Services Australia Fails to Support Vaccine Injured After 455 Days

A constituent recently reached out to me, sharing their harrowing account of their experience with the Covid Vaccine Claim Scheme. Diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) after their first AstraZeneca vaccine dose, this individual faces lifelong treatment and challenges.

After 11 months of collaboration with a lawyer, they submitted an extensive application, over 1000 pages, to Services Australia on March 2, 2023. Despite passing both initial and external medical reviews, and providing additional information three times, 455 days have passed without a resolution.

The promised quick and easy process has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare. Unable to work since September 2021 and without income since April 2022, the constituent’s financial situation is dire, relying on a rapidly depleting modest TPD superannuation payment.

On day 455, Services Australia provided no further updates or timelines, leaving the individual trying to cope with the additional harm that the claims scheme inflicts on them.

This is the same department that could find $600,000 for Bill Shorten’s speech writer but can’t actually help the people it forced injuries onto.

These people make me sick.

Read the email I received, below…


“Hello Gerard,

Thank you for your time on the phone earlier.

As you know from our previous conversations and correspondence I have a diagnosed Covid vaccine injury, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), which resulted from my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. I will have this condition and need treatment for the rest of my life.
Working with a lawyer I spent 11 months compiling over 1000 pages to make my initial application under the Federal Governments Covid Vaccine Claim Scheme.

My application, over 1000 pages, was submitted to Services Australia on March 2nd 2023, 455 days ago.

In that 455 days my application passed the initial review stage and then also passed the External Medical review (done by the TGA) on the first try. Since passing the External medical review I have been asked for additional information 3 times and my application has been through the External Legal panel review twice and the Internal legal review once.

The most recent External Legal review was completed on 23/05/2024 and the advice passed to Services Australia on that day.

Today, on day 455, Services Australia have advised that they can offer no further update at this time, nothing, no indication of what the advice from the External Legal panel was, no indication of the next step and no indication of when they will be able to provide any further update.

This scheme was supposed to be an easy to access safety net with a quick administrative process, these were Greg Hunt’s words when he announced the scheme.

Instead it has been a bureaucratic nightmare administered with cruelty and callous disregard for the human beings who have been injured by these vaccines that were taken in good faith when asked by our government to do so.

I have not been able to work since September of 2021 and not had any income since April of 2022. While I did receive a modest TPD payment from my superannuation that money diminishes with every passing day.

I am at the edge of my ability to cope with the additional harm that this claim scheme inflicts on me every moment of every day.

Any help that you can provide in seeing my application answered or at the very least some meaningful update from Services Australia will be greatly appreciated.

If you need any further details please let me know.”

Community Affairs Legislation Committee
Department of Social Services

Senator RENNICK: I have just one question, and it’s on behalf of a constituent from Queensland. He has a recognised vaccine injury. He has been waiting 455 days for his claim to be paid out. He’s worked with a lawyer for 11 months, and he’s compiled over a thousand pages to make his initial application to the federal government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme. According to Greg Hunt, the scheme was supposed to be an easy-to-access safety net with a quick administrative process. Why hasn’t this particular person been paid out? I have a member of my staff who basically works with the vaccine-injured on a full-time basis, helping them navigate through the paperwork that’s required for this scheme. This was never the intention when it was set up, so why has it taken Services Australia so long to pay out on these claims?

Ms Faichney : Not knowing the exact case, what I can say is that the vast majority of claims in the scheme have been finalised, so I can only presume that the reason for the delay is that additional information is being sought. It could be that further medical information has been sought, or it could be around some of the legalities or the legal advice. There could be a range of reasons why there is a delay.

Senator RENNICK: They’ve had to come back to him three times to ask for more information. He gives them what they want every time, and then they come back. When he follows up, they say they don’t know how long it’s going to take to process.

Mr Moon : There are a couple of things that might be helpful to explain. There are a number of points in the process where external experts will likely look at a claim, particularly if it’s of a value of greater than $20,000 or where debt has been involved. The first place is where a medical assessment is required from an independent person from either the Department of Health and Aged Care or the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The second one is the legal advice at the tail end of the tier 2 and 3 claims. It might be that. We have looked really hard at the performance of the Services Australia part of the claims processing, and, since June last year, we’ve more than doubled the number of claims finalised, at the same time as reducing the number of claims held with the agency for assessment by over 60 per cent.

Senator RENNICK: Can you give us those figures?

Mr Moon : Absolutely; I can take that on notice.

Senator RENNICK: There have been over 3,000 applications, I think. How many have you paid out on?

Mr Moon : Let me see if I have the exact numbers.

Ms Faichney : As at 31 March—that’s where our data is meant to be at—we have received 4,282 claims; 3,522 are finalised, and 760 remain in progress.

Senator RENNICK: Of the 3½ thousand that have been finalised, how many have been paid out?

Ms Faichney : Three hundred and twenty-four.

Senator RENNICK: Three hundred and twenty-four, out of 3½ thousand. Thank you.





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