A future where every journey is a safe one

Work and income

The TAC can pay you loss of earnings benefits while you are unable to return to work because of your accident injuries. Loss of earnings benefits is a temporary income support while you recover enough to return to work.

Who can claim loss of earnings benefits?

You can claim loss of earnings benefits if:

  • You have an accepted TAC claim
  • You are 15 years or older
  • You were working full-time, part-time or casually before the accident
  • Your accident-related injuries prevent you from returning to work full-time
  • You have a certificate of capacity from your doctor that states your capacity to work is affected because of your accident injuries
  • You have had more than five days off work*.

You may still be entitled to loss of earnings benefits if you were unemployed at the time of your accident. Please contact the TAC on 1300 654 329 for more information.

* The TAC, by law, cannot ordinarily pay loss of earnings benefits for the first five working days after your accident. However, there may be exceptions in special cases, if you can prove severe financial hardship. For further information, please call the TAC on 1300 654 329.

How much loss of earnings the TAC can pay

In most cases, the TAC pays 80% of your gross income, to a maximum of $1,350 per week.

How it's calculated

To work out how much to pay for loss of earnings, the TAC calculates how much you were earning before your accident. Once the TAC has worked out your earnings, we follow a formula that sets out how much we can pay.

See the Income support or the Income support for self-employed section for more information about how the TAC calculates your pre-accident earnings and applies the formula to work out your entitlement.

How long the TAC can pay loss of earnings

Loss of earnings benefit

We can pay loss of earnings benefits in the first 18 months after your accident, when you have a medical reason related to your accident injuries that stops you returning to work.

We may stop paying loss of earnings if you reach the normal retirement age for your industry or the age that you can apply for the aged pension.

The TAC will regularly review your progress and your ability to return to work. You may be asked to attend a medical examination so we can better understand your options and ability to return to work.

For more detailed information, please visit our loss of earnings policy.

Loss of earnings capacity benefit

If, after 18 months, you have a loss of earnings capacity because of your accident injuries, you might be entitled to receive loss of earnings capacity benefits (LOEC) for a further 18 months.

If you are assessed with an impairment of more than 50%, we may pay you LOEC until you reach the normal retirement age for your industry or the age that you can apply for the aged pension.

The TAC will regularly review your progress and your ability to return to work. You may be asked to attend a medical examination so we can better understand your options and ability to return to work.

For more detailed information, please visit our loss of earnings capacity policy.

If you are receiving leave payments from your employer

If you have been paid leave by your employer for time off after your accident, the TAC can reimburse some of this leave.

The TAC will calculate the reimbursement using the same formula that is used to calculate loss of earnings payments.  In most cases, the TAC pays 80% of your gross income, to a maximum of $1,350 per week.

The TAC can only start reimbursing leave if you have had more than five days off after an accident.

The TAC needs your written permission to reimburse paid leave. Please complete the Authority to pay entitlement: employer form if you would like the TAC to reimburse some of your leave.

If you stop receiving paid leave from your employer, the TAC can start to pay you loss of earnings benefits directly. Your employer will need to confirm with the TAC that your leave payments have stopped.

If you are receiving Centrelink benefits

It is the TAC's responsibility to pay you loss of earnings benefits if you cannot work due to you transport accident injuries. If you are receiving or have applied for Centrelink benefits, you must contact Centrelink within 14 days and advise them of your TAC claim.

If you have received Centrelink benefits when you are entitled to loss of earnings benefits from the TAC, Centrelink will recover the money from the TAC. This could happen in one of two ways:

  • If the TAC has not started paying you loss of earnings benefits, the TAC will reimburse Centrelink the amounts owing by making deductions from your TAC loss of earnings benefits
  • If the TAC has already paid you loss of earnings benefits for the period/s claimed by Centrelink, the TAC will advise Centrelink to seek reimbursement from you directly.

Robbie's story

https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/video_file/0007/106729/Robbie-Starting-return-to-work-.mp4 https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/image/0003/106734/robbie-back-to-work.png https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0004/108769/Robbie-Starting-return-to-work.srt
Show video transcript

TAC sent out
a return to work specialist, Meredith,

and she came out
and we went over all the things

that I might...would like to do
or have already tried.

I decided to do my personal training,

because I wanted to help other people
in the same situation as me.

So, I looked up courses
so I could get my Cert III and IV.

There was a six-month course
that I did.

And I think that was very hard
for me to do that as well,

because I felt like
when I went there

I thought, oh, you know,

people would be thinking,
"Why is he here?"

But it was
the complete opposite, really.

I was more of an inspiration
to other people,

and they thought, um, you know,

"If he can do it,
of course we can do it."

And I finished my Cert III and IV.

I work out of a gym now,
so I work out at Optima.

I have one wheelchair client.

And he just wants
to build up muscle again.

And I have two kids.

So, one is a gymnast,

and I've got another young fella I do
that is a runner.

And I have three matured men,

who just work on weight loss.

Returning to work has been,
yeah, absolutely fantastic.

I wish I did it earlier.

I moped round for too long,
and I wish I didn't do that.

I wish I just got up
and just got straight into it.

Aidan talks about his return to work

https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/video_file/0003/302664/Aidan2_v1-small.mp4 https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/image/0006/302667/Aidan2_v1.png https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0008/302669/update.srt
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I sustained an acquired brain injury.

It was difficult. I've always had an aide, so I've never really been in school, as such.

My previous role was a green keeper at Cheltenham golf course.

Because he's in a trade type area, they themselves are not trained to communicate. They're not looking for the indication that the person isn't understanding. They just want the job done.

