Woman in world of pain after workplace accident

Last updated 05:00 26/12/2012
Fuatino Faumuina
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
LONG BATTLE: Fuatino Faumuina hurt her back while working at the police college in 2006.

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When Fuatino Faumuina slipped on the steps at the police college in Porirua, she never imagined it would mean six years of fighting with ACC.

Originally from Samoa, Mrs Faumuina suffered a hip and spine sprain in January 2006 when she fell while working in the kitchen.

The injuries led to a chronic pain disorder and depression, leaving her unable to work and reliant on her weekly compensation.

Initially awarded a lump sum payment in 2009, Mrs Faumuina was forced to fight for her money after it was challenged at a technical review.

That money was eventually paid in February, but was little consolation after ACC decided to cut her weekly allowance after a review last year.

Mrs Faumuina went from receiving about $500 a week to $202, including an allowance for caring for her two grandchildren.

Her entitlement was cut partly because the technical review, now deemed to have been illegal under the ACC act, ruled that she should not receive compensation for her mental impairment.

But Mrs Faumuina said she was in pain "all of the time" and the family was struggling to survive, with her husband also unable to work following a knee operation.

"It's very, very difficult, I don't know how to explain the situation we have now. It's still ongoing like this, the stress, the depression."

Mrs Faumuina said she just wanted what she was entitled to: "Why are they not doing something about putting me back on my compensation? Why is it taking so long?"

ACC refused to comment on Mrs Faumuina's weekly compensation.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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