Daniel’s story

Below is an article submitted to SafetyAtWorkBlog as a comment several days ago.  After much deliberation I have decided to publish this as an article for the consideration of readers and in the hope that someone may be willing to provide some practical assistance to Daniel.

Daniel has provided a phone number and email address to SafetyAtWorkBlog.  Please contact the Editor if you are able to help.

“This is my story. I have tried different other government departments last year to get some help all I have got is the runaround so I thought I would try here. I really don’t know how to word this or where to begin so I’ll start from 2003. I was working for a company here in Adelaide for about a year when I had an accident at work, a week later I was put on work cover my boss decided to get rid of me because I was no used to him anymore. I spent the next three years on work cover, setting at home and slowly going crazy I spent most of that three years fighting work cover to get them to do something to get me back to work but nothing ever happened. after losing my family and everything I had while I was on work cover,

“Finally I was offered redemption prayer out. It wasn’t much for the price I had to pay to be left with a permanent disability and plus I was suffering from depression from the time I spent on work cover I lost my identity as a person and felt completely demoralized. And feeling completely helpless, my biggest problem is I am left-handed and I have a permanent injury in my left arm, and I was warned by the doctors if I continue to do repetitive work with my left arm I could lose most of the function in my left arm permanently.

“The time I spent on work cover they traded me like a criminal for having an injury at work; it wasn’t worth any amount of money to have to spend three years of going through hell. I am thankful for what I received and the lawyers were happy to receive quite a big chunk of it. Anyway it gave me some hope to start over.

“Unfortunately after being on work cover it made it all most impossible for me to be able to get another job. After 12 months I was put on sentrelink disability payments where I stayed on up to 2009, then was put on normal centre link payments. In the beginning of 2010 I was made a stream4 where I am on now. Most of last year the job provider I was with just was not interested in helping me to get a job. I think probably because I wasn’t able to do very much with my left arm so they threw me in the too hard basket.

“I complained to the education Department because I wasn’t getting any help to find a job. A week later I was transferred to my job provider’s head office I explained to them I just want help getting a job the manager of the company promised me they will do everything they can to help me find a job. My case manager made appointment for me to see a job capacity assessor in the city the following week. When I had arrived to the appointment .she wanted to know about the time when I was on work cover apparently she was not a job capacity assessor she was a psychiatrist. And after the interview she told me that she was going to refer me back to center link. at that stage it was getting close to Christmas time and I was about to lose the place where I was living in.

“Just before Christmas sentrelink decided to make me 0 to7 capacity meant I could not get any help, I asked the lady at the center link office, why am I going around in circles, not been able to get a job, she told me that ever since you was on work cover the government put you in the too hard basket because they didn’t know what to do with you, and she also said I didn’t want to put you with another job provider because you have been on the system for over eight years, that’s why I am making you redundant so you don’t have to put anything on your unemployment form as far as looking for work for the next 12 months .

“Unfortunately I had to sell everything and moved out of my rental property two weeks before Christmas.

“I guess my West fear that now I’m facing having to leave on the streets. I spoke to centre link just after Christmas on 28 January this year .to try and get 0 to 7 capacity change so I can go to a different job provider to see if I can get accommodation and to get a job. Considering that I am a stream4, personally I think it’s a waste of time and it’s just like being on work cover all ever again. I spent one year with job prospects and they never bothered to try and help me to get a job. anyway I should be used to it by now, I have spent eight years of my life going around in circles with every government department and losing everything because of one stupid accident at work and I am still paying for that mistake, I find it hard to believe that my boss dumped me and never offered to even help me. He got a great deal from work cover he got to walk away from taking any responsibility for what happened to me. All I got was to suffer the consequences of not being able to go back to work and left with a permanent disability.

“Unfortunately no employer is interested in giving you a job if you have been on work cover and having a permanent injury. I am quite capable of working I do have a brilliant mind and I’m not bragging I do a lot of different fields of work from aircraft building to electronic engineering. I just want to get off this merry-go-round and get my life back.