At 3 months in I was expected to do the role of a fully qualified worker, without much training behind me.

Currently my role is a casual facility worker. I'm more doing the horticulture side of it.

Probably the main difference is most of the people are happy with the work I'm doing.

It actually came about, one of the teachers at Haileybury is friendly with my mum. She was crossing the grounds and the superintendent, head of the facility, he said people were having sick days and he needed someone close by and willing to be able to do a bit of horticulture work would be good. And she recomended me.

It took a little while to get into that role because there were a whole lot of hoops I had to step through to be able to get there, but eventually we managed to make it work.

I've finally found a work where, instead of criticising me for all the work I'm doing, and not doing the way he wants it, I've found a group of people who are willing to help me through it.

I started Uber driving late last year.

It's actually been a really good thing for him to do because he's dealing with people all the time, he has to learn to read people. He's coped very well with it, so that in itself has taught him a lot.

Normally when I'm at home, I'm not really doing much, I haven't got any role. I don't have any push to go forward. But, the days I work at Haileybury I'm able to up, get ready early. When I get home I'm willing to do stuff... most of the time.

Aidan's so much more motivated. He's easier to be around. He thinks about other things in his life. He's more active, playing sport and contacting his friends.

Take the stepping stones that come. The first job might not be the right one for you. The second one might not be either. But eventually you'll find a good place for you to go forward.

I'm really proud that he wants this job to work. I'm pretty proud that he wants to succeed and he wants to go further.

Everyone's different, so just take it slow.

Julius prepares for work by volunteering

https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/video_file/0008/106883/Julius-Work.mp4 https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/image/0003/106896/julius-back-to-work.png https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0006/108771/Julius-return-to-work.srt
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For the last few years I have been doing voluntary work at AMES.

Because I believe that that's something

that's a pretty good ongoing challenge that leads me to being productive.

It looks really good on my resume.

So, I believe that's prepared me to go back to work.

At AMES, I deal with people who are very fresh to the country, from various other nationalities and backgrounds, like, from all over the world,  and basically help them with conversational English.

It's been very beneficial to me,
because I find it stimulating

and a little bit challenging
and rewarding,

because the people
that I work with at AMES,

they have very varying degrees
of English ability.

Working is important
for my independence

because if I don't work,
then I cannot be independent

to the level I would like to be.

So, that's just something I feel
as though is very important for me,

my development,
and my career progression, even.

I just figure, since work
was such a part of my life previously,

to feel like a valid
and important member of society,

I think not going back to work
was never an option,

because I feel as though
going back to work

is indeed a good, wonderful
and important thing.

And that's just a further way
I can continue to validate myself

as a human being with a reasonable
amount of mobility and motivation,

and that's what I'm shooting for.

Ken returns to the kitchen

https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/video_file/0020/136136/Ken-Returns-To-The-Kitchen.mp4 https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/image/0010/137755/Ken-Returns-To-The-Kitchen.png https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0020/138521/Ken-Returns-To-The-Kitchen.srt
Show video transcript

I was at Phillip Island bike races,

watching the bike races,
and they were cancelled.

So we were heading home

with all the massive amounts
of other bikers,

and my brother
and a mate got past,

and my brother heard the crash
and he saw the accident behind him.

So he stopped and turned his bike
around and come and...

I'm very lucky
he's a division one nurse,

and he gave me CPR for half an hour
until the ambulance got there...

..and kept me alive and, yeah.

I was working as a chef,

'cause I'm a qualified chef
of 20-something years,

and it stopped me going back
to that career

because I lost the dexterity,

'cause of the
left-side disability -

I had spasticity of the left side,

which is the lack of
coordination and control.

And it stopped my cheffing career,

and I was lost
because I'd done it since I was 16.

The TAC paid for me to go to the
Gordon and study on the computers,

but it turns out
with my memory loss,

my post-accident
short-term memory loss,

I'm not employable unless they make
the four walls whiteboard.

I got into doing
cert-four disability

and I did my placement
with the men's program.

And I was looking for work
and they needed a cook,

so that's how it worked out

and I got involved,
and it's been really good.

It feels good
to be back in the kitchen

because I don't have to struggle,

because I've got
long-term memory pre-accident,

so it was just developing
the coordination and control

just to hold things
so I wouldn't cut my fingers off.

Chef techniques is you learn
to grip the food product

with the tips of your fingers
and bend your fingers back

so you don't cut it off.

And what I would do is
put my hand on the food

and slap the knife against it

and one thing slowly at a time,

so that way I knew
I wouldn't cut it off.

And just then the speed got
quicker, and confidence, yeah.

So slow and steady wins the race.

I watch all these cooking shows
that are all the rage now,

but I just get ideas
that I can then implement

in regard to combinations of things

or different ways
of serving things.

You don't serve anything
you wouldn't eat yourself.

And then, anyway,

I do admit there is an ongoing joke
with one of the clients

who eats all of his food
but he says...every week he says,

"The best bit about the meal
was the bread."

'Cause we buy the bread in.

Varied people deal
with different traumas differently.

Post-accident I didn't think
I would get back to cooking,

but it's actually helped me develop
my confidence and coordination

and getting back into it.

Work is good for your sense
of worth and motivation,

so you get out and you feel like
you're giving back to the community

and utilising your skills.

Be brave and finally you will achieve your goals

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Income support

Find out how to claim income support and how the TAC calculates how much we can pay.

Read more

Income support for self-employed people

Information about how the TAC calculates income support for self-employed people.

Read more

Returning to work

This section has tips to help you return to work and information about how the TAC can help. There is also information for employers who have an injured employee who is returning to work after an accident.

Read more