part, we may be unable to pay your income benefits.

How do I know if I am ready to return to work?

You should visit your doctor and discuss this with them. They are in the best position to advise you on your capacity to work and any tasks you should modify or avoid to prevent a flare up.

If you aren’t able to go back to work at full capacity, speak to your employer and the TAC about alternative duties. Even if you aren’t ready to go back to work full-time, you may be able to return to light duties to help with your recovery.

What happens if I have a flare up or can’t continue my return to work plan?

If you have a flare up to your accident injury you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should provide you with a certificate of capacity stating what impact this has had on your capacity to work.

You should contact the TAC if you have any difficulties coping with your workload or accident injury. The TAC will work with you, your doctor and your employer to find the best way of managing your return to work.

What happens if I have time off because of surgery?

You should contact the TAC for prior approval before having any accident-related surgery.

If, after you have returned to work, you need more time off because of TAC approved surgery, you should also obtain a certificate of capacity from your doctor which details how your capacity to work is affected and how long it will be affected.

Where appropriate your return to work program will be modified to accommodate this time off. The TAC will continue to support you in your return to work as long as you have a certificate of capacity.

If I lose my job will the TAC help me find a new one?

If you are no longer employed because of your accident injuries, the TAC can help you with job seeking services as part of a return to work program.

If you have returned to work, and then lose your job, you might also be eligible for the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB).

If you have lost your job because of your accident, please call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Returning to work plays an important part in your recovery.

When you work for yourself or own a business, you may feel pressure to return to work quickly.

The important thing to remember is you don’t have to be fully recovered to return to work. The earlier you start planning your return and have the right supports in place, the more likely you are to get back to work quickly and successfully.

Self-employed declaration form

Please complete this form when asked to by the TAC.

We use the information in this form to understand how your business operates. It helps us understand the impact of your transport accident on your business.

This will help us make sure you have access to the right services and supports to help you to return to work.

Download the Self-employed declaration form

Who can support your return to work

You

The most important person in your return to work is you.

When planning your return to a work, it is helpful to keep a positive mindset and focus on what you can do, rather than the limitations of your injury. In many cases, returning to work can help you recover faster.

To help your return to work you can:

  • Stay in contact with your workplace and your health professional to discuss your return to work
  • Keep your workplace up to date with your progress and talk about options to return to work
  • Talk to the TAC about the support we can provide you

Find out more about the steps to a successful return to work

The TAC

Our role is to ensure you have the right services and supports in place to help you with a successful return to work. In some cases, you might work with more than one person at the TAC.

We will work with you, your employer, and any health professionals or support services you may need.

After your accident, we will contact you to:

  • Find out how you are progressing in your recovery
  • Talk about your type of work and your plans to return
  • Explain what options and supports are available to make your return as smooth as possible.
  • Coordinate any additional services or referrals to support your return to work.

Find out more about how the TAC can support you

Your health professional

Your health professional is the best person to recommend how long you need off work and when you can return. For example, this could be your GP, physio, surgeon or chiropractor. They can:

  • Tell you what you can and can’t do while you are recovering
  • Discuss with you the most suitable options for your return to work
  • Provide advice on whether there are any restrictions or equipment needed for your return to work
  • Advise you on how to best manage your return to work, such as when to take breaks and when to do exercises.

Your health professional should use a certificate of capacity to make these recommendations. This information helps the TAC understand what you can and can’t do, and what support we can provide.

Return to work specialist

In some cases, we may refer you to a return to work specialist to support your return to work.

They can work with you, your employer and health professional to help you get back to work safely and successfully. They may also make recommendations and develop a return to work plan.

Find out more about return to work specialists

Steps to a successful return to work

After your accident

  • As soon as you are able, contact your workplace to discuss your potential return to work. You don’t have to fully recovered or have a clear return date before you start the conversation.
  • Discuss your work with your health professional (such as a GP, physiotherapist or surgeon) to assess how long you need off work, when you can return and in what capacity.
  • Consider the need to employ substitute labour to perform the duties you are unable to perform as a result of your transport accident injuries. The TAC may be able to take these costs into account when assessing your eligibility for income support.
  • Ask your health professional to complete a certificate of capacity for the TAC. You can also ask them about what you can do as part of your recovery to help prepare for your return to work.

