Sharing insights with TAC on returning to work
In late August, the Professionals with SCI Network welcomed Sarah and Tegan from the Transport Accident Commission, to learn about how TAC supports people to return to work.
We had a diverse group of seven new and existing members, extending from people who left rehab only six months ago to current workers, volunteers, and retirees with years of work experience.
For the first time, we offered video conferencing at the new AQA office. This made the meeting accessible for those who could not attend in person.
Many members of our community are funded by TAC, so it was important for us to learn about current TAC programs and to give Sarah and Tegan feedback on our experiences.
Sarah and Tegan presented on TAC’s new individualised program, which looks into what the client needs and then seeks to tailors a service that focuses on goals, abilities and employment potential.
TAC acknowledges that in the past it has not been consistent in the way it supported people. The new approach helps clients realise their potential through:
- Early intervention – this includes preventing accidents, preventing people from losing their jobs by notifying employers of an employee’s intention to return to work, and getting into rehab settings to get people back to work sooner;
- Dedicated Support Coordinator – works with you to look at employment and holistic goals. Coordinators are trained in motivational interviewing;
- Partnerships –including with employers, OTs, and allied health;
- Pathways – linking people with existing programs that might not be related to the TAC, and to other employment pathways
Everyone shared their stories of how they got into work and how they were supported. We agreed that peer support programs can be very helpful in getting different perspectives for people at different life stages. Helpful peer support groups included parent groups, grandparents groups, and getting back to work groups.
Members also said that for a lot of people, returning to work may not be financially beneficial as they can lose TAC benefits if they earn above a certain amount, if they suddenly cannot work, or if they have or do not have transferrable work skills.
Sarah and Tegan acknowledged that these barriers would require legislative change, but said that TAC could be flexible depending on individual circumstances.
We agreed that this can be a complex question for individuals, and encouraged people to consider the overall benefits of a decision to return to work. Meaningful work means different things to different people, but for most it and provides a sense of belonging and being valued.
Finally, members made suggestions for change, which Sarah and Tegan have described as valuable. Ideas included:
- Making the whole process easier to understand;
- Flexibility of a safety net for those who can or cannot work;
- Addressing that fear that many people have of losing benefits;
- Possibility of having peer-supported placements for people returning to work.
It was an insightful meeting for both TAC and SCIP. We hope to work closer with TAC so that community members can make the most of what TAC can offer.
Details of our next event
Thursday, 31 Oct 2019
416 Heidelberg Road, Fairfield 3078
Limited parking available behind office or on surrounding streets
NDIS and return to work/ study
Spire at 9489 0777 (toll free 1800 999 128) or [email protected]