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Is there a time frame for Centrelink to process my appeal? (Aust)

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by purrsian, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    So I lodged an appeal with Centrelink on 20/09/17 as they said my condition was not "fully treated" because I hadn't had CBT. Despite calling in Dec and Jan to see that the appeal was put in correctly and being assured it was now on a "priority list" because of how long it's taking, I still haven't heard anything. I'm on hold with them now, but I expect more of the same.

    Is there a time frame in which this decision should be made? I think heading towards 5 months is a bit ridiculous. If I could get disability, we may not need to move back to his parent's place (which is a massive stressful job). I've just been approved for Newstart which is great, but no payments are made after a couple earns $25k/year while for disability, it's more like $78k/year.

    I feel so useless that I can't work and all the pressure is put on my partner. I just wish this application could go ahead, so I could either be approved or at least be able to make a further appeal.
     
    lafarfelue likes this.
  2. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    While this is from 2013-2014... Centrelink's services have declined quite sharply in the past couple of years (coughStaffCutscoughBudgetCutscough) so it's probably still quite accurate.

    http://dspoverseas.proboards.com/thread/2999/centrelink-review-system-breaking-point

    "Centrelink’s services standard for completing internal review was raised by 25%, from 28 to 35 days in 2011.

    “The average waiting time for a review in 2012-13 was 62 days. Over a quarter, at 27%, took more than three months to complete. Almost 1-in-10 appeals took over six months or more to complete. There were 869 appeals that took longer than 12 months to finalise"

    “At November 2013 there were 22,131 Internal Reviews awaiting finalisation. These figures confirm what people have been telling us for over the past 12 months.

    “The Centrelink review and appeals system is under considerable strain. It is not uncommon to hear of delays of six months, or more. Many Centrelink recipients are complaining to their local Members of Parliament and to the Ombudsman about this problem."


    Let us know how your call with them goes. Hoping the best for you. :hug:
     
  3. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Well I spoke to someone who said they aren't allowed to give time frames on appeal decisions, but it has been too long, so she has put an urgent red flag on mine. I called up in Jan and someone told me they were putting it on a priority list, so it probably doesn't mean much! But the lady today confirmed it was in the correct area and lodged correctly.

    Looks like I'm likely to be in the lucky 10% of 6+ months...although it wouldn't surprise me if everything is worse than in 2013-14!
     
    lafarfelue likes this.
  4. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

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    I have pmd you
     
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  5. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Well for an update on my awesome Centrelink experiences....

    I've applied for Newstart recently, as my fiancé is currently not working also (probably going to be moving in with his parents soon, as we're running low on savings!). I get approved for Newstart, starts payments on 29 Mar due to having $16k in bank - not sure if we can last that long due to mortgage payments, various bills, medical expenses....but anyway, approved is better than nothing. I obviously applied for exemption from having to look for a job and have a current doctors certificate from mid-January.

    Turns out, my doctors certificate is deemed invalid because in June 2017, I had a job capacity assessment for my disability application and I was deemed fit for work and not fully treated (hence why I had to appeal). My appeal only spoke about being not fully treated, as this was all I was told at the time (due to no CBT) but obviously, they must've deemed me capable to work too, so I'm sure I'll need to appeal that eventually too. It would be nice to know ALL the things that they rejected me on, instead of just the first one they saw. So I'm told to apply for Newstart while the disability appeal goes through, however I can't currently meet the requirements for Newstart because of the reasons for the appeal...

    I could appeal that decision about the exemption to look for a job but, considering my disability appeal is 5 months already without hearing anything, what's the point!

    I'm probably going to try and go ahead with meeting their looking for a job requirements, because honestly, who's going to employ someone who has barely any work history, can't stand up in one place for more than a few mins and can't work for many hours at a time or many days a week? The guy I spoke to today (who was from the complaints line, because the Newstart line is constantly engaged of course) mentioned I can still apply for the health care card even if I didn't get Newstart, so that's something at least. But he didn't fill me with hope about how long the appeal will take, but did confirm that it's been marked urgent which puts it ahead in queue.

    Soooo, @CCC I think I'll be asking for some help on writing some letters to my local member in the near future! What BS that a current doc cert is deemed invalid because of an assessment from June last year which, to my knowledge at the time, only failed due to not doing CBT. Sigh!
     
  6. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

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    Have pmd you again
     
    purrsian likes this.
  7. E.man

    E.man Senior Member

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    Bega Valley , Australia
    Sorry to hear of your C'link dramas. The whole system is a bloody disgrace. How is a seriously crook person supposed to fight against an entire bureaucracy ?

    Notice 'the news' is about how much they have managed to reduce the numbers of people getting on to Disability; as if it's a good thing ! It is NOT a good thing to be screwing people over who need help. (I'll be putting a complaint in writing to my local hospital about similar.)
     
    lafarfelue likes this.
  8. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Yea, just the applications are hard enough for people as sick as all of us, let alone all the follow up calls, appeals, trying to get them to actually tell you anything, contacting local members or legal assistance for help... and yes, definitely not a good thing when the actually sick people can't get help!
     
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  9. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    What an awful rigamarole! :( Geez.
     
