Experiences with Disability support (Aust)

renski

Senior Member
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Hi all,

Just wondering what others experience has been with applying for the disability support pension in Australia? Are there particular doctors that might help or certain evidence that I need? I've been down the route of trying to get a diagnosis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome through an immunologist, but as usual all tests came back fine and the doctor basically said I needed to be seeing a shrink, despite all of my other chronic symptoms. I did apply for DSP once with medical evidence from an integrative doctor but no formal diagnosis that Centrelink recognises.


thanks
 

purrsian

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I tried and failed despite appealing as much as I was able to. They originally denied me for not doing cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy, then on my final appeal (which is to someone outside of Centrelink) he decided that I shouldn't have to do CBT or GET, and would be considered fully treated, but that my diagnosis was not confirmed because I had not seen a psychiatrist to exclude depression. I told him my GP had excluded it and did not deem it necessary for me to see a psychiatrist but apparently that's not good enough. They do like you to have seen a specialist of some kind, so it didn't help that I'd only seen a neurologist for POTS (not the condition I was applying for disability for because I was not yet fully treated with that). I tried telling them there is no specialist for CFS but apparently I should've seen a rheumatologist.

Basically, be prepared for a lot of getting rejected and possibly having your suffering minimised. Don't let that discourage you from applying, as we definitely DO suffer and struggle enough to deserve it, but it's hard enough to convince doctors we need help, let alone convince the government to give us money. Don't let them doubt yourself or your severity! Oh and also make notes on your interactions with them as it can be really easy to forget what they told you since they like to tell you things verbally and not always in writing - I found it very helpful to have a document where I would write the date, form of communication and an outline of the interaction. I also kept a folder on my computer for all my disability related documents so they were easy to find - doctor's certificates/letters, test results, photos of letters from Centrelink so I could easily read them without digging out the actual papers. Keeping everything together from the start will help you to cope with it all.

Good luck!
 

purrsian

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Oh and they prefer you to have been seeing the doctor who is supporting your application for at least 6 months - they don't really like 'doctor shopping'. I provided some blood test results such as the ones showing previous EBV infection and repeated deficiencies (like iron and B12) and my tilt table test results. I gave them anything that showed abnormalities (even though none of our results are ever specific - at least it shows SOMETHING is going on!).