A very brave and seriously injured worker, destitute and left to rot by our workcover system, most kindly shared his pleading and most enlightening letter he wrote to Centrelink to stop workcover insurers of defrauding injured workers. A great write-up, alias the very sad reality for so many injured workers in Australia.
Injured workers plea to Centrelink to stop workcover fraud – a letter
The injured workers pleading letter to Centrelink
Dear Mr [Censored]
My name is [censored] & my parents are Age Pensioner’s and receive the News for Seniors magazine issued by Centrelink. They thought that I should try to contact you about my complex case & issues, as they regularly read your responses as Editor in the magazine and think highly of you. They don’t understand why I am not on Disability Support Pension and I understand that you can’t help me with that. But if you could take the time to read my email, you may be surprised about what I am asking you.
I enjoy knowing that you are putting more systems in place to ‘teach’ Centrelink customers that there are more options other than just living below the poverty line. Like anything in life, you have to work at something, which in turn, gives you the confidence to enjoy working & all the positives that come with it. Unfortunately I am on [censored] would do anything to get off it. I shouldn’t be on [Censored] at all. The requirements are very stressful for me & I usually end up in a physical meltdown because of my injures & medical conditions caused by a serious workplace accident. I feel I need to give you a little of the story so you understand where I am coming from & why I have written this email to you.
As a [censored profession], I am not afraid of hard work, as I loved my work and was use to working late nights, weekends & public holidays. The accident was very unexpected, [details of injury/accident censored]. Even with a [cesored injuries], I only took 1 day off to get my [censored : some injuries] dealt with. I then organised someone to get me to & from work because I was still [censored injury/condition] with dizziness & serious headache. I was told to expect headaches for up to 6 weeks. So I tried to control the [censored] pain with over the counter medication & after [censored] weeks, went to the local Doctors. Over the next [censored] of months I had different tests done but still tried to carry on working every day but with reduced hours. I was then sacked by my employer as I was struggling at [censored] my duties, which I agree, I was not able to do at the level I had prior to the accident.
I then tried to find a doctor who would help me find what was wrong rather than just taking pain killers. For [censored] weeks, I was receiving a reduced weekly wage while I was waiting to see a [doctor specialist] & have a MRI. Then the Workcover insurer requested that I see one of their Doctors which is called IME -Independent Medical Examination. Independent my ASS! Sorry for swearing, but due to this Doctors blatant lies, my life become a nightmare. Even though he knew I had a [specialist] appointment & MRI booked a few short weeks later, this Independent Doctor stated there was nothing wrong with me, I did not need any additional medical treatment or aids & was 100% fit to return to full duties. I told him about all the medication I was on, not driving due to the 2 small bingles I had with my car, that I couldn’t read due to pain, couldn’t do simple math (censored details of job) & all the other issues as documented in my [censored]. He refused to look at it, saying he didn’t need it.
Within 2 weeks of receiving the IME’s report that was full of lies & inaccurate medical facts, I was completely cut off from Workcover weekly payments & medical expenses. I had no choice other than to turn to Centrelink. For the last 2 years my treating Doctor’s have said I shouldn’t need Disability Support Pension because it will make it harder for me to improve & return to work. So for the last 2+ years I have stressfully been dealing with the requirements to stay on Newstart & it all adds to my already stressful medical issues.
But this isn’t about me, it’s about how I believe you can save Billions of dollars. The easiest question is – why is Commonwealth money paying for all my medication & Doctor appointments, [censored] & Rent Assistance? I have had a serious [censored] injury that has affected my whole life. For the last [censored] years, while on [censored], my life consists of limited time on computer, watching TV & Doctor appointments. That’s about it. I do try to get out of the house but it’s hard when your Centrelink payments don’t even cover the monthly rent.
I do have a court case [censored] seen close to 40 different court related Specialist Doctors but I’m guessing the lawyers will get more money than I will because the Workcover Agent has done everything in their power to drag the case out & used every delaying tactic they can. And everyone stands around & let’s them. I don’t have the power to change the system, as I am in so much daily pain & confusion, but during my journey I have found other injured workers who are at different stages of their non-chosen journey with Workcover. A lot of them have been pushed off Workcover too & you hear about the lost houses, broken families & way too many lost lives.
