How long does the compensation process take?
The time it will take for you to be awarded your compensation if you are found to have been disabled by a dust disease as a result of your employment in NSW will depend on many factors. These include:
- Whether your dust disease is malignant or not.
- Whether the Medical Authority can easily establish that your dust disease and disablement have resulted from exposure to hazardous dusts at a place of employment in New South Wales.
- Whether your disablement is complicated by factors such as exposure outside of New South Wales, other malignant disease or non occupational exposure.
- Whether you are a worker under the Workers' Compensation Act 1987.
The average processing time for compensation for a person who has contracted mesothelioma is four to six weeks. Non malignant diseases may take longer.
The staff of the Board do everything they can to make the compensation process as efficient as possible. However, reaching a determination by a Medical Authority and the Board can depend on a number of factors that may slow the process. These include:
- The availability of all relevant medical information from treating doctors and their cooperation in providing information quickly.
- The time taken to obtain further medical information from pathology or cytology reports (this information is only required for mesothelioma and lung cancer cases).
It is important to note that the Board and the Medical Authority acknowledge that many workers smoked during the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's and this was socially acceptable and the health implications were less known at the time.
The Board and Medical Authority are not judgemental of individuals who smoke. However, the Medical Authority and Board must establish that a disease is attributable to asbestos exposure or other dusts as required by the legislation.
The Board can not pay compensation to individuals who for example have emphysema, airways disease, asthma or bronchitis. These diseases are not compensated by the Dust Diseases Board.