“I have e-mailed the Prime Minister’s office to try and get some help and all so the premiers office and different government departments. But they are not interested at all; I got a call last week from somebody who claimed she was from the Prime Minister’s office and asked me how I was going with my new job provider. I said nothing has happened as yet, and then she slipped up, and said I spoke to you last year And then I realized she was not from the Prime Minister’s she was from the education Department, when I had asked her why did you just lie to me, she went quiet and ended the conversation, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised I’m used to hearing bullshit.

“So I decided to speak to the manager of my new job provider this week to see what my options are about getting another job, I don’t honestly believe I am going to get any help getting back to work from the job provider companies I can’t really blame them considering I have a permanent injury in my left arm and they just don’t know what to do with me, I mentioned to the manager that quite a few times over last couple years the job providers that I have been with have suggested that I should put claiming back into work cover, he thought that would be a good idea and it’s probably the only option you have got left.

“To be honest with you I am too scared to put another claiming to work cover I still have the bitter memories of what happened when I was on work cover. I do believe that work cover should be held accountable for the mistakes they have made in the past, and they should have tried Their very best to rehabilitate me to get back to work, instead of offering a measly redemption payout, to try and get rid of me, and expecting that it will last me for the rest of my life.

“I guess at the time I didn’t really have much of a choice, considering the insurance company that I was with QBE were no I longer handling my case and everything was moved back to work covers head office in 2006, and work cover did not want to deal with me anymore I didn’t have any choice I had to accept the redemption payout or I would’ve been kicked off work cover and put back onto unemployment benefits.

“We have all heard the horror stories of people being mistreated by work cover, I can promise you the stories are true. I was 37 years old when I went on to work cover I am now 45 years old and nothing has changed since. I am not asking for sympathy, and I especially do not want to hear just talk, actions will always speak louder than words, I still haven’t given up hope yet. So if there is anybody in this country who can actually help me would be much appreciative. I don’t have a fixed address because now I’m living in my car.”

Regards Daniel

20 thoughts on “Daniel’s story”

  1. hi everybody it’s Daniel here again
    I did actually managed to finally got myself back on my feet again, believe me I had days when I felt like I wanted to give up, I finally got another job in 2016 here in Adelaide but unfortunately after a couple of weeks I had an accident at work and now I am back on WorkCover LOL,by the way I’m not really laughing, it’s nice to know that nothing really has changed much with workcover they still treat you like a piece of s*** and a criminal, besides all of that, I have a really good lawyer this time, can you believe it I got a call from my claims agent on FRIDAY they want to reduce my weekly income back to my original income in 2006, I don’t know what it means or how it affects my income I HAVE attach what they are claiming, IF anybody knows what they are meaning can they please let me know
    REGARDS DANIEL

    Dear Mr Henriques De La Fuente,
    Weekly Payments Reduction
    We write in regards to the above noted claim for compensation and your weekly payments entitlement.
    Variation to Entitlement
    We refer to our original determination dated 30 June 2016 calculating your average weekly earnings at $840.41 gross per week.
    It has now come to our attention you received a redemption of your income support on a previous claim.
    Section 49(2) of the Act provides that:
    (2) If a liability to make weekly payments is redeemed (whether under this Act or the repealed Act), the worker is taken, for the purposes of this Act, to be receiving the weekly payments that would have been payable if there had been no redemption.
    It is therefore necessary to take into account the amount you are taken to be receiving per week in making weekly payments to you, and accordingly, Gallagher Bassett has determined to reduce your weekly payments to $367.41 to reflect the correct rate.
    Section 48(1)(g) of the Return to Work Act 2014 states:
    (1) Subject to this Act, weekly payments to a worker who has suffered a work injury must not be reduced unless –
    (g) the worker’s entitlement to weekly payments reduces because of the occurrence of some other event or the making of some other decision or determination that, under

