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Going for Disability in Australia

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by purrsian, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Hi guys, I'm new to Phoenix and have been reading a lot on the forums lately. I'm currently considering applying for disability with Centrelink - I work for my mum at the moment (one day working at the shop and one to two days worth of work from home spread over a number of days) but her store is closing in January. I'm seriously concerned about my ability to find another way to earn money.

    I've been diagnosed with CFS since about 06 but I started to decline in 03. I've only ever managed to work part time (03 was when I left high school) and even then, I've made myself worse trying to maintain my work hours and keep my boss happy. The Aust guidelines for the pension say that you need to be unable to work more than 15 hours a week due to your condition for the next 2 years - I don't think I've ever worked more than this due to my illness.

    Have any other Aussies been successful in applying for it due to CFS? My main concern is I've never actually been sent to any kinds of specialists or anything (everyone I talk to always seems to have!). Every doctor I've seen runs a huge amount of blood tests which all come back normal except for deficiencies in things like iron, magnesium, B12. The only other thing is my current doctor found I had very high reverse T3 so I'm now on thyroid tables for that.

    I don't have the additional symptoms or syndromes that a lot of people seem to get - I just now have sinus problems since getting the flu in Feb (although they don't even send me to a specialist for that, just give me more meds). Otherwise, it's the standard yet horribly vague and debilitating CFS related symptoms and depression. I guess my main question is - does Centrelink take CFS seriously and are they going to take me seriously if I haven't been to any specialist about things?
     
  2. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

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  3. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    If you have superannuation you might be ableto claim permanent disability which applies to your current line of work. Apparently its not about being disabled for all work but your current occupation . Eg if your a bricklayer and get cfsme apparently you can claim your super disability because you are unable to work as a bricklayer.

    Thats a rough interpretation which i saw on utube about a workplace lawyer explaining how those with cfsme can claim their superannuation disability insurance. This is different to claiming the govt disability pension. Apparently many dont know they can claim through their super? So many miss out.

    This is something i have only just found out. On your superannuation statement tjeir is a sum of money on it for permanent disability which is the amount you can claim and this is what this lawyer is able to claim for many cfsme. So dont have to be disabled to do any job , only the job u are currently doing.

    Hope that makes some sense but google superannuation disability claims fir cfs me. Even past super schemes many are still covered for this even though they are no longer working or paying into this superannuation . Some people have several supers they can claim on.
     
    taniaaust1, Valentijn and minkeygirl like this.
  4. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Oh wow I had no idea about that, thanks for the info @heapsreal . I only have a few thousand in super so I may not be able to claim much, but it's definitely worth knowing it's there.
     
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    On government pensions, it depends. They might send you to very poorly informed doctors, like they did me. There will likely be some delay in getting a pension, so start earlier than you need to. Some of us are denied on the first try, and need to get the case reassessed.

    On the other hand having this go on so long is a big help for getting a pension.

    Good luck.
     
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    You can claim your super back if disabled, but, many have an insurance policy built in. Even if you have little super you might still be able to claim private disability. Again, you may need to jump through many medical hoops before they see what's what.
     
    heapsreal likes this.
  7. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Its not about what you put in but the disability insurance which is apart of your super. Get your most recent statement and see what permanent disability pay out figure is. You might be suprized .
     
    alex3619 likes this.
  8. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Thanks for all your advice guys. I've been pretty unwell and depressed lately so I haven't managed to look into anything further yet, but going to speak to my doc about it when I finally see her on the 30th. If that doesn't pan out, at least I have the super to look into as well :)
     
  9. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    best luck with things, it can be a long and hard haul I you need to get onto the disability pension.

    I think they are worst too in some states of Australia then others, I'm in SA and it was really horrible here as CFS is less accepted then some of the other states of Australia as one of the ME/CFS specialists here said to me who had come from another state, we are backward here compared to NSW and Victoria.

    (the ones in Centrelink here, 2 guys thought of this illness being a fakers thing and one of these actually said to me that he'd make sure I'd never get on a pension for ME/CFS.. they didn't believe in the illness.. they then unknown to me removed things out of my file.. they went missing.. which had supported how ill I was. I only found out things had been removed when I applied just before 3rd appeal under the FOI act for copies of everything in my file).

    I had to do 3 appeals before I could get disability in SA, that was even though I was so sick I couldn't even remain seated at the appointments and was often laying on the floor of the waiting room close to passing out, I had very obvious Raynauds in my fingers at the time (completely white with no feeling in many places or very painful) affecting them to the point I couldn't move them well at my appointment and had to ask for warm water to help them while there. I still was knocked back.

    I'd been under CFS specialists for years, who all supported I needed to be on disability pension

    I finally got accepted for disability pension when the last appeal, it goes to Canberra to sort out and the assessor was completely horrified due to my severe state (I have over 90 test abnormalities and symptoms with this) that I hadn't been given disability pension the very first time. That assessor understood ME/CFS.

    So I'm going to say how easy it will be all depends on what state you are in and how much the assessor knows about this illness. I kept being sent to the centreline psych for an disability assessment, who kept saying I was psychologically healthy (I didn't have depression but was severely physically ill).. which I was psychologically healthy.

    With the disability pension forms, they need to be filled out by a doctor you've been seeing for a while so if you don't currently have ME/CFS specialist who understands how severe this illness can be, you may have a big issue.

    the good thing is that when one finally does succeed, one gets back paid disability. I was fighting to get this for 8-9mths so got that in back pay.

    oh and get your doctor symptom you get with this on your form and not just write CFS as otherwise people tend to think its just about fatigue. Qualifying for a disability pension can be assessed on a ground in which various symptoms of CFS are given so many points and if you then score above a certain amount, you can get disability pension. (Centrelink likes to keep this hidden from people otherwise I would of been able to point out early in the piece that I qualified for a pension).
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  10. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Thanks for your info @taniaaust1 - I actually read a little of your story when I was searching the forums for info a few weeks ago. It makes me so mad that ignorant people made things so much more difficult than they needed to be!

    I'm actually very lucky that I'll no longer be needing to apply - a relative has recently gifted some money (unrelated to me being sick) which would mean I wouldn't pass the assets test anymore. I was kind of worried that my partner's income would preclude me from accessing it anyway. It's come at the perfect time and I hope I will be able to find another part time job that I can cope with once my mum's shop closes, but at least now we have a buffer if I can't find one immediately. I'm also looking in to a number of freelancing websites that I've read about on these forums. At least now I know a bit more about disability and super so that if I need to look at it in the future, I have a bit of an idea now!
     

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