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What it means to be believed

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It means security. It means quality sleep. It means closure. It means, I was entitled.

It means everything I touched this morning, didn’t pose the question ‘how will I afford to replace this?’

And.

It means I rose above the monsters and didn’t let them defeat me. They didn’t get to keep something that belonged to me. Sadly they did destroy Theo’s and my most valuable belonging – our home.

I’ll be adding to this post as the insurer responds to the Medical Panel Opinion which finally arrived and states:

In the Panel’s opinion the worker has a current work capacity and, because of the injury, is, and is likely to continue indefinitely, to be
incapable of undertaking –
(i) further or additional employment or work; or
(ii) further or additional employment or work that would increase the worker’s current weekly earnings.

That’s not great news. I’m not thrilled I’ll never be the person I was -the person working five times what I call ‘work’ now.

I’m not being ungrateful – it’s just that nothing can compare with being 100% ‘able’. And this system gets away with their horrid treatment toward injured workers at this very point of an injured worker’s battle. The injured worker feels relief, grateful they won but they never needed the battle to begin with and they would have been better off not ever going through this process.

Of course, the injured worker moves on for fear of their boat being rocked again.

I fight that fear.

To think this whole system goes to such levels to deter injured workers – or as the system sees it – prevent injured workers from rorting the system. The process is so damaging to an injured worker, it is unacceptable, brutal, un-Australian, disrespectful and, I say this with no hesitation, down right corrupt.

The system and its employees should be ashamed.

I nearly walked away because this system made it so difficult for me to manage the administration of applying for my rightful benefits.

The system is worked out well.

Last time I submitted a 93CD application, the Panels’ opinion was contested by the insurer. At the time I couldn’t understand how a ‘binding’ opinion said to stand in Federal court could be disputed. That was clarified last September when the Ombudsman released its Investigation into the management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight:

Medical Panels are a key part of the dispute process. They can be used by the ACCS or the courts to resolve a dispute where there is disagreement or uncertainty about a worker’s injury or medical condition.

275. The Claims Manual reiterates the provisions of the WIRC Act, including that an opinion by the Medical Panel is final, conclusive and binding.
276. Contrary to the WIRC Act and Claims Manual, some agents have made decisions on claims in conflict with a binding Medical Panel opinion.

In a completely contrasting response to last time, the insurer has responded asking for pay slips, capacity reports and other information in order to process the compensation due to me.

A message left on my phone, yesterday by ‘my new case manager’ had the tone I didn’t recognise and the tone I’d use to describe a close friend’s. I had to repeat her message to Theo and afterwards we both stared at each other blankly. After the seconds of quiet, I walked away. It’s to difficult to believe even their pleasantness is real. And I won’t until I see the $$ in my account.

The voice was of the same person who stated ‘Queenscliff’s not that far from Melbourne’ when she last called just a few weeks ago, to dispute my travel and accommodation costs for the Medical Panels’ appointments.

I repeat, the system and its employees should be ashamed, the system is worked out well.

What’s in the Medical Panels’ Opinion?

I can’t bring myself to read it all. I only ever read the first Panels’ opinion and I still can’t get the tone and horrid psych descriptions out of my head.

I always disagree with a few of the ‘findings’ and there are always many incorrect details of which I can’t do anything about. No response is permitted, so therefore I may as well protect myself and just read the outcome, which is what ‘counts’.

Remember, this process is not about me or getting me back to work and all that counts is valid for its own sad existence.

 

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  • Mad as hell

    I’m sensing victory. Stand tall Soula, you’re fighting strength keeps me going in this revolting system. I will fight for my rights and not let this corrupt, insurance company run circus deny me what is rightfully mine. I’m now off weekly payments after a settlement amount that is insulting. I can never do my job again and I am now unemployed after working for 30yrs as a nurse. W/C have to pay for my medical care for the rest of my life but they have already begun trying to deny my specialists requests. When will the Royal commission be happening???

    • soula

      Revolting’ is such a great word! I think the hardest messages to read are the ones that come from nurses. After all you do to help others it is extraordinary to think that when you’re hurt, you’re not supported. Nurses and carers should have THE best support of all.
      Royal commission this year. I have already written to Senator Williams and included all of my blog posts in the letter. I believe the date he was receiving the shonky IME update was Sat 21. But I can’t recommend more than anything to write to the Ombudsman. Get your responses in writing from the insurer, let the Ombudsman know complaining to them is just a waste of time (it is!) and they will help you.
      I have been sent forms to fill… but how can you ever feel confident when you’ve experienced the shonky letter arriving in the mail disputing your safety net? I’ll never be confident. Only confidence I have now, is in the Ombudsman and the royal commission. No treatment support for me. It’s insane! You are a strength to me also and I can’t thank you enough for your support and messages.

  • Sue Carey

    Dearest Soula and Theo,
    My initial reaction is to say “congratulations”, but I sense your unease and complete disbelief or distrust at the outcome of your enormous battle.
    I will instead send you an enormous amount of love, support and massive wishes for you to see the results reflected in your bank balance…
    You have endured so much, both of you, so I hope that you can find time to relax, reflect and enjoy all that you have created together, without constantly looking over your shoulder and worrying about what people think.
    You are an inspiration and for that you deserve only good things to happen to you from now on; your pain is enough to deal with without having to justify its existence.
    So I sign off with hope in my heart that this horrendous episode in your life has finally come to an end, and you can move forward having slayed that dragon together!
    Much love, Sue xx xx

    • soula

      You are so dear and so caring Sue. Thank you for the love and support, it helps so much. It’s so hard to relax and let the thoughts go but I’m hopeful over time we will be able to. I hope sharing my experience has helped – it’s helped me express the anxiety, the grief and mostly given me a voice to speak with these monsters who are reading.
      You word it so well. Certainly does feel like we slayed a dragon. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get up again.
      Much love to you and I hope you are feeling well and adjusting to your new life. xxxx

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