Sarim Attique discussing Police Compensation & Superannuation Law on 2GB - 25 May 2021
Sarim Attique providing Q & A on the 2GB with Deborah Knight discussing Police Compensation & Superannuation Law 25 May 2021
DK – Deborah Knight /SA – Sarim Attique C1,2,3, etc – Callers
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Read the transcript below:
DK Time for some free legal advice and if you’ve got a question, 131 873 for Turner Freeman Lawyers. This week a new topic. Police compensation and superannuation. So maybe you’re a serving police officer and you’re not sure how to access schemes made for you. Get in touch. 131 873 or you might be retired, but you might be having problems with a compensation claim. Well, Sarim Attique at Turner Freeman Lawyers is on the line to take your questions and we have our $100 Westfield voucher to give away for the best call. 131 873. Sarim, thank you so much for joining us. Tell me about the police officers – the specific compensation scheme – because it is set up for officers themselves.
SA That’s correct. So, there’s – in particular there’s two different schemes – one being a pre-88 scheme and a post-88 scheme. The crucial date being 1 April 1988. So if you were a sworn officer prior to that date, you fall under the pre-88 scheme and there is differing entitlements because it falls from two different types of legislation but ultimately, they are the workers compensation entitlements. Now, a majority of officers nowadays fall under the post-88 scheme having joined after 1988 which means you fall – you are classified as a worker in the scheme of things. Now, even as a worker in the workers compensation area, you still have – you are classified as an exempted worker which means you’re not really affected by the reforms that happened in the workers compensation area. So, you have certain rights that are tailored to these emergency workers and one of them being police officers in particular.
DK And what does it cover you for while you’re on duty? whether you’re injured – maybe impacted by some sort of mental health issue by following a case or from being on the front line?
SA Well that’s right, and you see a lot of these types of injuries – especially with the type of work that police officers do and in particular with everything has happened over the last 12 months – whether it be bush fires or floods and COVID as well. So, there is avenues for you to – if you are unable to work as a result of your injury, you pursue workers compensation payments which will supplement an income in a way for a certain period of time and that’s normally up to about the nine month mark where you can claim a pre-injury wage and that’s particularly tailored to police officers and there are certain hurdles you have to jump over in particular if you get there – but then after that you’re even entitled to a further payment which is the statutory rate which is a reduced amount but that follows at nine months along with income protection that flows from your superannuation and if you are unfortunately discharged or retired from the police and cannot work as a result of your injury, then you are also entitled to claim superannuation insurance benefits in the form of a total and permanent disablement claim. But if we keep going with the workers compensation, you’ve got the injury supplement, you’ve got you know – the insurer – if they accepted liability can also pay your medical and treatment expenses for you to go and obtain that treatment and if…… try and get to back to work if it can be. And then you’ve also got the avenue to seek a potential lump sum claim which has its certain thresholds for psychological injuries and certain thresholds to meet for extended compensation rights.
DK And how is this sort of compensation different to what’s available to all workers?
SA So for all workers for example, you – let’s focus on the lump sum compensation for a moment and with that you would only be entitled to bring one claim for lump sum compensation. So as a police officer, if you’ve injured yourself and so for example, you suffered an injury to your shoulder and you’ve made a claim for compensation but then as time goes on you’ve had to have a surgery which in a sense has deteriorated – your injury has to deteriorate for you to go off and have to get a surgery – you’re then entitled to come back and make a further claim or deterioration as a top up between with the differing assessments basically. So you get a top up of your lump sum compensation claim – where you wouldn’t be entitled to do that as a non-exempt worker.
DK Is it a complicated area to navigate? The fact that you are a specialist in this field would indicate that it is.
SA It’s crucial that you go and get the proper legal advice from solicitors that do this type of compensation – like here at Turner Freeman, we’ve got a team with over nearly 50 experience combined that does that kind of work.
DK So what are some of the cases you come across? Give us some examples.
SA So you’ve got a lot that are PTSD unfortunately and that comes as a result of the exposure that they’ve had as a NSW police officer in the front line having to attend a number of incidents that ultimately builds up in a lot of these officers and where they suffer a psychological injury, which then – you see the effects of it on – with their family on their everyday life – their inability to work and there is certain entitlements there for you to pursue in order for you to support your loved ones but also then trying and get yourself back to some kind of work or you know treatment or some kind of rehabilitation and that shouldn’t be your cost.
DK Well it must be quite difficult too to prove something like PTSD – prove that you’ve received the psychological injury from your work directly as a police officer.
SA Well that is right as well Deb. They are difficult cases and in doing so you need to get that legal advice as to trying to prove that but then there’s also a lot of literature over the years with respect to first responders now and psychological and there’s a lot more awareness around these types of injuries whereas compared to something like a shoulder injury or a back injury, they are very evident injuries……..
DK Of course.
SA and you’ve suffered an injury but a psychological injury there’s a lot more to it and also we’re being able to speak up about it – that’s another issue in itself in dealing with these types of injuries and accepting the fact that you may need to get some help.
DK And what about the family members – the loved ones of police officers who suffered physical or psychological injuries? Can they also make claims?
SA They can, but there are certain schemes underneath that – not so much in the sense – that you can claim under the workers compensation rights but for example a spouse has to leave work to care for their partner in a way because they are unable to do certain things around the house and they need a full-time carer, you can be compensated for doing that kind of work through workers compensation in the form of domestic assistance – or get the assistance at home – to help support the families to enable to be able to deal with this perse. So in terms of under the Workers Compensation Scheme, there isn’t so much under the post-88 scheme that you may very well be able to pursue compensation for anything that’s happened to you as a result of the workers compensation injury – but having said, there is always assistance there for you to obtain through the insurer.
DK Well it’s good to know that you’re there to offer that help and if you do want to get in touch, Turner Freeman Lawyers. They provide a range of specialised legal services including compensation and negligence law; asbestos litigation, superannuation and disability claims, employment law, Wills and Estate and property law and of course with the police compensation and superannuation area as well of which Sarim Attique is a specialist. Sarim. Thank you so much for your time.
SA Thank you Deb. Appreciate it.
DK You get in contact directly with any of the team at Turner Freeman. Their website: turnerfreeman.com.au or give them a call directly – 13 43 63.