A financial adviser has publicly called on the chief executive of Media Super to explain why a total and permanent disability claim for a very vulnerable client has been indefinitely delayed.
ClaimRight founder and Financial Planning Association of Australia board member William Johns wrote to Media Super acting chief executive Tony Griffin last week in a private message on LinkedIn.
His message to Griffin said one of Media Super’s members, a client of Johns’, was at risk of suicide after having a TPD claim through the fund (with group insurer Hannover Re) declined.
Following the declined TPD claim Johns sent a full appeal. That was in June and there has since been no correspondence from the insurer or the fund.
Johns received no reply to his private message to Griffin, so he decided to make a public post.
“I finally sent you Tony Griffin a personal message urging you to take action because the member is so badly mentally injured she is suicidal and at risk of homelessness,” Johns said in the post.
“This was a desperate plea from me to you to intervene. I labelled the message clearly. What do I get from you? Nothing. Are you too busy to care Media Super ?”
Financial Standard reached out to Griffin for comment. He said: “You can understand that the fund can’t comment on the details of individual insurance claims.”
“There are many factors that can determine the timeframe in which a claim is processed and subsequently paid. The fund is continuing to review the matter.”
Johns, meanwhile, said he has still had no response from the fund and is only growing more worried about his client.
The client has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and lost her job with the justice system as a direct result of her PTSD.
Media Super has already granted the woman access to her roughly $80,000 in retirement savings, acknowledging her inability to work.
But, the TPD claim for $110,000 was declined on the basis that the client had demonstrated an ability to work by babysitting one of her neighbours’ children.
“They’re claiming that looking after a child next door is gainful employment. It’s utterly false. When you’re not on any income you do what you can to sustain yourself and neighbours and friends might help you out by paying you,” Johns said.
“Even Centrelink acknowledges there should be times when people can make $100 here and there. We expect as a society that the system doesn’t prohibit people from doing that.”
Johns said his client has been a victim of crime in the past and is at risk of homelessness. Centrelink acknowledged the clients’ vulnerable situation and escalated its processes to push her payments ahead – something that is very rare in Centrelink claims, given the volume the agency deals with.
“I think it’s really hard to communicate what it really is like unless you have dealt with someone who is very vulnerable. You know it doesn’t take much to tip them over the edge,” Johns said.
“She is very vulnerable and Centrelink acknowledged that and approved her for the disability support pension. To get that pension is a much harder test than a TPD claim.”
He added that the fund has already essentially admitted that the client meets the threshold of total and permanent disability by opening up her superannuation account to her under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act provisions for permanent incapacity.
Johns said he hopes the apparent administrative delays aren’t a result of the pending merger between Cbus and Media Super.
“Can you imagine how many other people are suffering if the merger is impacting that? Our experience of Cbus has been good in terms of claims. I hope that if they do merge it might result in better outcomes for people who are very vulnerable,” Johns said.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do after a car accident in Australia?A: If you’ve had a motor car accident, stop your vehicle and turn on your hazard lights. Make sure nobody is injured, and if so, call emergency 000 and remain at the scene of the accident. If it’s a minor incident you don’t need to call the police, but move the damaged cars if possible. Never admit responsibility even if you think you were at fault. Collect name, address, registration number and insurance details from the other parties and get witness details if possible.How long does it take to make a motor vehicle accident compensation claim?A: Motor accident compensation claims are normally finalised after you’ve recovered, or your injuries have stabilised. It can take some people longer to recover than others – from days to years – which determines the length of time it can take to finalise a claim. Also, your injuries may not always appear immediately after the accident and can take some time to appear, in some cases, years.Who is at fault in a car park accident?
A: In a carpark, anyone driving in the lanes has the right of way, so if you’re the one pulling out of the car space and hit another motor vehicle, you are likely to be the majority at fault in the accident. However, since both cars are moving, both drivers might hold some responsibility. But if you hit a parked car, you are likely at fault.
How long after a car accident can you claim in Australia?A: When lodging a claim for compensation after a motor vehicle accident it’s best to do it as soon as possible. However, it isn’t always feasible if you were severely injured and couldn’t file a claim straight away. There are time limits, however, so get someone to call a lawyer at PK Simpson for you to lodge a claim at least within six months of the crash.How long do you have to make a personal injury
A: The length of time you have to make your claim depends on the jurisdiction.
TPD claims – these may be commenced up to 10 years after you’ve stopped work. TPD claims are very technical and you may have more than one TPD claim.
Car accident claims – A personal injury claim form should be filled in and sent to your CTP insurer as early as possible, but must be no later than six months from the date of your accident. HOWEVER, out of time claims may be made. New NSW CTP laws have made it difficult for injured people and many law firms still do not understand how to run new claims under these laws – so call us at PK Simpson Sydney as soon as possible.
Workers compensation claims – You should contact a lawyer within six months of the accident. But remember, out of time claims can be handled by PK Simpson Sydney. We can help you get the treatment required to build your claim.
Slip ‘n’ fall/occupiers liability claims – Your claim must be lodged usually within three years of the date of your accident.
Medical Negligence – within three years of the date of when the cause of action was discoverable to our client OR 12 years from the time of the act or omission which caused the injury through negligence.
How much does it cost me to make a motor vehicle accident compensation claim?A: At PK Simpson compensation lawyers we operate on a no-win, no-fee basis. However, for detailed information on the legal costs that can be charged for statutory benefits CTP Insurance car accident claims in NSW click on this link.
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