Preparing to return

  • Keep your workplace up to date with your progress. If appropriate, arrange catch ups with your work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain your work relationships.
  • Talk to your health professional and workplace about your options to return to work. This might include reduced hours or alternative duties. Think about who could help you in your role, if you cannot fully return to work.
  • Try to keep positive and motivated – focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

When you return

  • Once you return to work, you must tell the TAC so that any income support you are eligible for can be calculated and paid correctly. This includes if it is part-time, unpaid or voluntary.
  • You can choose whether to discuss your injuries and any limitations at work. It may be helpful for others to understand what you can and can’t do, or why your role may have changed.
  • Regularly review your return to work arrangements and continue to discuss your recovery progress with your support team, including your health professional and return to work specialist (if applicable)
  • If you have any issues or concerns, please contact the TAC. We can recommend the next steps to take to help you resolve any issues you are facing.
  • Find out what to do if you have a flare up of your injury

Things to remember

  • The most important person in your return to work is you
  • Set goals for your return to work
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than your limitations
  • Seek advice from your health professional
  • Stay in touch with your workplace and let them know how you’re going
  • Contact the TAC if you have questions or set backs

How the TAC can support you

The TAC can provide a range of services and benefits to support your return to work. Your TAC claims manager will discuss these options with you and let you know how to access them.

Income support

If you are already receiving income support from the TAC, we can continue to offer this benefit until you are fit to fully return to work.

If your business is employing substitute labour, we may take this cost into account when assessing your income support.

Once you return to work, even if it’s on reduced hours, you must contact the TAC so that your income support can be calculated correctly.

Generally, if you go back to work and your pay is less than the TAC paid you before you returned to work, we can top-up your pay.

Find out more about income support for self employed clients

Travel to work benefit

If you are unable to travel to work in your usual way because of your accident injuries, you may be eligible for a ’travel to work’ benefit.

The TAC will work with you and your health professional to assess your eligibility. For example, if you drove to work before your accident, but aren’t able to drive at the moment because you have a leg injury, the TAC can reimburse your alternative travel costs.

Your health professional should provide a written request which states that you are not able to travel to work in your usual way. They should also recommend other forms of suitable transport, for example, public transport.

We can pay the travel to work benefit for a maximum of 24 weeks and it is capped at a maximum of $1,550. This amount is updated every year on 1 July.

Return to work plan

If you require extra support to return to work because of your accident injuries, we may recommend a return to work plan.

In most cases, we will refer you to a return to work specialist who will develop the plan with you.

Your plan will be based on what you can do and what you need for a successful return to work. This usually includes:

  • an assessment of your workplace and role to find out if you need any changes to support your return
  • an outline of your expected duties and hours
  • recommendations for any workplace modifications or equipment
  • details of any supports the TAC can provide to your business, such as paying for modifications or equipment

The return to work specialist will ensure your plan is agreed to by you and your health professional before you return to work. They will also monitor your progress once you return.

Allied health and mental health services

Allied health services include a range of treatments to help you move better, relieve pain or improve function. They include treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology.

Mental health services include treatment or counselling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these services to help you physically and/or mentally prepare for and return to work.

The TAC may consider paying for these services when they are related to your transport accident injuries and support your return to work plan.

If you have a pre-existing disability or new disability as a result of your accident, there are some services that can support your return to work.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Employment services

Supported Employment Service

The Supported Employment Service can help a person with a disability enter or re-enter the workforce, develop job skills and prepare to work in the open employment market. It connects eligible TAC clients with an Australian Disability Enterprise, which employs people with a disability in a supported work environment.

Find out how a Supported Employment Service may be able to help you return to work

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability to find work and keep a job.

These services are government funded for eligible people, and can include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training. You can also get help with job searching, and ongoing support at work for you and your employer.

Your TAC claims manager can talk about your support options if you are considering a DES provider.

More information about DES and other disability employment support is available on the JobAccess website jobaccess.gov.au/home

IncludeAbility

IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was developed to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability. It aims to close the gap in workforce participation between people with disability and people without disability.

IncludeAbility is designed to support:

  • employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability
  • people with disability seeking employment, developing a career or considering self-employment.

Find out more at the IncludeAbility website

Choose a TAC Vocational service provider

A vocational service provider is an organisation that employs qualified return to work specialists.

Their aim is to help you return to work safely and successfully.