    1. hi everybody it’s Daniel here again
      I did actually managed to finally got myself back on my feet again, believe me I had days when I felt like I wanted to give up, I finally got another job in 2016 here in Adelaide but unfortunately after a couple of weeks I had an accident at work and now I am back on WorkCover LOL,by the way I’m not really laughing, it’s nice to know that nothing really has changed much with workcover they still treat you like a piece of s*** and a criminal, besides all of that, I have a really good lawyer this time, can you believe it I got a call from my claims agent on FRIDAY they want to reduce my weekly income back to my original income in 2006, I don’t know what it means or how it affects my income I HAVE attach what they are claiming, IF anybody knows what they are meaning can they please let me know
      REGARDS DANIEL

      Dear Mr Henriques De La Fuente,
      Weekly Payments Reduction
      We write in regards to the above noted claim for compensation and your weekly payments entitlement.
      Variation to Entitlement
      We refer to our original determination dated 30 June 2016 calculating your average weekly earnings at $840.41 gross per week.
      It has now come to our attention you received a redemption of your income support on a previous claim.
      Section 49(2) of the Act provides that:
      (2) If a liability to make weekly payments is redeemed (whether under this Act or the repealed Act), the worker is taken, for the purposes of this Act, to be receiving the weekly payments that would have been payable if there had been no redemption.
      It is therefore necessary to take into account the amount you are taken to be receiving per week in making weekly payments to you, and accordingly, Gallagher Bassett has determined to reduce your weekly payments to $367.41 to reflect the correct rate.
      Section 48(1)(g) of the Return to Work Act 2014 states:
      (1) Subject to this Act, weekly payments to a worker who has suffered a work injury must not be reduced unless –
      (g) the worker’s entitlement to weekly payments reduces because of the occurrence of some other event or the making of some other decision or determination that, under

  2. has anyone looked at the suicide rate that is associated with workcover and centrelink, I have lost four friends and watched their families torn apart, treated as scum and left with the sense of blame and worthlessness
    I also was thrown away after being injured at work my friends deaths scared me to much to go near any government department

    Duty of care is for some but not for others

  3. We\’ve been through the hell too…my husband was sacked the week he had his injury by the company and had the ringaround since 2004. I was strong enough to stay with him as a team through thick and thin. Daniel…if you ever get stuck for Housing go to Wesley\’s Uniting Church or Anglicare SA and ask for a Social worker ok..don\’t ever let pride get in your way. Also, you might have to think about re-training through an adult school or TAFE. Hope you are well and keeping strong….and that goes for all of you on this circus run.

  4. daniel, i know what you are going through myself, i was working with the QLD state govt for 25 years and had a heart attack and found out i have severe heart disease, went in for a quadruple by pass in 2009 and could not work after using my sick leave before i tried to go back to work so with the operation and numbness done the leftside of my arm, plus depression, diabetes, titanium plate around the size of a computer mouse in my head i could no longer work, i was sent to a medical specialist that does supperanuation insurance agencies and workercover to see that i am not making it up, so it was done and i was classed as total and permantly disabled and was paid out my super which was then taxed 21.5% because i was 44 and not 65 so i was left with about $250,000, which soon dissappeared on loans and etc that we still had to pay and still had a $300000 mortgage, so i went to centrelink to see if i could get any help, i said my wife still works and we have a 9 year old daughter. yes we can help and then was told i can come back and see them for more appointmants and see a pscyatrist so once again that went ok then i get a letter from centrelink saying the wife is working and earning to much at $1500 over the limit per year so i just gave up, then more problems with my medical issues have come to my body with hemorraging behind the eyes which i am going in for laser in 2 days and diabetic feet problems but i have been trying for over 17 months to get some assistance with a disabled job access to get some sort of job to get some income was told by centrelink yes i can get help so they would say somebody from your local centrelink north of brisbane office would make a appoinment and acessment would be organised, i told them about my wifes income and i just want a job and i am not seeking payments from centrelink and they said it was ok and the same thing everytime someone will ring me and i went to centrelink office 3 times and they said they cant do anthing just ring centrelink in melborne or sydney by phone as they are the ones organising it as i am not on there system. this went on for months and months and months until i finally got a call in july this year and they said they cant do anything as my wife earns to much, then was told to ring companies that find you a job for disabled people which i did and all for said i must have centrelink payments for them to get money from centrelink and find me a job. once again a big run around. my heart is not getting better as it is a disease and with all of this stuff i had to deal with centrelink, its a wonder i am not dead now. daniel keep your chin up mate, its all one big lie at centrelink and all other government departments, but maybe they hight help us one day. peter

