5 things you need to know about worker’s compensation in Australia
Today I’m sharing the 5 things you need to know about being on Worker’s Compensation in Australia. I am specifically based in New South Wales and my insights come from that location specifically.
Here’s a quick rundown. I was physically and verbally abused at work. I was bullied by my employer. I experienced gaslighting and outing of my personal medical information. This resulted in Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and PTSD. The stress resulted in a TMJ Disorder and, now, while my depression, anxiety and PTSD are under control my TMJ continues to play a major part in my life. Now that’s all sorted, let’s get on to the 5 most important things you should know:
The insurance company does not care about you. They will do everything they can to get you off worker’s compensation. They are supposed to be in place to help you get better but they will do everything they can to ensure you don’t. They will not pay you on time. They will ignore your emails. They will delay treatment. They will exceed the allotted amount of time for approval. It will be your job to chase them up. Don’t be afraid of them. They are rude and vindictive. Keep going. The only person who cares about you getting better is you.
Always include your case number and add their generic email address to all emails you send them. My insurer waited months to tell me this and was their excuse for never paying me on time. Go into it knowing you need to do this and you’ll be fine. Follow up with them. Chase them. Don’t be afraid of annoying them.
There is a set amount of time they have to approve or deny treatment. For me, this is 21 days (it may differ in different states). The insurer will not tell you this. Nobody will tell you this. Before I knew this I waited 6 months and more for essential treatment. You will need to chase them on this. You can also contact IRO. If the insurer ignores you go to IRO. In fact, go to IRO for everything. But remember: IRO can’t perform miracles.
They will send you to Independent Medical Examiners. Some of these are good and some will lie. Luckily, I have only been to 1 who has written a report with misinformation. You are allowed to take a support person with you. You are allowed to request to record the appointment. Know your rights. The insurer can send you to an IME who is not a specialist in your injury. They do not care.
Get a solicitor. The insurer will do everything they can to avoid paying for things. Get a solicitor and work with them, along with IRO, to get what you are owed.
Being on worker’s compensation is infuriating and scary. I am in pain all day every day. I dream about dying because of my jaw pain. I am here because of what my employers did to me and, yet, my insurer does not want to pay for surgery. They don’t want to do anything. They will act like you are a criminal. The case managers have no actual training to help people with health issues. You need to help yourself. Keep track of everything. Be a pain in their ass.
If you are just beginning to navigate this system I will say it does get better but it only gets better because you will eventually stop caring about all the emotional turmoil they put you through. Go in expecting nothing. Go in fighting for yourself. Nobody else can do it — believe in yourself, fight for what you need and don’t give in. We’ve got this.
* I am more than happy to be contacted further if you need any support — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.