There are a number of reasons why the TAC may refer you to a return to work specialist. Generally, this is when you need extra support for your return to work.

Depending on your needs, a return to work specialist can:

  • Assess your current skills and abilities
  • Assess your workplace to see what support you need
  • Work with your employer and health professionals to explore your return to work options
  • Prepare a personalised return to work plan
  • Recommend modifications or equipment for your workplace
  • Recommend and organise retraining programs
  • Provide career guidance
  • Help you find and apply for a new job
  • Help you prepare your resume and provide interview training

Vocational rehabilitation programs

If you are looking for new or different work options because of your accident injuries, your return to work specialist will develop a vocational rehabilitation program.

This program is designed to prepare and help you to secure new job opportunities. It may include:

  • Skill development and/or retraining programs
  • Job seeking and interview preparation
  • Trial periods
  • A return to work plan, agreed to with your health professional and new employer

As part of the program, we expect that you will:

  • Return phone calls to your return to work specialist, your employer and  the TAC
  • Attend appointments, course sessions, job interviews and work regularly and on time
  • Participate in agreed vocational or return to work programs
  • Identify and apply for suitable jobs independently
  • Accept reasonable offers for job interviews
  • Attend job interviews
  • Provide evidence of job seeking (e.g. job diaries documenting jobs you’ve applied for)
  • Accept reasonable offers of employment.

Through this program, the TAC provides you with a reasonable offer of vocational rehabilitation. By law, if you choose not to take part, we may be unable to pay your income benefits.

How do I know if I am ready to return to work?

You should visit your doctor and discuss this with them. They are in the best position to advise you on your capacity to work and any tasks you should modify or avoid to prevent a flare up.

If you aren’t able to go back to work at full capacity, speak to your employer and the TAC about alternative duties. Even if you aren’t ready to go back to work full-time, you may be able to return to light duties to help with your recovery.

What happens if I have a flare up or can’t continue my return to work plan?

If you have a flare up to your accident injury you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should provide you with a certificate of capacity stating what impact this has had on your capacity to work.

You should contact the TAC if you have any difficulties coping with your workload or accident injury. The TAC will work with you, your doctor and your employer to find the best way of managing your return to work.

What happens if I have time off because of surgery?

You should contact the TAC for prior approval before having any accident-related surgery.

If, after you have returned to work, you need more time off because of TAC approved surgery, you should also obtain a certificate of capacity from your doctor which details how your capacity to work is affected and how long it will be affected.

Where appropriate your return to work program will be modified to accommodate this time off. The TAC will continue to support you in your return to work as long as you have a certificate of capacity.

If I lose my job will the TAC help me find a new one?

If you are no longer employed because of your accident injuries, the TAC can help you with job seeking services as part of a return to work program.

If you have returned to work, and then lose your job, you might also be eligible for the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB).

If you have lost your job because of your accident, please call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Return to work

Returning to work plays an important part in your recovery.

When you work for yourself or own a business, you may feel pressure to return to work quickly.

The important thing to remember is you don’t have to be fully recovered to return to work. The earlier you start planning your return and have the right supports in place, the more likely you are to get back to work quickly and successfully.

Self-employed declaration form

Please complete this form when asked to by the TAC.

We use the information in this form to understand how your business operates. It helps us understand the impact of your transport accident on your business.

This will help us make sure you have access to the right services and supports to help you to return to work.

Download the Self-employed declaration form

Who can support your return to work

You

The most important person in your return to work is you.

When planning your return to a work, it is helpful to keep a positive mindset and focus on what you can do, rather than the limitations of your injury. In many cases, returning to work can help you recover faster.

To help your return to work you can:

  • Stay in contact with your workplace and your health professional to discuss your return to work
  • Keep your workplace up to date with your progress and talk about options to return to work
  • Talk to the TAC about the support we can provide you

Find out more about the steps to a successful return to work

The TAC

Our role is to ensure you have the right services and supports in place to help you with a successful return to work. In some cases, you might work with more than one person at the TAC.

We will work with you, your employer, and any health professionals or support services you may need.

After your accident, we will contact you to:

  • Find out how you are progressing in your recovery
  • Talk about your type of work and your plans to return
  • Explain what options and supports are available to make your return as smooth as possible.
  • Coordinate any additional services or referrals to support your return to work.

