When a person is in a position where they require compensation, they are usually going through a difficult time in their lives.
Most people make a claim in situations where they or a family member have sustained catastrophic injury, be it at the workplace, in a car accident or due to medical negligence.
In almost all cases, receiving compensation can make an incredible difference. Money often covers medical bills, buys people recovery time when they are away from work and helps them get back on the road to good health.
It can also help to ease the financial burden left on family members who are related to someone who has been in an accident.
Yet some people apply for compensation for all the wrong reasons, seeing it as a source of extra income rather than an emergency solution.
This is not only unfair to those out there who have a real and urgent need for reimbursements, it can also end up costing the false claimants a lot of money further down the track.
On Friday last week (August 3), state minister for finances and services Greg Pearce fined a 55-year-old woman from Sydney $6,000 and ordered her to pay back $14,000 for claiming workers compensation when she was currently working two other jobs.
In addition, a 48-year-old man from the Central Coast must conduct 200 hours of community service and repay nearly $20,000.
Both of these cases combined add up to nearly $35,000 in total.
Mr Pearce said that they serve as a sombre reminder of the penalties that people face if they misuse the system. He hopes that this will deter other people from making the same mistake.
“These sentences also show the penalties for WorkCover fraud are tough not only for the person convicted but also for their families, as the money has to be paid back,” he explained.
Mr Pearce then went on to say that it is important these people are caught so that compensation can continue to be affordable for those that really need it.
“This type of deceit is effectively stealing from the taxpayer and from a system designed to help injured workers recover and get back into the workforce as soon as practicable,” he said.
“It’s essential and expected that all those who use the WorkCover scheme are honest so it can be affordable and look after those it’s designed to protect,” he added.