I was diagnosed with HIV in 1992 and put on the Disability Support Pension which I’ve been living off ever since.
Last June I had a pension review and according to Centrelink I rated BELOW the 20 point criteria you now have to meet to qualify for the DSP.
I don’t know if it's a blessing in disguise but fortunately I also care for a person with a severe mental illness so I was able to go onto a Carer Payment. It’s not ideal but I could have ended up on Newstart Allowance having to look for a job. Imagine a 59-year-old guy in rural Australia looking for someone to employ him? My main grievance is how I was treated throughout the process. At one point my pension and my Health Care Card were both cancelled. This caused huge anxiety and I get enough of that just living with a person with mental illness. I certainly don’t need any more.
Another time, when I was checking on the progress of things, a staff member of Centrelink asked me how long I expected the person I’m caring for to live? How do I answer a question like this?
Anyway, I’m just peeved off with the whole process. They want you to be honest with them but being too honest can land you in a mess. I suppose I’ll recover but it leaves a very bitter after taste.
I hope this message is of some use to others when dealing with Centerlink.
And it may prompt certain Centrelink staff to buck up their ideas.
It seems that it’s all about money not people. But I suppose that’s society these days.
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