Find out more about how the TAC can support you

Your health professional

Your health professional is the best person to recommend how long you need off work and when you can return. For example, this could be your GP, physio, surgeon or chiropractor. They can:

  • Tell you what you can and can’t do while you are recovering
  • Discuss with you the most suitable options for your return to work
  • Provide advice on whether there are any restrictions or equipment needed for your return to work
  • Advise you on how to best manage your return to work, such as when to take breaks and when to do exercises.

Your health professional should use a certificate of capacity to make these recommendations. This information helps the TAC understand what you can and can’t do, and what support we can provide.

Return to work specialist

In some cases, we may refer you to a return to work specialist to support your return to work.

They can work with you, your employer and health professional to help you get back to work safely and successfully. They may also make recommendations and develop a return to work plan.

Find out more about return to work specialists

Steps to a successful return to work

After your accident

  • As soon as you are able, contact your workplace to discuss your potential return to work. You don’t have to fully recovered or have a clear return date before you start the conversation.
  • Discuss your work with your health professional (such as a GP, physiotherapist or surgeon) to assess how long you need off work, when you can return and in what capacity.
  • Consider the need to employ substitute labour to perform the duties you are unable to perform as a result of your transport accident injuries. The TAC may be able to take these costs into account when assessing your eligibility for income support.
  • Ask your health professional to complete a certificate of capacity for the TAC. You can also ask them about what you can do as part of your recovery to help prepare for your return to work.

Preparing to return

  • Keep your workplace up to date with your progress. If appropriate, arrange catch ups with your work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain your work relationships.
  • Talk to your health professional and workplace about your options to return to work. This might include reduced hours or alternative duties. Think about who could help you in your role, if you cannot fully return to work.
  • Try to keep positive and motivated – focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

When you return

  • Once you return to work, you must tell the TAC so that any income support you are eligible for can be calculated and paid correctly. This includes if it is part-time, unpaid or voluntary.
  • You can choose whether to discuss your injuries and any limitations at work. It may be helpful for others to understand what you can and can’t do, or why your role may have changed.
  • Regularly review your return to work arrangements and continue to discuss your recovery progress with your support team, including your health professional and return to work specialist (if applicable)
  • If you have any issues or concerns, please contact the TAC. We can recommend the next steps to take to help you resolve any issues you are facing.
  • Find out what to do if you have a flare up of your injury

Things to remember

  • The most important person in your return to work is you
  • Set goals for your return to work
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than your limitations
  • Seek advice from your health professional
  • Stay in touch with your workplace and let them know how you’re going
  • Contact the TAC if you have questions or set backs

How the TAC can support you

The TAC can provide a range of services and benefits to support your return to work. Your TAC claims manager will discuss these options with you and let you know how to access them.

Income support

If you are already receiving income support from the TAC, we can continue to offer this benefit until you are fit to fully return to work.

If your business is employing substitute labour, we may take this cost into account when assessing your income support.

Once you return to work, even if it’s on reduced hours, you must contact the TAC so that your income support can be calculated correctly.

Generally, if you go back to work and your pay is less than the TAC paid you before you returned to work, we can top-up your pay.

Find out more about income support for self employed clients

Travel to work benefit

If you are unable to travel to work in your usual way because of your accident injuries, you may be eligible for a ’travel to work’ benefit.

The TAC will work with you and your health professional to assess your eligibility. For example, if you drove to work before your accident, but aren’t able to drive at the moment because you have a leg injury, the TAC can reimburse your alternative travel costs.

Your health professional should provide a written request which states that you are not able to travel to work in your usual way. They should also recommend other forms of suitable transport, for example, public transport.

We can pay the travel to work benefit for a maximum of 24 weeks and it is capped at a maximum of $1,550. This amount is updated every year on 1 July.

Return to work plan

If you require extra support to return to work because of your accident injuries, we may recommend a return to work plan.

In most cases, we will refer you to a return to work specialist who will develop the plan with you.

Your plan will be based on what you can do and what you need for a successful return to work. This usually includes:

  • an assessment of your workplace and role to find out if you need any changes to support your return
  • an outline of your expected duties and hours
  • recommendations for any workplace modifications or equipment
  • details of any supports the TAC can provide to your business, such as paying for modifications or equipment

The return to work specialist will ensure your plan is agreed to by you and your health professional before you return to work. They will also monitor your progress once you return.

