Worker convicted of fraudulent compensation claims

A 54-year old worker was convicted of claiming $13,597 in benefits to which she was not entitled to receive.

A woman who was injured and have returned to work, but did not declare it continued to receive benefits and medical certificates which said she was unable to work. Frankston Magistrate Rodney Crisp convicted the worker and fined her after she pleaded guilty to fraudulently receiving payments under the Accident Compensation Act. She was ordered to pay $1500 in court costs.

The court heard that the worker lodged a workers’ compensation claim for a lower back injury in April 2010, while working as a sales representative. Surveillance on her in December revealed that she was working for a non-declared employer in the same position.

Doctor’s certificates submitted by the worker stated that she is not fit to work.

Director of WorkSafe’s Return to Work Division, Dorothy Frost said that most injured workers did the right thing in terms of their claim, but also said that there was a lot at stake with dishonesty offences.

“Apart from the fraud and having to repay the money relatively quickly, convictions are serious matters which can seriously limit work, financial and travel opportunities.

“The system is there to ensure people who are hurt at work get the support they are entitled to under the law. It is paid for by the community, so when it is undermined, everyone pays.

“Returning to work in the right way means many, perhaps, unforeseen consequences can be avoided, and importantly an individual’s quality of life is maximised.”

This incident prompted WorkSafe to call on workers to do the right thing when going back to work after an injury.

“With the support of your employer who will have identified suitable duties, and your treatment team, great outcomes can be achieved as long as it’s medically safe,” said Ms Frost.

“If you have the capacity to work you can declare it, still get treatment, benefits, and get back on the job. It need not be your former role and it can be on reduced hours, but it’s important to do it correctly.”

More information on workers’ compensation matters can be found at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or by calling WorkSafe’s advisory service on 1800 136 089.

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