    1. Hi my name is dave i had a building accident two half years and snapped my feet in too after wking twos and no x rays they gave way because i keep working and had diabetes , wk cover dested that was the problem not the accident at wk i could go no but i think you getvit . Again i feel your pain and my heart goes out to all that is going though this . I to have deal with wk cover and center link your just put in the to hard busket . They hav done the same to me as they do to us all because they can as we have no money and Lawyers are thankles picks .

  5. Mark your story is horrific and sadly all too common.

    I am not sure as to why the advisor would suggest that you go back on WorkCover, simply because once the redemption was agreed to, you were seperated from WorkCover -unless you only took a future income redemption and left the medical component in place. Even so you would still only get your medical costs covered not your income as you are deemed to be still recieiving income (even though you are not).

    I don\’t have any suggestions for you only empathy, and that is not really what you need at present.

    The one thing I do know is that employers do employ injured workers.
    I only need to look at myself to prove that (I work part time to support the work that I do full time).
    I also have a list of injured workers who have gone back to work post redemption.
    One started out just deliverying the local paper just to get out of the house, then he picked up work mowing his neighbours lawns, now he is a supervisor working in a small warehouse 4 days a week.
    It took him just over 18mths to get himself back on track, but he did it on his own without CentreLink help.

    As for me, I have just started on the National Speakers Circuit talking about WorkCover and the impact it has on injured workers, which is a very long way from being a broken injured worker with an addiction to prescription medication.

    As I said I have nothing to offer other than empathy and the belief that there is a future for you.

  6. I too am going through a similar problem. In 2003 a chair snapped out from under me, and I slipped two disks in my lower back. That took a year to get over. I left the job that I did it with, because they were making it very uncomfortable for me to be there. I brought a franchise in driveway restoration, and my father did the manual side of things, and I did the bookwork and stuff. I gradually worked my way back, but the franchise failed, as the sold franchises willi nilli in the area, and my franchise was getting less and less work. $33,000 down the drain, I kept going with the business, and my back got better. Working hard, and not feeling that bad, but finding it hard to make ends meet, I got a job in sales, but that was a long way away, and my back was better, so I did manual labour again. 1 year of doing concrete reinforcing, and one day I was bending a bar, and I felt an awefully familiar pain in my lower back. I slipped the same two disks, plus one. That was in 2007. I was on work cover for the full period on 100 weeks or whatever it was. In this time I was having constant issues with managing the pain. They sent me to a work provider that said that we have to get you back into something you have done before in your past. In my resume, everything I did had physical aspects to it, and my back the way it was, I was not confident in it. It still gives me pain to this day. I am on tramadol everyday, and it disturbs my sleep. I\’ll cut a long story short in saying I am still out of work, and so far this year I have applied for over 50 jobs that I am not even confident I can do half of them physically. I have just had an interview that everything felt perfect in the interview, and It appeared the nightmare was over. I am always honest, and tell potential employers that I have been on work cover. I found out today I was unsuccessful, despite my seemingly perfect match to the position.

    A couple of realisations I have come to today, ONE……..gaps in my resume will now be filled by the false filler of that I have been doing my own business in that time. TWO……NEVER NEVER again will I be honest about being on work cover. The system has forced us to lie and get jobs with false history\’s and that is the only option available to me.

    I am lucky in the fact I have a wife that works, and that has magnificently stood by me all the way. We are struggling to keep our house, and our bills are always reading disconnection or last warning, or even solicitors notes. Our kids go to a christian school, that we could afford when I done my back, and we are fighting like crazy to keep them in there, as they love the school, and are settled there. Only problem, it is $17,000 a year to send them.

