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Sarim Attique providing Q & A discussing Police Compensation & Superannuation Law – 6 April 2021

Sarim Attique providing Q & A on the 2GB with Joe Hildebrand discussing Police Compensation & Superannuation Law 6 April 2021


JH – Joe Hildebrand /SA – Sarim Attique C1,2,3, etc – Callers


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Read the transcript below:

JH       Yes it is time for Legal Matters – you know what to do. 131 873. Get you some free legal advice. It’s free in 6 minute [billable] increments.  Ah, give us a call 131 873. 131 873. And this week, we’re looking at police compensation and superannuation. Are you a serving police officer and not sure how to access schemes made for you? 131 873. Give us a call. Maybe you’ve now retired from the force and you’re having problems with a compensation claim? Well the guy knows all about that and what to do about is Sarim Attique – as I said at Turner Freeman Lawyers – I used to deal with when I was an industrial reporter at The Daily Telegraph doing asbestos stuff – we’re going to chase that up with them later on as well, but Sarim’s on the line to talk to us about police compensation and superannuation and we have a $100 Westfield voucher to give away to the caller who asks the best question.  It’s not just free – you get money. Or at least a voucher to get money.  Sarim, thanks for your time.

SA       Thanks ……

JH       Welcome. I’m not a police officer obviously – so you’ll have to explain this to me but there’s a specific compensation scheme for police officers isn’t there?

SA       That’s correct – there’s really two major schemes for police officers and the best way to classify them would probably – the best way to call them would be a pre-88 and a post-88 scheme now; the crucial date in that being 1 April 1988 – now if you are a police officer and you were attested and sworn in, in NSW prior to that date, you have a different scheme to anyone that was attested after that date. So, for example.  For pre-88’rs, if you are discharged and hurt on duty and you can no longer provide the services of a NSW Police Officer, you would receive a pension for life and now that pension can be increased in accordance with the economic capacity and also certain risks that you were exposed to as a NSW Police Officer. Now, that goes on and you can also claim lump sum compensation and the payment of your treatment expenses; and the treatment of your treatment expenses will either be paid by the NSW Police Force or the insurer who is Allianz in that case.

JH       So there’s a whole range of different schemes depending on how you leave the force whether it’s a medical discharge, the lump sum payment, the pension ah…… and does this apply to obviously we are going to Queensland – Does it apply to QLD police? NSW Police? Federal Police?

SA       So these schemes apply specifically to NSW Police Officers. So going back – so if you were sworn in after 1988, the Workers Compensation Scheme will apply to you. Now, as a police officer those rights still differ because police officers are considered to be exempt workers like firefighters and paramedics – so those workers compensation reforms don’t apply and you therefore you receive a different scheme within the Workers Compensation Scheme as well.

JH       And that’s carved out obviously because like other emergency workers, their line of work, they face a life and death situations all the time and …..

SA       Yes that’s correct.

JH       ………therefore need a special scheme just dedicated to them.

SA       That’s correct – yes. So there are certain extra payments that are made as an exempt worker – as opposed to an 88’er – and you’ve also got your entitlements to weekly compensation, your entitlements to medical and treatment expenses, lump sum compensation and domestic care and assistance as well through the Workers Compensation Scheme.

JH       And not that anyone I don’t think would begrudge them this but I assume it’s more generous than the usual Workers Compensation Scheme that others would get?

SA       I would say so, yes. Yes it is – it is more generous in saying that – but it is also – there are certain hurdles you have to get over in order to get those compensation entitlements.

JH       Okay. 131 873. Give us a call if you are a police officer or you’ve recently left the Force and you have any questions at all for Sarim or you are having a few issues getting your entitlements – Tony from Parramatta is on the line.  G’day Tony – how are ya?

C1       Hello mate – how are you?

JH       Yeah – really good.

C1       I was in the ……….Thanks mate –yeah good listening to you.  I was in the police for 17 years – I’d just been recently medically retired.  A TPD – I had physical and of course the PTSD that comes along with it. Look I went through another legal company – no disrespect to your good man there – but look – I found that if you’re not a pre-88’er and I wasn’t – it’s very very very tough.  And I’ll explain why. Firstly, I had great lawyers and I can’t complain and thank God for them for being around because they really do – you don’t realise how good a lawyer can be until you’re in difficulties yourself. It’s really important to have this support. The thing is, in my circumstances I had the TPD super and I had the compensation for the injuries as well – but look at the end of the day, I didn’t even get enough you know to even put a deposit on a house these days and I’m only fairly young and I do get a support for another few years yet from the Police – well from the TPD compensation – but look at the end of the day, I’ve got to tell ya – it’s not a really good scheme. We are not protected. If you’re a pre-88’er, you’re laughing – honestly. But we are you know – I don’t if it’s my age being you know in my early 50s/mid-50s; But at the end of the day mate, in a couple of years’ time, I’m really bloody nervous as to what is going to happen to my life because 17 years of serious injuries, all done on the job you know – and I’ve put 100% into my job – and I don’t feel like I’ve been looked after in any way or form and I’m not blaming the lawyers – it’s not their fault – they did the best they could for me but it was all pre-determined before I even went to Court.  I was you know – what – I’d just like to know what your lawyer thinks about it and how?

JH       Yes for sure.

C1       And there are so many police out there suffering you know – there’s a lot of injuries and a lot of worried police about the future.