I shouldn’t be on any Centrelink payment, the Australia Tax Payers should not be paying for my workplace injury when there was a real accident & real injuries (I’m not saying I’m the only one with real injuries). The reason I am on Centrelink payments is because the insurance company will do everything in their power to save money. They pay thousands of dollars to their paid for doctors reports- my [censored]injury & very complicated medical issues caused by the accident, was assessed by their [doctor], who never even waited for my MRI results. When he was shown other specialist reports stating their qualified opinions, he still stated that he was not qualified to give an opinion on them because he is not a specialist in that area, so he chose to ignore them! My lawyer pushed to have them send me to a [specialist in the field] who did agree with my medical issues & gave a very good report. But the WC Insurance employee decided the [specialist in the field] was wrong and [censored] didn’t accept his finding. How is that legal? How is a company trying to save as much money as possible, allowed to overrule a qualified opinion? Many qualified opinions?
I am not going to turn this into pages of lies & scams & bonus’ at the cost of my recovery & many others. This is about the insurance companies doing anything in the hope that injured workers end up walking away because the fight isn’t fair. If I knew what to do to get physically better, I would do it. My Specialist tells me to walk away from the court case – how do I do that when I am not able to work? There is now a very strong chance I will need [censored – major] surgery to try to control the pain that is all over my [censored]. Who should pay for this serious operation & recovery? The insurance company should be paying for it, but they would prefer to pay the legal teams, who are the only real winners.
So the Commonwealth may end up paying for this very expensive surgery because I deserve a chance to find a way to control the pain. I want to return to my productive life & be working again so, that Centrelink is no longer my only source of income.
Centrelink spends so much money on data matching & investigations to try to find those Centrelink customers who have claimed payments they shouldn’t be receiving. I think you should be finding out why the Commonwealth is paying for income & medical expenses that should clearly be paid by the Insurance companies. I can guarantee there is a s%!t load of money that the insurance companies are saving at the expense of the Australian Tax Payers.
I know you can’t respond about my specific case, I know there is Conciliation & other avenues to pursue my case. My injury was over [censored] years ago & I am lucky to have a great legal team who are doing all they can to finish the case so that if nothing else, I may have enough money to pay for my own treatments. But if I didn’t have the support of my fantastic family & friends I would not have made it this far. The financial support my parents have given me during this time have helped me get this far, but they are retired & shouldn’t be forgoing their needed things to help keep me alive.
I don’t have the know how or physical or mental ability to fight my own Workcover case, but I believe you have the ability to find out why our Commonwealth is paying injured workers so that the insurance companies don’t have to. These insurance companies are paying bonus’s, using delaying tactics, lying & cheating so that they make ridiculous massive profits at the expense of Australian injured workers. Who picks up the bill? Both the injured worker –all my savings & most of my Super has been spent on medical treatments & food – and the Australian Tax Payers. As an injured worker, we need someone to stand up for us, because no one listens to us, this is not about lazy injured workers who want money. This is about income & medical expenses that should be paid by the Insurance companies, not Australian Tax Payers.
Maybe a few of the staff you use in the fraud department could be trained in the complex area of Workcover. Then it would be their job to fight on behalf of the Commonwealth. To get the insurance companies to pay when they should, instead of the Commonwealth. I believe it would be highly beneficial for both Centrelink & Medicare. I know when [censored] case is over, every cent that Centrelink has paid me, will be repaid back out of my [potential] settlement. This is also why I get so frustrated about all the requirements for [Centrelink]– you are going to get the money back anyway, so leave me alone! I am sure you can understand why I think like that.
I have tried to read & reread this email to try to find & fix as many confusing bits & errors as I can see, but I know that I don’t always find them all. I believe I have made my point, but if you wanted any additional information about this, you are welcome to contact me via email. I don’t think it is in my best interests to give you my full details, as this correspondence is not specific to my issues. It would be nice to know that someone has taken the time to read my email and to let me know your opinion on my questions.
[post dictated by workcovervictim, images inserted on behalf of workcovervictim]