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  10. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    So, after almost exactly 6 months, they finally called me to say my appeal has been rejected due to not enough medical evidence from my own doctor. I did provide plenty of evidence about how CBT is useful for our condition, but I need my actual doctor to say that in my particular circumstance, it will not improve my functional capacity. Also need to get her to say that rheumatology and exercise therapy is not for me either. I started crying as I tried to explain to her that I can't even afford any of this crap, but all she said was that they don't judge anything based on whether or not you can afford it, just whether it is advised. I'm not sure how you are supposed to get "fully treated" when you can't get any assistance from the government, because I can't meet their looking for job requirements (even at 15 hours) but I can't get exemption because my condition has bee ruled permanent. I can't even afford my own GP anymore because she doesn't bulk bill anyone anymore except the elderly.
     
    lafarfelue likes this.
  11. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    That's really crappy, I'm so sorry it's such a monstrous process for you. :(

    Would your doctor support you in providing that information (that various treatments are not advised), if you were to lodge again..?

    Sending you internet hugs :hug:
     
    alkt likes this.
  12. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    New update. Last time on the phone (from the last message I wrote here) the lady asked if I wanted her to submit my review now or if I'll do it at a later date when I have more information. I say later. So obviously she submits it now.

    In the past few weeks I've had a lot on with exams and having the flu, so haven't done much about getting new info yet. And now I get a letter to say that the reviewer has already made a decision and it's that the original decision is correct. I missed ONE call from them on the 23rd March because I was in an acupuncture treatment getting treatment for my CFS. And since it's a blocked number, couldn't tell if it was related to all this crap or not, also couldn't ring anyone back.

    And just to be super confusing, the letter unequivocally states that my condition is NOT considered permanent because it's not fully treated. Yet I can't get an exemption from mutual obligation requirements for Newstart, due to my condition being found permanent.... :bang-head:

    Literally says "I have found that your conditions are not permanent and cannot be rated under the impairment tables". "Your conditions of POTS, depression and CFS are not accepted as being permanent as they have not been fully treated and stabilised".

    So the lady calls me back. Apparently I MISS OUT on this entire part of the review process (as I didn't get the chance to put any extra info in) because the lady I spoke to previously went and made the review application, even though I said not to, and I missed ONE CALL because I was getting treatment for the condition that I'm applying for disability for.

    I'll probably still make the next appeal with the administrative appeals tribunal, but honestly, I want to give up. My doctor has no idea how to adequately fill in their stupid forms to provide the ridiculous detail they need and I have to convince her to write that no further treatments will be likely to be beneficial (she does like CBT for everything, it helps everyone apparently - it might, but it's not going to improve functional capacity). Doctors hate writing things down so explicitly. Just seems like I've used so much energy and emotions on gathering info and going to doctors when they're just going to say no anyway. I'm probably just going to be rejected again and have to continue living off my loved ones as I have for the past 12 years. Centrelink is the worst.
     
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  13. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    Geez, that's really rough. :thumbdown::(

    All I hear about Centrelink from people who depend on it is this kind of thing, and not much better from people who work/have worked there.

    I hope you can find it in yourself to persevere. Do you have any opportunity to access an kind of legal advice? (I'm unsure what kinds of free or low budget options there may be to help with disability applications or appeals in Australia.)

    Hope you can look after yourself and rest up a bit more. Sending hugs (if you want them!).
     
  14. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

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    You should consider writing to the minister and cc to your local member immediately and say that DHS lodged a review for you when you asked them not to. That should buy you the time to review properly.

    In fact, that has suddenly become your strongest argument.

    You can still appeal with the AAT and also complain to the ombudsman - it is now part of the complaint that you are now forced to appeal through the AAT because they initiated a review you had said you didn't want yet so you could prepare more documents. Your preferred outcome is that DHS rescinds that final decision and gives you the opportunity to engage in a proper review. So you can do both (appeal and complaint) at the same time.
     
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  15. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    AAT has rejected my appeal. Centrelink's issue was that I wasn't fully treated due to no CBT. AAT guy agreed that CBT is not appropriate, but decided that I could not be ruled fully diagnosed (even though Centrelink was okay on that) because I haven't seen a psychiatrist to rule out depression. Especially because I'm on an antidepressant. Even though I said I'm only on it because I can't come off it because of brain zaps, which he hadn't seemed to heard of. And because of the possibility that my condition is related to depression (even though I've never actually been diagnosed with it and no GP has ever thought it appropriate to get me to a psychiatrist) that also means I'm not fully diagnosed and stabilised. The report refers to this study... https://bmcfampract.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12875-016-0545-5
    ...says "Fatigue is a common symptom of depression. A recent study reported that approximately 20% of patients presenting to GPs with symptoms of tiredness suffer from a depressive disorder". In the abstract, it says "pooling was not appropriate for CFS". Does that mean that that study is not relevant when discussing CFS patients?

    He also questioned if I'd have 20 points of impairment, as he seemed to think that doing part time study meant I was already doing equivalent of more than the 15 hours of work that would be required for Newstart. I tried to explain that it's not the same, because I do things here and there, sometimes I don't do anything for weeks, sometimes I do 5 minutes at a time and that is it. It says I have zero points of impairment but I think that's because they just don't bother if it's not fully diagnosed.

    I can appeal again, but I honestly don't have the energy anymore. We don't have enough money and have to rely on our families, which causes huge stress and guilt, but I've put so much energy into this damn thing for nothing. Every single attempt at this stupid thing, I've been told a different reason or I have to submit different things.
     
  16. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    @purrsian that sucks, I'm so sorry it's been such a hard slog and waste of your precious energy like this. :(

    Hope your health isnt too negatively affected from all this. Sending hugs (if you want them)
     

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