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Retired worker receives support years after being made redundant

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Kevin Reverr will finally get the support he needs, eight years after worsening workplace injuries forced him into early retirement.

The 66-year-old sustained injuries to both knees – requiring multiple surgeries – while working for a malt company, leaving him unable to perform his job as an operations manager. In 2009 – shortly after his first round of surgeries – he was made redundant by his employer.

When it was clear that he was unable to return to work, his employers refused to admit that his injuries were work-related, preventing him from receiving workers compensation. However, last month Mr Reverr was told he would receive much-needed support, almost a decade after retiring.

His lawyer Fiona Burns, from Slater and Gordon, said it was important to note that retired workers were still often entitled to workers’ compensation for injuries suffered during their careers but emphasised they were required to meet certain criteria.

Joining the organisation’s Brisbane base in January 1980, Mr Reverr rose through the ranks before being transferred to the company’s Tamworth operation in 2000. Throughout his 29-year career, Mr Reverr was responsible for a number of physically intensive tasks, including running up and down 300-step silos at a time.

These injuries were made worse after he accidently fell through an open grate at work in 1997, twisting his right knee – with doctors, at the time, suggesting he would eventually need to have it replaced. His knees have now been worn down so much that he has undergone five different surgeries over the past nine years.

When he was made redundant, his employers refused to admit that his injuries were work-related, preventing him from receiving workers compensation.

“Of course the injuries were work related,” Mr Reverr said. “The demands of my job wore down my knees over the years to the point where I now have a permanent limp in both legs and rely on a walker just to get around.”

It was only after engaging lawyers from Slater and Gordon that he received the financial support he desperately needed.

Since retiring, the father of two has found it difficult to make ends meet, having to rely on his savings to support himself.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital like a yoyo,” Mr Reverr said. “I had some sick pay for a bit but then I was just living on savings after that.

“It’s a terrible feeling not knowing how the bills are going to get paid.”

Ms Burns said it was clear Mr Reverr’s injuries were the result of his job and as a result he was entitled to support. She said others retirees could be entitled to support but they needed to seek advice quickly.

“We regularly represent people who are entitled to and receive support even after they are no longer in the workforce,” Ms Burns said. “Given Mr Reverr’s ability to earn was removed as a result of injuries sustained at work, this is something we were able to pursue.”