Comcare reveals public servants' bizarre compensation requests

By @mik_mapa on
healthcare
A mother holds her newborn baby in the hospital in Viseul de Sus in the Transylvania region of Romania, January 5, 2017. Reuters/Andreea Campeanu

Comcare has revealed weird compensation requests by Australian public servants including lawn mowing, longer coffee breaks and breast reductions. The insurer said that the requests had cost $60 million to the taxpayers.

According to the insurer, an obese Australian Bureau of Statistics clerk claimed that he suffered a psychological injury. He claimed to be plagued with fatigue, dizziness and breathlessness because he was bullied and harassed. He claimed that he was not able to mow his lawn and requested for a compensation. Unfortunately, the request was rejected. The Administrative Appeal Tribunal believed that his wife and two adult children could mow the lawn one to two hours a fortnight.

Another public servant claimed that her nose and mouth were injured after pulling a light fitting off the wall during a wild romp. The incident happened while she was having sex in a motel room during a work trip. The case was carried on for six years and cost taxpayers more than $600,000. The insurer won the case and no compensation was given to the public servant.

In another case, a breast reduction compensation was requested to the insurer by an ATO worker. The worker demanded $20,000 for the procedure which cost taxpayers more than $100,000. According to the worker, the size of her breasts gave her a neck and shoulder pain. However, the insurer ousted it by saying to the Federal Court that the surgery was not related to her work. She had the surgery but not granted the compensation.

An ATO worker demanded longer coffee breaks as she claimed that her dietary requirements required her to take organic coffee and soy milk. The worker said that it took her more than 15 minutes to find a cafe during her morning coffee break. She claimed that the unreasonable treatment by her boss has triggered her adjustment disorder. The insurer rejected the compensation.

The insurer said that it needed to fight the bizarre claims to maintain the compensation scheme's integrity. A spokesman said that failure to do it would lead to increased legal costs to resolve disputes. It would also expose the scheme to more claims testing the boundaries of the legislation.

The Comcare spokesman added that the company continually monitors disputed claims with a view to earlier resolution wherever possible. The Comcare spokesman said that once the case progress into the Federal Court of the High Court and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the legal costs escalate considerably.