Workers Compensation

My s56A lump sum election – what now?

workers compensation TGB lawyers

If you are in South Australia, and have been assessed as a seriously injured worker as a result of a physical work injury, then these changes may impact you.

A significant change has come into effect as at 17 October 2022 which provides seriously injured workers in South Australia the ability to elect a lump sum payment for ‘economic loss’ as opposed to receiving weekly payments ongoing until retirement age.

This means that if you have been assessed as a seriously injured worker due to a physical work injury you can elect to receive an economic loss lump sum payment instead of receiving ongoing weekly payments.

What this means for you

If you elect to receive an economic loss lump sum payment you must obtain:

  1. advice from a competent professional (e.g., a lawyer) about the consequences of electing to receive a lump sum payment
  2. financial advice from a qualified financial adviser about the investment or use of the lump sum payment
  3. medical advice from a recognised health practitioner about the future progression of your injury and its possible impact on your capacity to undertake work.

If your whole person impairment is 50% or more, Return to Work SA will forward your election notice and all other information provided by you to the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET). The SAET will then contact you to discuss your election with you in more detail.

How is it calculated?

It is important to understand that the weekly payments figure is not factored into the calculation of the s 56A lump sum payment.

Some seriously injured workers are likely to be ‘better off’ staying on the system and electing to receive their ongoing weekly payments instead of electing to take the lump sum.

Each person’s circumstances will differ, which is why it is important to obtain the appropriate legal and professional advice.

If a seriously injured worker elects to receive an economic loss lump sum payment, the entitlement will be calculated according to the following formula which is set out in the legislation:

Prescribed sum (set by Government) x Age factor (worker’s age on election date) x Hours worked factor (i.e., whether a workers was working ‘full time’ or less when injured)


James is a seriously injured worker who has been receiving ongoing weekly payments since his work injury in 2020. He was 48 years old at the time of the work injury and was working full time when he injured himself. He is now 50 years old at the time of being offered to elect the 56A Payment.

Currently, James is entitled to receive $1,200.00 per week (before tax) until retirement age of 67. He has approximately 17 years ahead of weekly payments at this rate which equates to around 884 weeks or $1,060,800.00 total (before tax) if payments are made until his retirement age.

The amount on offer under the s 56A election is as follows:

Prescribed Sum for a 2020 date of Injury = $386,452 x Age Factor of 70% (based on 50 years of age as at the date of election) x 1.00 (Full Time Hours as at the date of injury) = $270,516.40

Important points

  1. Workers cannot withdraw their election after it has been received by Return To Work SA or the claims agent.
  2. After an election and the lump sum payment is made seriously injured workers will no longer be entitled to:
    • receive weekly payments;
    • receive recovery and/or return to work services;
    • receive any further economic loss lump sum payments or redemption of income support;
    • make another election in the future, even in relation to a ‘new’ injury.

Seriously injured workers may also be able to negotiate a redemption to finalise their entitlement to medical expenses by way of a ‘one off’ lump sum payment. This figure can be negotiated with Return to Work SA and Return to Work SA will need to agree to a redemption.

It is important to understand that workers do NOT have to accept a lump sum payment and can choose to ‘stay on the system’ and receive ongoing weekly payments as a seriously injured worker instead.

Everyone’s circumstances will be different.

Get in touch!

If you are sent an offer by your claims agent or Return to Work SA it is worth seeking legal advice in order to figure out what is best for you and your circumstances.  These claims can be complex and most people benefit from receiving legal advice.

Tindall Gask Bentley has been practising workers compensation law for over 50 years, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can register online here and we’ll contact you, or feel free to contact our SA Workers Compensation team on (08) 8212 1077. Alternatively, you can contact Alex Harris on