Allied health and mental health services

Allied health services include a range of treatments to help you move better, relieve pain or improve function. They include treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology.

Mental health services include treatment or counselling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these services to help you physically and/or mentally prepare for and return to work.

The TAC may consider paying for these services when they are related to your transport accident injuries and support your return to work plan.

For people with disability

If you have a pre-existing disability or new disability as a result of your accident, there are some services that can support your return to work.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Employment services

Supported Employment Service

The Supported Employment Service can help a person with a disability enter or re-enter the workforce, develop job skills and prepare to work in the open employment market. It connects eligible TAC clients with an Australian Disability Enterprise, which employs people with a disability in a supported work environment.

Find out how a Supported Employment Service may be able to help you return to work

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability to find work and keep a job.

These services are government funded for eligible people, and can include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training. You can also get help with job searching, and ongoing support at work for you and your employer.

Your TAC claims manager can talk about your support options if you are considering a DES provider.

More information about DES and other disability employment support is available on the JobAccess website jobaccess.gov.au/home

IncludeAbility

IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was developed to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability. It aims to close the gap in workforce participation between people with disability and people without disability.

IncludeAbility is designed to support:

  • employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability
  • people with disability seeking employment, developing a career or considering self-employment.

Find out more at the IncludeAbility website

About vocational providers

Choose a TAC Vocational service provider

A vocational service provider is an organisation that employs qualified return to work specialists.

Their aim is to help you return to work safely and successfully.

There are a number of reasons why the TAC may refer you to a return to work specialist. Generally, this is when you need extra support for your return to work.

Depending on your needs, a return to work specialist can:

  • Assess your current skills and abilities
  • Assess your workplace to see what support you need
  • Work with your employer and health professionals to explore your return to work options
  • Prepare a personalised return to work plan
  • Recommend modifications or equipment for your workplace
  • Recommend and organise retraining programs
  • Provide career guidance
  • Help you find and apply for a new job
  • Help you prepare your resume and provide interview training

Vocational rehabilitation programs

If you are looking for new or different work options because of your accident injuries, your return to work specialist will develop a vocational rehabilitation program.

This program is designed to prepare and help you to secure new job opportunities. It may include:

  • Skill development and/or retraining programs
  • Job seeking and interview preparation
  • Trial periods
  • A return to work plan, agreed to with your health professional and new employer

As part of the program, we expect that you will:

  • Return phone calls to your return to work specialist, your employer and  the TAC
  • Attend appointments, course sessions, job interviews and work regularly and on time
  • Participate in agreed vocational or return to work programs
  • Identify and apply for suitable jobs independently
  • Accept reasonable offers for job interviews
  • Attend job interviews
  • Provide evidence of job seeking (e.g. job diaries documenting jobs you’ve applied for)
  • Accept reasonable offers of employment.

Through this program, the TAC provides you with a reasonable offer of vocational rehabilitation. By law, if you choose not to take part, we may be unable to pay your income benefits.

Questions and answers

How do I know if I am ready to return to work?

You should visit your doctor and discuss this with them. They are in the best position to advise you on your capacity to work and any tasks you should modify or avoid to prevent a flare up.

If you aren’t able to go back to work at full capacity, speak to your employer and the TAC about alternative duties. Even if you aren’t ready to go back to work full-time, you may be able to return to light duties to help with your recovery.

What happens if I have a flare up or can’t continue my return to work plan?

If you have a flare up to your accident injury you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should provide you with a certificate of capacity stating what impact this has had on your capacity to work.

You should contact the TAC if you have any difficulties coping with your workload or accident injury. The TAC will work with you, your doctor and your employer to find the best way of managing your return to work.

What happens if I have time off because of surgery?

You should contact the TAC for prior approval before having any accident-related surgery.

If, after you have returned to work, you need more time off because of TAC approved surgery, you should also obtain a certificate of capacity from your doctor which details how your capacity to work is affected and how long it will be affected.

Where appropriate your return to work program will be modified to accommodate this time off. The TAC will continue to support you in your return to work as long as you have a certificate of capacity.

If I lose my job will the TAC help me find a new one?

If you are no longer employed because of your accident injuries, the TAC can help you with job seeking services as part of a return to work program.

If you have returned to work, and then lose your job, you might also be eligible for the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB).

If you have lost your job because of your accident, please call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.