    My wife makes a decent wage, but it is all gone each week, and we live from her pay to her pay, with me bringing nothing in. Can\’t get centrelink, just have to lose our house and go to a public school.

    I won\’t be doing that. I have never been a lyer, but today has made me one through necessity.

    It is sad to here all these work cover stories, that the system chews them up and spits them out. But we all just have to realise that being honest to the system is not working. We need to lie cheat and claw our way back into employment, and try to make a life again for ourselves.

    They are not kidding when they say it is a dog eat dog world out there.

  7. Sad story. After 3 years of workcover myself (and with an education department) I know this is typical. The ombudsman, politicians and others have very limited powers, and would probably not use these powers if they could. I have found it incredibly frustrating to find no support. No-one wants to know. I believe Daniel has done everything he has been told to do. There really isn\’t much help available.

    Ending up disabled is a massively life changing experience. I can see how someone would want to just give up. There\’s medication and counselling, but they are much harder to find and maintain than you think. Finding a disability advocate was the best decision I could make – re like Safety Bloke (not one from centrelink or the personal support program). You can get a life back, but it won\’t be the life from before. Don\’t rely on, or expect anything from the government. A hard lesson to learn.

    I am getting back to some type of normal, with massively reduced life expectations. Going from a six figure salary to charity food. There\’s massive amounts of people in the same situation. I\’ve found the Red Cross particularly good and reliable.

  8. I feel for Daniel, I too was on workcover for a back injury for 3 years my employers were trying to find an alternative work for me but being a nurse they say it was not very easy.
    I was offered a redemption which i took they said i would still be able to work made it sound easy.
    Well a year later i have been for that many jobs i have lost count looks like i will never find work again as a nurse as soon as propective employers hear work cover thats it thet dont want to know you i too have joined a job network but so far they are unable to help.
    Good luck daniel hope things happen for you

  9. To the editor thank you for putting my story on your blog page, and can you please thank Rosemary for taking an interest in my story I would also like to thank the people who have given me some options on what to do I have followed them all up but I have been told that they can\’t help me I have all so followed up the work cover ombudsman and he has told me he will not be looking into my case because I have got the redemption pay out. I have got some calls back from these different departments in the government but I keep on getting told we have forwarded your letter On to another department. I have spoken to my job provided to day about getting assistance with commendation and as far as getting help you look for a job, I also have found a unit I wanted to discuss it with my job provider even though it is was a beat out of my price range my job provider said no we would not be able to help you with that, and they also said they cannot help me find a job unto I have my accommodation sorted out, I only get $430 per fortnight how in the hell can I afford to get any accommodation with that much and expected to buy food and pay bills. Without any help. It was the cheapest unit I could find for rent and it would have given me the ability to try and start the computer business but after today I have realized now I do not have any chance or am I going to get any help to get my feet back on the ground I\’ve run out of options and ideas there is nothing left that I can do now I have completely given up hope. So I have decided I am not going to waste another year going around in circles. So can you please remove my story of your website I just can\’t be bothered trying anymore all I can say is thank you very much for your help and it was much appreciated.
    Regards Daniel .HENRIQUES-DE-LA-FUENTE

  10. I also was building a full sized airplane that I started in 2006 a replica Spitfire that I was hoping one day I could manufacture I spent some money that I got from the redemption pay out to try and do something with my life, a got about halfway with it but I had to put on hold to try and at the end of 2006 see if I could get a job for the time being but unfortunately last year I had to dispose of it because I had no where to store it, but, I tried to sell it a couple times last year but didn\’t have any success considering it was only half finished anyway I kept all the drawings and and pictures maybe one day if I do get my feet back on the ground again, it\’ would be something I would definitely be looking out to do as business it has always been a dream of mine since I was a child, like I said in my letter I can work I am not completely helpless there are still things I can do it would just be nice if somebody would gave me a chance to prove myself.
    Regards daniel

