Discrimination against work and accident claimants with a mental health injury

June 4, 2019

For some time I have been interested in the various tactics used by governments to reduce the number of mental health claims in workers compensation and motor accident schemes. It is ironic that there is so much focus now on preventing discrimination against people with mental health problems, including, in Victoria, a Minister for Mental Health but, at the same time, there is fear and trembling that people with mental health injuries arising from work or motor accident will send the state bankrupt. In South Australia, for example an impairment benefit can only be paid for a person with “pure mental harm”, a person with a physical injury has to meet the threshold of 5% impairment for it to be considered a serious injury and to then receive a lump sum payment. A worker with a mental injury has to reach the threshold of 30% impairment and there is no lump sum payment!

I have found a table listing the exclusionary provisions for people with work-related mental health conditions in the states, territories and in New Zealand. It makes for interesting reading.

It is interesting to note that this is an international phenomena. For example the Purple Heart, awarded in the United States for injuries received in various circumstances is not awarded for people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or from battle fatigue!


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