Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Money money money

January 27th I initiated the process of applying for disability support pension with Centrelink (social services). They sent me out a huge pile of forms including one for my Dr to fill out. I went through the process of gathering all the info and documents required and filled in the forms and returned them. I noticed at the time that they did not ask for a separation certificate from my ex employer and they did not ask for a copy of the loan agreement for my mortgage. I did supply a mortgage statement which indicated how much I owe on the loan and what the interest rate is and fortnightly payments etc.

A few days later Centrelink called and ask me to come in for an interview and also to be assessed by their Dr to make sure I wasn’t faking etc. I went in and met with the Dr, he just basically asked the same question over and over – ‘when will you be able to go back to work’. My answer was, I have no idea, but it wont be anytime soon. The interview was just to go over the forms I had submitted to make sure nothing had been left out. Everything seemed to be in order and I was told that I’d be notified sometime in the next 6 weeks as to if my application had been successful.

Yesterday I received a letter from them and I thought ‘oh goody, lets see if I was successful’. Unfortunately the letter was just to notify me that I had failed to supply a separation certificate and mortgage loan agreement. The letter also stated that I had 14 days from the date stamped on the top of the letter to return the required paperwork or else my application would be cancelled. The date stamped on the top of the letter was the 4th of March and I received the letter on the 8th of March, so I was already down to 10 days. I called my ex boss and asked for the separation certificate, no problem there, which was great. I then called my mortgage lender to get a copy of the loan agreement and they told me it’s a charge of $50 and will take 4 weeks!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!! I explained to them that I need it in 10 days and they said blah blah blah blah, we will try but it might take 4 weeks!

So now I am a little more stressed than I was a few days ago …… but I will just have to sit and wait and see what happens.

I haven’t worked since November 2009. It’s not until you have no income that you realize just how much it costs to live and having to buy gluten free groceries increases the shopping bill substantially. With recent medical expenses and time in hospital etc I have gone through a shit load of $$$ since last November. I really do hope that I manage to get some positive results with Centrelink, otherwise I am going to be totally fucked!!


  1. Lee -

    So sorry you're having to deal with all this stress. Just what you need! I am very fortunate that I haven't had to deal with disability benefits since my husband works, but it sounds like it's the same horrible process all over the world!

    Good luck - maybe the mortgage company could fax something??


  2. Yes, it sounds like disability is the same nightmare in Australia as it is in the U.S. It's so unfair but I believe it will stay that way until the illness is recognized for the serious disability it is. I'm not sure that we have a thing called "income protection insurance" here.

    It's so stressful to go through the disability process here that when I got sick, I took a very early retirement rather than going for disability. I knew I was sacrificing the size of my monthly check to do so, but I was too sick to do anything else. A real Catch-22.

    I hope it gets straightened out for you soon.

  3. My sympathy! I've been through all this and am now going through it again as it all needs to be renewed. And, I also am in a 'high risk' category so can't get insurance. For 'high risk' read 'second class citizen'.

    It's great, isn't it, when people tell you what you should have done!

    It seems every country has this wall of beauracratic mumbo jumbo to sort out. I get angry when I feel I need to justify myself to them all the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely grateful for the financial support I do get. It's just the attitudes of the people behind it that stinks. Occasionally you find a good one. Let's hope you have some good ones on your side too. You've been through enough already. Take care.

  4. Oh hon, again I feel your pain. It took me 2 years to finally get through all the crap to get my pension. However, don't despair - there's a couple of things you can do.
    1. Get a doc letter and certificate and got to Centrelink and ask to be put on sickness allowance while you're waiting for your pension to be processed. It's the same as the dole but you don't have to look for work. You do have to supply a doc certificate every fortnight to 6 weeks depending on what category they enter you as. You can do it over the phone rather than going in if you're too sick. You'll still need the separation certificate. You are also eligible for a health care card if you haven't already got one as you're not earning anything and this will cut the cost of meds etc.
    2. Tell Centrelink the problem you are having with the bank and getting it done within 14 days. If you tell them, they will give you an extension of up to a month. Just make sure you note down the person you spoke to, date and time and ask them to read back what they've written on your record.
    3. If the dr report comes back as unclear whether you can't work for the next 2 years (the category for getting on the pension), appeal it immediately and ask to see a different dr. Their dr's job is to try and stop people getting on welfare and they do a damn good job of it. I had to see 3 CL drs before I found one that supported me.

    Trying to get the pension is a whole new world of stress which makes you sicker, but hang in there, it's worth it when it finally comes in!

  5. They do that in the hope that you will give up! Keep going and good luck.

  6. It seems to be the same the world over. I got income protection and critical illness insurance when I was working but it has made no difference because CFS or M.E. isn't reecognised as 'critical' so I have been through all sorts of interviews and forms and got nowhere.

    Just don't let the b***ards get you down.

  7. WOW, thanks for all the encouragement everyone, it really does make a difference :)

    K-M, thanks for the suggestion, I did already try to get sickness benefits but my assets are over the threshold (I own a flat that I rent out but it gives me no income because there is a mortgage on it). I will have to end up selling everything but it takes time and energy to do that so it's not something I can contemplate at the moment. One day at a time LOL

  8. I'm obviously lucky that my employer got me my income protection insurance since I've been living off it for 3 years... I didn't realise it wasn't that easy in the real world.

    It's distressing to me as well when friends suffer with all sorts of horrible afflictions and I'm of no use. I wish I could take the pain and tiredness and everything else away and have you back the way you should be. If you ever feel the need for a weekend in the country, let me know as every second weekend I have to drop the kids at their dad's on a friday evening and pick them up at 6am on a monday... right near durack too :D

    Stay strong Lee. I love you lots. Paisliexxx