JH       Yeah – absolutely mate.  Um, I’d like to know that as well.  Sarim, were these post-88 – was this scheme actually designed to make it harder to get compensation? To make this scheme less generous and make it more difficult to access?

SA       Well, in comparison with the pre-88 Scheme -it is less generous. The pre-88 Scheme is one that was made a long time ago and with the incoming of the Workers Compensation Scheme, more of it was inclined with any workers compensation whether it was for a police officer or not for a police officer – it is inclined in a way to get you back to work and it is unfair. And with these types of claims with NSW Police Force Officers –they are disputed quite heavily by the insurance companies and that’s what I meant earlier by when I said there are quite a few hurdles that you would have to get over and in terms of your case Tony – I’m sorry to hear about the injuries that you suffered and your long service with the NSW Police Force and that at times like this, it is – it can be hard and I do understand that because a lot of clients go through that. Now every case does differ on its own merits and I can’t really speak to your case in particular, but going back to the Compensation Schemes, yes I do agree that the pre-88 Scheme is more generous.

JH       And for people like Tony who are caught in the post-88 scheme, is there a way for them to actually, I suppose, when they’ve been knocked back or the insurers have knocked them, is there an appeals process they can go through? Is there a way they can I suppose fight on or are there any avenues they can go down to get what clearly, Tony feels is rightfully his?

SA       Oh yes – of course – so if you’re knocked back in terms of your workers compensation – you’ve got the right to appeal to what’s now called the Personal Injury Commission where there will be a decision made in terms of liability – in terms of your workers compensation – now with TPD matters and your total and permanent disability cases, that’s more – it can end up in litigation as well so……..

JH       So you can actually take it Court….

SA       That’s right.  Now depending on how the claim is; what kind of claim was run for Tony – if he pursued a lump sum claim – for example – for your physical injuries and your psychological injury and you received an impairment rating of 15% or more – you are entitled to bring what’s called a work injury damages case as well……..

JH       Right.

SA       Which you’re suing in negligence for a breach of duty of care. Now one of our team members here at Turner Freeman has been doing this kind of work for a very long time and back in the year 2000 was the first person to run a psychological case for PTSD for a police officer in negligence for breach of duty of care and that sort of set the pattern for bringing those cases forward for the last 20 odd years now.

JH       There you go. Sarim. Thank you very much. Give us a call 131 873 if you are affected by this.  131 873.  We’ll take a quick break and then we’ll come back with Barbara from Georges Hall who got a pre-88 pension. She was one of the lucky ones it seems and it wasn’t even [for/from her] it seems. We’ll be right back for more questions.

Welcome back to Afternoons – I’m Joe Hildebrand. We’re joined by Sarim Attique from Turner Freeman and we’re talking about the Police Compensation Superannuation Scheme which is a very complex and tricky one divided into 2 parts. The pre-88. Pre- 1988 that is and post 1988 Scheme and Barbara from Georges Hall has called in – she’s on a pre-1988 pension.  Barbara, tell us your circumstances.

C2       Oh.  Hello…..

JH       Hello – Hi Barbara.  How are you?

C2       Oh – hello – you can hear me.  Thank you.

JH       Yes.

C2       Look. My husband was pre-88 – from 1968 when he joined the Force and when he retired in 2003, he was getting say 80% of his wage which was good – but now, I receive that pension because he’s deceased – but I don’t get that – I only get 62. something pension and it’s not much more than what you get from Centrelink and it’s indexed with only a few dollars a year – so, I’m going to have to end up going on a pension because it won’t be enough to live on – but if I was getting that same amount for the wage today – what they receive today – oh I’d be laughing.

JH       There you go.

C2       So, I think it should be increased. I think so it’s not that good – it’s not as good as people think it is.

JH       Well Barbara – I can tell you we are going to give you a $100 Westfield gift card and that will hopefully do something – I know it’s not a long term solution.  Sarim. Can you tell us – is this – is this a real problem – is there something she can do – Barbara can do to appeal this? Or is that just the way it goes now and she’ll have to go on to the regular pension once the money runs out?

SA       Hi Barbara – sorry – my condolences for your husband’s passing.

C2       Run out……….it will……

SA       Yes. Now the pension you are receiving would be a spousal pension that comes from the initial – the police pension that your husband would have been receiving previously. Now, there’s – when such a determination is made with respect to that pension, we’ll have to have a look at – it would have been made under the 12C Regulations.  Now that decision – to appeal that decision, you’d have – there’s a strict time limit that normally applies and that’s normally within 6 months to determine what benefits you would have received. Now, having said that, there is always avenues around that for us to have a look at. I think in your case in particular, your case would probably require a bit more information for us to have a look the determination that was made with respect to your pension before we can actually provide some legal advice on that matter and I’d be glad to have a further chat with you about this and possibly if you could provide me with some of the documents, I’d be in a better position to tell you.

JH       Fantastic. Thank you for that Sarim. We’ll get Barbara’s details and all the relevant documents to you. Thank you very much Sarim Attique from Turner Freeman and Turner Freeman Lawyers of course provide a range of specialised legal services including compensation and negligence; asbestos litigation as I mentioned, superannuation and disability claims, employment law, Wills and Estate and property law and if you want to get in touch with any of the lawyers of Turner Freeman, visit or call them on 13 43 63.


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