This summary is about this question:

1. Will re-training into a new job after a serious injury prevent you from getting a Total & Permanent Disability benefit?

Halloran v Harwood [2007] NSW SC
NSW Supreme Court
Justice Brereton

Generally a substantive part-time and full-time employment would exclude the possibility of obtaining a TPD benefit.

However there are cases which indicate that a person who has been very badly injured, but later takes up a completely different job, may still get the TPD benefit, because they cannot go back to their former job, or to a job for which they were reasonably qualified by reason of their education training and experience.

One such case is the case of Halloran v Harwood [2007] NSW SC decided by  Brereton J.

Mr Halloran was injured in his job where he had responsibilities for greasing machinery. He couldn’t do his job, and he made a TPD claim.

After his injury, in fact in the year following injury and for the following 2 years, he completed a TAFE course in Office Administration and Computer Studies. He then secured for himself employment as a contract officer with the Aboriginal Land Council as its Regional Project Officer in eastern New South Wales. The position involved responsibility for the negotiation of traditional land rights on behalf of Aboriginal communities. This was obviously quite different to his former pre-injury job.

Justice Brereton decided, unsurprisingly, that at the time of suffering the injury Mr Halloran was in fact not qualified for that kind of work (a Regional Project Officer) by reason of his education, training and experience. He only became qualified by his post-injury formal education.

The case of Halloran is an exception to the general rule that a return to work will exclude a person from getting their TPD benefit. It is also an example of the difference between retraining in a brief or short course, and retraining in an extensive formal setting leading to employment which is quite different to pre-injury employment.