  11. hi Col Finnie, yes I do have an idea of starting my own business doing computer and laptop repairs and upgrades that I am very good at I spent the last bit of money that I had to buy some equipment last year when I was with my old job providers they thought it was a good idea they did offer to help but nothing ever happened. anyway I\’ve spoken to my new job providers and showd them what I would like to do but they cannot do anything to I get my accommodation sorted out I need a place to work from to be able to do it and it will take some time to get it running and to generate some clients I would still need a job either full-time or part-time. I have looked at a lot of options but my biggest issue is the finances and accommodation I cannot do anything to I\’ve got that sorted out, thank you for your advice its much appreciated

  12. Have you considered applying for a New Start program Daniel? The people delivering the training for setting up your own business tend to have lots of experience and I\’ve good stories about successes. Things looking grim for ya now, but struggling with the monolith that is workers comp seems to be rife with the sort of situations you have had to go through. A wee business may not make ya rich, (it certainly hasn\’t done that for me) but finding an income stream free of the bastardry that can be ordinary employment is worth a thought.

  13. Hi Rosemary thank you for your support to be honest with you I have no idea what else I can do now I have emaild every government department in this country all I seem to be getting is calls back saing I have sent your e-mail to another department. I have contacted work cover Ombudsmen about the time I was on workcover and ask them if they can have a look at my case. I got a call back today from the secretary of the work cover ombudsmen. She said that they don\’t think they will be able to help me. I\’ve also sent a letter to the ombudsmen regarding my situation now but I still have not heard anything as yet, to be honest with you i think I am just wasting my time trying to get help

  14. Safety Bloke you are correct in that the only person who can rebuild Daniels life is Daniel, the rest of us can only step up to support him where and when required.

    Thank you for your kind words re Work Injured Resource Connection.

    Yours in service
    Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson
    Founder
    Work Injured Resource Connection

  15. Being from SA and working in the safety field stories such as Daniel\’s are not uncommon particularly since WorkCover outsourced its claims management functions. Originally this was to a number of insurance companies that bid for the work but more recently it has involved a single insurer – Employers Mutual. But these are all private companies with a primary interest in making a profit not providing the best of services to injured workers.

    Centrelink has a similar reputation for being less than helpful to its clients and particularly to those they consider, for whatever reason, to be a difficult cases.

    If Daniel wished to make sure that he has received his full entitlements under the WorkCover scheme he should contact the WorkCover Ombudsman, They are located at – Level 6 Chesser House, 91 – 97 Grenfell Street in the city and can be contacted by phone on 8463 6593, by email on owo@sa.gov.au and their website is at:
    http://www.wcombudsmansa.com.au/

    The Work Injured Resource Connection also maybe able to assist and can be contacted by phone on: 8410 0121 or email at: wirc@bold.net.au.

    Daniel could also try The Disability Information and Resource Centre at 195 Gilles Street in the city. Their phone number is 8236 0555, their email is dirc@dircsa.org.au and their website is at http://www.dircsa.org.au/

    Ultimately though, the solution to Daniel\’s problems lie with him. Others may be able to suggest things or to assist him but he\’s got to take responsibility for himself because it\’s his life. I had to find this out for myself after crushing 2 discs in my back in a work incident. I was 26, married with 2 kids in a small country town and was told I would never be able to work in my trade again – and they were right. I had to find something else to do and that\’s how I ended up in full time safety work. Took a bit of effort and some times I was tempted to give up but you just have to plug away. There are alternatives available, Daniel just has to find them and follow them. And remember, you\’ll always get paid more for using the muscle between your ears than any other muscle in your body.

  16. Daniel\’s story is horrific, it is sad and tragic and all too common.
    The work that I do every day is putting options in place for injured workers so that they don\’t end up on the workers compensation scrap heap of broken promises and broken dreams.

    All too often I have seen injured workers such as Daniel just simply churned through the system, proving income for the system providers but no outcome what so ever for the injured worker.

    I am hopeful that some where there is a community placement that can be found for Daniel to help rebuild his confidence and belief in self.
    Daniel would have transferable skills that if given the right support would once more allow him to be a valuable person within the community again instead of feeling as though the rest of his life will be spent living in a car.

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