Medical/ Invalidity Retirement
Unfortunately a few years ago I was sexually harassed, bullied and threatened by my superior at work.
I eventually reported it and Comcare accepted my claim. I have gone through all sorts of treatment options for my PTSD, anxiety, GAD, panic attacks and other mental health issues but have not improved.
My employer has decided to send me for an S36 review to assess my eligibility for medical redundancy.
Based on several other specialist reports I have no doubt that medical retirement will be recommended.
I just don't know what to do or how I feel about this. I am only 39 years old. I have suffered tremendously emotionally, physically and financially due to this psychological injury. I am now on 70% of my actual income and I no longer receive super contributions etc. Over the 4 years since my date of injury I have lost hundreds of thousands.
I've contacted my super fund and been advised about the huge tax penalties I will need to pay.
I don't understand how this is fair?
Being forced to access my super early is not a positive thing. I lose so much of my super to Tax due to my young age.
Worse still, my super doesn't even come close to covering my mortgage. I was the sole income earner and a single mother to one child.
Surely this isn't right?
What happens if I sue them? If I'm successful will I be paid a lump sum? What happens then? What if I pay my house off then am left with nothing? How do I live the rest of my life?
This system is so incredibly unfair. I am the victim and suffer enough emotionally. Why am I also penalised financially too?
Any advice would be appreciated?!?
Please and thank you.
I've read your post, and like many can understand very well and sympathies. Posting here may seem a strange adventure, however it helps you tap a resource, people that have been down similar paths in their illnesses and wish to use their experiences to help.
I was invalided out of my career in the police with PTSD, Depression, anxiety and all the rest. This presented me with two problems.
Obviously there was the financial one, and I too ended up with 70% of base salary, plus a little more. I also have both the illness to contend with and the loss of occupation, identity, mode of life, even the way I thought.
I can't advise you on how to fix things up financially - frustrating as that's probably the main reason you posted.
I do kow of another in similar circumstances who sued his employer for negligence and won. (He was a Comcare recipient, suing Comcare is not appropriate, its the employer if aplicable).
Take 2 – please ignore the previous messages, was only a work-in-progress
I've read your post, and like many can understand very well and sympathies. Posting here may seem a strange adventure, however it helps you tap a resource, people that have been down similar paths in their illnesses and wish to use their experiences to help
No it’s not fair, and there is no easy answer (well that I know of anyway)
I was invalided out of my career with PTSD, Depression, anxiety and all the rest. This presented me with two problems
Obviously there was the financial one, and I too ended up with part base salary, plus a little more. I also had both the illness to contend with and the loss of occupation, identity, mode of life, even the way I thought
I can't advise you on how to fix things up financially - frustrating as that's probably the main reason you posted
I do know of another in similar circumstances to myself who sued his employer for negligence and won. (He was a Comcare recipient, suing Comcare is not appropriate, it’s the employer if applicable)
It took him around 2 years, involved a lot of groundwork he had to do personally and he was very fortunate in having a sympathetic lawyer. He also had iron-clad grounds. I think he ended up with enough to pay off his house – I’m not sure
This course is not for the faint-hearted and involves a risk, if one does not win one may be up for expenses that were not anticipated. I personally did not choose to go down that course, even though I could have. To stressful, too risky
As I had tried to soldier on in my occupation my collapse when it came was pretty complete and treatment more difficult. I’m still not 100% but out of sight better than I was
Dealing with PTSD, anxiety, depression is something where you may have a win on two counts. Firstly if properly treated most people respond well
Secondly with strong support from a medical professional (GP, psychiatrist etc.) Comcare should foot all medical expenses, including travel if appropriate. They also have an appeals system if you are unhappy with any of their determinations. You will no doubt have a Case Officer there who may be able to help with their procedures
I found that Centerlink financial advisors were very helpful in sorting out if you were entitled to any fraction of benefits and how to set things up in the best way – that was just my circumstances, maybe not yours
I’m out of space
Please post back, we will listen out for you
Thank you so much for your reply.
I'm sorry to hear of your psychological injury. That hits very close to home as many of my family members are/have been Police Officers and my son who is currently in college also plans on joining the AFP. I really hope he doesn't end up with a psychological injury from work, I worry about that almost daily and he hasn't even joined yet. My Grandfather who was an Officer I'm sure suffered from depression following his brother in law (also a Police Officer) taking his own life after leading a horrific case. But back then mental illness wasn't recognised as it is now.
I have since spoken to my case manage from work and she has told me more about the process and has cleared up some "mistruths" my Comcare claims manager had told me.
I am extremely lucky to have an extremely knowledgeable case manager - finally. The most important thing she told me (that I was not aware of before) is that I can apply to get a permanent impairment lump sum and it will not affect my weekly comcare payments - they will pay me (if I do not improve) up until I am 65 years old.
I'm still going to seek legal advice as I too have an iron clad case against my employer. I have a letter from them stating my superior broke several of the APS codes of conduct and every report from an independent medical professional supports my psychological illness and their recommendation is that I have no capacity to return to work - sadly. I hope one day I can prove them wrong.
Thank you again. And I hope you continue to improve and return to a pre-injury life!
Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. Thank you for telling us your story and showing so much courage. It's no light thing to contend with circumstances like yours daily. And on top of that you must plan for your future with no certainty that you will have the financial resources.
I wish I could tell of other success stories in this area but is not the case. Although I know about Comcare, and WorkCover come to that, my experience has only been with day to day claims. I have to say I am amazed that you will be hit with taxes if you withdraw your superannuation. Of course these rules are put in place to stop people doing that but when you have no choice in circumstances such as yours it is iniquitous.
Although my circumstances are nowhere near as horrendous as yours I do understand about the the feeling of being victimised by the original event and constantly further victimised by having to jump through all the hoops leaving you at the end with money or prospects. I am very sorry that you are in such dire straits.
It's great news that you have a knowledgeable case worker and one that is prepared to work hard on your behalf. I am amazed how organisations such as Comcare allow half trained people to manage claims.
What is happening for you about your mental health? You say you have seen a number of specialists but I gather these are only to assess your medical condition. Do you meet regularly with a mental health professional? It's probably an obvious question to ask but it's such an important part of your journey back to health.
Retirement is difficult for those who retire at an early age. We are taught that our job defines us and gives us legitimacy in the community. And many people stay on working because they have nothing else in their lives. I retired eight years because I was constantly tired. I discovered afterwards that it was the result of a medication I was taking. Not much to do about this and I would have retired in a few years anyway, but the GFC attacked my super which I could have increased by working for a couple of years.
If you are going to have a reasonable income while the court case grinds its way through system, may I suggest you look at what you can do. If you are going to get a TPI lump sum or a pension to keep a roof over your head it's worthwhile planning what you are going to do with your life. It is imperative for your mental health that you feel you are contributing to the community. Oops no words left.