Up to 2000 victims skipped: Survivor with PTSD exposes scale of compensation loophole

Two thousand people including abuse survivors could be victims of a compensation loophole an Auckland man helped expose.

In July, Roger Allison spoke in court of his disgust at a child abuse ring and “cockroach” paedophiles who stole the innocence of boys.

For months since, he has helped expose shortcomings which made him and potentially others ineligible for some types of ACC compensation.

Only now has the scale of the loophole become clear.

Allison said he made contact with ACC in the early 2000s about the abuse he suffered as a boy.

He said one claim was lodged about five days before he started a new job. He was told this meant he couldn’t receive compensation for lost earnings.

The upshot was Allison was not deemed an “earner” at the time of his injury, with the injury defined as the point he lodged a claim.

The child abuse had led to Allison having post-traumatic stress disorder and being unable to work, but not receiving weekly compensation.

His local MP, National’s Simeon Brown, sought details on advice ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni had about changing eligibility from injury date to incapacity date.

Sepuloni has written back to Brown, saying ACC now estimated the policy impacted between 1,000 to 2,000 people every year.

The minister said she would consider whether to include this issue in a package of ACC reforms.

“As with any significant policy change, I will also consider how this change would impact the Accident Compensation Scheme’s overall fairness, efficiency, effectiveness, and resilience.”

Sepuloni also wrote to Allison, commending him for coming forward about the abuse and for his efforts at increasing support for abuse survivors.

She said she could not interfere in ACC’s operational decisions but was seeking advice.

“I acknowledge that ACC’s legislation pertaining to weekly compensation can seem unfair for some people.”

Brown understood the date of injury was the date a person sought support or medical help.

He said Allison was able to resume working for a while but the investigation and prosecution of child abuser Wayne Moonie retraumatised him.

“He was obviously suffering abuse as a child and then suffered a mental breakdown,” Brown said today.

‘It’s good to see that the Minister acknowledges the issue and that she has sought advice.”

Brown said of the Government: “I hope they do something as soon as possible. There’s clearly a lot of people in this situation.”

He praised Allison’s battle for the rights of abuse survivors.

Herald enquiries last month prompted Sepuloni to investigate issues around weekly compensation for abuse survivors.

But nobody at the time could tell how many people were in situations akin to Allison’s.

“I was shocked as you were,” Allison said today after being asked what he thought when learning 2,000 people could be in the same boat as him.

He said the law currently defined his date of injury as 2004, when he went to his GP, rather than the early 1980s, when the abuse happened.

He said the “scumbags” such as Moonie and some other child abusers had now been prosecuted, which helped him prove the abuse in case any official questioned it.

“Because of the type of injury that is, the suffering that we are already experiencing with PTSD and all that is bad enough.”

He said getting no Government support just added more misery for abuse survivors.

“My total reparation that I’ve now received is $147 through Victim Support.”

He said even getting reimbursed for his travel to Auckland District Court had proven difficult.

Allison previously said lifting his own name suppression and speaking out against Moonie had started the latest process of fighting for compensation.

Today, he said ongoing revelations about the scale of the compensation problem made him more driven to stand up for survivors.

“Once again, it only gives me more determination to carry on in my fight.”

* A friend of Roger Allison has established a Givealittle page to help Allison, who has been unable to work due to PTSD.

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