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Disability in Australia

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by ozikiwi, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. ozikiwi

    ozikiwi

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    Hi y'all!
    I'm an Australian living in NZ but planning to head back home.
    I'm already on the Invalid's Benefit here but will still have to apply for the Disability Benefit over there.
    I get the impression it's pretty tough to qualify......and was wondering if people would mind sharing their experiences?
    Thanks.
  2. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    1. Become very familiar with the impairment tables Centrelink use to assess working capacity

    2. Understand the eligibility criteria (eg fully diagnosed, fully treated and stabilised)

    3. Make sure your doctor understands what is needed (eg Doctors don't like to say there is no hope of improvement for at least 2 years - but if they won't declare that then you are not eligible)

    Many people who are not well enough to work are denied simply because their documentation doesn't meet the necessary criteria.

    http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/dsp_impairment_final_tables.pdf

    https://www.welfarerights.org.au/factsheets/2013/5/27/disability-support-pension-medical-appeals
  3. ozikiwi

    ozikiwi

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    Thanks Sea.......I shall get onto those links pronto.........much appreciated!
    Sea likes this.
  4. ozikiwi

    ozikiwi

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    Hi again Sea,
    Have scanned the info you sent me but am wondering if it's your own doctor who does the Impairment Rating or does Centrelink make those decisions garnered from a letter or medical certificate from your doc?
    K
  5. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    It is a Centrelink job capacity assessor who decides, but I have found that by clearly providing the medical information in a way that fits what is described in the tables the process is made much easier. They don't tend to take much notice of statements from a doctor like "too ill to work" but they do take notice of statements like "cannot concentrate for more than ... without severe exacerbation of ..." The assessor is not necessarily a medically trained person, although they may be. Their job is to find what you can do and if there is any possible way to overcome barriers of what you say you can't do.

    Doctors are busy people and I found writing out a list of ways that I am affected to be helpful for them in formulating their responses to the Centrelink documentation. Centrelink is not interested in symptoms, but in what you can or can't do.

    For example one of the things I had on my list was the inability to process information, examples I included were:
    - Seeing a red light but not registering that it meant I needed to stop
    - Filling a cup of coffee but continuing to pour as the cup overflowed

    another was the short term memory loss, examples I included were:
    - asking someone a question, but then not remembering what I had asked when they responded, so not able to make sense of conversation
    - needing to be reminded several times a day what was on for that day, forgetting where my husband was or how long he'd be away

    It's a delicate balance because your assessment can't be based on self reported symptoms, yet there are no tests that really show how we are affected. It's helpful if you have a partner or friend who can verify what you're saying and if the doctor takes what you say seriously and can document it in a way that satisfies Centrelink criteria.

    In Australia a GP expects to spend about 5 minutes with you. It would be wise to spend your first appointment not expecting them to fill out paperwork but simply discussing your move to Australia and the need to find local medical care, and being prepared to book a long appointment for the paperwork. Unless you can get your NZ doctor to fill in the application, I don't know whether Centrelink wants an Australian Doctor.

    Centrelink likes to see an established relationship with the doctor who fills out your documentation. They ask how many times the doctor has seen you in the past year.
    SeaShell, AndyPandy and Valentijn like this.
  6. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    By the way, if you want to get a member's attention tag them like this @ozikiwi and they will get an alert. You will get an alert when anyone writes on this thread because you started the thread, but others who respond here won't unless someone tags them.
  7. ozikiwi

    ozikiwi

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    Thankyou SO much again Sea for that vital information.......I shall do everything you suggested.
    Can I ask when did you apply.....and did you have to see other professionals as part of the process........and how long did it take to be accepted?
    I think it's taken some people months if not years!
    Cheers,
    K
  8. ozikiwi

    ozikiwi

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    PS I forgot to ask where do I find the people to attach my tag to?
  9. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    Sea

    I don't suppose centrelink has these impairment tables all blank and ready to be filled out ?
  10. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    Not sure what you're asking there Beaver

    @ozikiwi I applied I think in 2007 and a friend I helped in 2010. From memory the process took a few months. I had documentation from my doctor and a report (several years old) from a specialist physician who my doctor had referred me to some years before. I was interviewed by a job capacity assessor who put my work capacity at zero.
  11. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    If you want to ask a particular member a question, or want them to see your comment put the @ sign and then their user name. As you start typing a list comes up that you can choose the name from which helps with making sure you've got the spelling right.
  12. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    In my case it was very hard to get onto disability here (Sth Aust. Mt Barker Office) as the assessors I kept getting didnt believe ME/CFS was a real illness so kept on knocking me back (one of them actually told me he'd make sure I'd never get it for this! and then unknown to me was removing things out of my file), thou I was so bad that I couldnt even remain seated in the waiting room and was laying on the floor so not to pass out.

    It me 3 appeals to get disability which took 8-9 months and in the meantime they (the baised 2 guys in this centrelink office) werent accepting my sickness certificates, forced me to try to work part time 6-8hrs per week, under threats I'd otherwise be cut off while my appeals where going throu )which caused two smashed up cars as I was driving unsafe when too tired to be. (Note if anything aweful like that occurs with rejections, when you win an appeal, you will be backpaid the moneyary differences from the time you first applied)

    My case ended up being sent from Sth Austral to be heard at the highest level in Canberra (that happens with the third appeal). The assessor I got in Canberra office is very familiar with ME and how serious it can be and was horrified I hadnt been accepted for the start.

    Anyway, I'd like to say its really the luck of the draw. As the other said, they do like one to be with a doctor for a while first. Also do check your file under the FOA just before a decision is made to make sure no one has removed stuff from your file! Also make sure ALL your symptoms are listed as there is a point system in which points are awarded for symptoms and once you hit a certain amount, you qualifty. (One of the things my doctor did wrong is he didnt write every symptom in!).

    One thing I wish I did differently is I should put in offical complaints over what they did to me eg over not accepting doctors sickness certificates from me and the blackmail done to me forcing me to drive when unwell etc etc. Unfortunately I was too unwell to do so.
    Sushi and Valentijn like this.
  13. ozikiwi

    ozikiwi

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    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and passing on valuable information.......extremely appreciated!

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