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Case Studies » Sickness » Injury Benefit - Case from 2018 Annual Report (ref: 2018/34)

Background: The appellant applied for Injury Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Benefits scheme and declared that she had suffered an accident at work in July 2014. The appellant stated that the injury was "sustained as a result of systematic bullying on a continuum" and that her injury comprised "work related stress leading to anxiety/ depression." The appellant declared that the work-related stress was a consequence of managing a difficult employee without support. The appellant was out of work on sick leave for over 10 months followed by a phased return. The medical evidence indicated that the challenging workplace relationship began around the summer of 2013. The appellant’s claim for Injury Benefit was rejected by the Department on the grounds that anxiety/depression is not included on the list of prescribed occupational diseases and there was no evidence of a clear incident or incidents which could be regarded as an occupational accident. The appellant argued that she had undergone a traumatic series of events in the workplace which had rendered her sick and under psychiatric care for treatment for anxiety/depression.

Consideration: The Appeals Officer outlined that in accordance with Section 74 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, Injury Benefit may be payable in circumstances where a person suffers personal injury caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment.

The appellant had submitted details of a medical report and a psychiatric report which confirmed that the appellant suffered major depression and anxiety as a result of incidents at work. The Appeals Officer agreed with the Deciding Officer’s decision that workplace related anxiety/depression is not included in the list of prescribed occupational diseases and there must be evidence of a clear incident or incidents which could be regarded as an occupational accident before a claim for Injury Benefit could be considered.

Having examined the evidence, the Appeals Officer found that it was not possible to conclude that the appellant’s diagnosis had arisen from a personal injury caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of her employment. The Appeals Officer concluded that the account of the onset of the incapacity, and the evidence submitted, pointed to symptoms having developed over a period of time rather than as a consequence of a specific incident or incidents. In the circumstances, the Appeals Officer concluded that the qualifying criteria for Injury Benefit had not been met and the appeal could not succeed.

Outcome: Appeal disallowed.