Centrelink refused to pay caregivers to a family violence survivor while caring for her teenage daughter during aggressive cancer treatment, arguing that she was ineligible for compensation for a terrible car accident before seven Years with which the woman bought a modest house

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned the decision on Christmas Eve, saying the woman was clearly “in dire need of money” and the government’s stance risked forcing her to sell her house for a dime in order to take on her caring responsibilities finance, a result which it described as “appalling”

In mid-2019, the Melbourne woman applied for a caregiver’s payment and allowance so she could look after her 15-year-old daughter, who was undergoing major surgery and aggressive chemotherapy to treat cancer

The woman was already struggling to make ends meet She relied on Salvation Army meals and regularly skipped meals to ensure that her two children could eat

“At one point I had a broken nose and had to tell her [her daughter] that I had met something in the house on the way to the [hospital],” she told the tribunal

However, Centrelink denied her claim for care due to earlier compensation after a major car accident in 2012

The woman was hit while driving through an intersection under a green light to pick her daughter up from school. Trapped in her car for 46 minutes, she suffered a bruised pelvis, broken back, and broken ribs. She was in for two months Hospital and needed a wheelchair for another six months

Later court cases eventually resulted in a settlement of 600$ 000, money she used “wisely and not extravagantly,” said the tribunal

She sold her existing family home because the proximity to the scene of the accident contributed to her post-traumatic stress disorder, and used the proceeds to pay off her mortgage

She bought in December 2016 at 385A modest house on the outskirts of Melbourne, far from the crash site

Her husband also used some of the money to quench his ice addiction, something the woman was too fearful to refuse, the tribunal heard

Centrelink said the compensation payment prevented them from applying for care allowance until at least April 2022

The Government’s Guide to the Social Services Act suggests that the home was a “realizable asset” that could be sold to support them during the lockup period without requiring any caregiver payments

For reasons published on Monday, the tribunal found the woman had been careful and not reckless with her expenses and accepted her evidence of financial hardship, the meals she received each week from the Salvation Army ranged often went wrong, the Tribunal heard, and she often went out without food, usually breakfast and lunch “three or four days a week”

“In this context, I must point out that, although the complainant has suffered greatly in her life – especially recently – she has in no way taken the view that she is excessive or excessive,” said Senior AAT Member Dr Damien Cremean said in his judgment

“I accept her evidence in its entirety. Nothing she asked cross-examined would detract from her credibility. She is a truthful person who has suffered far too many accidents”

The tribunal said it would be an “appalling” result to ask the woman to sell her house to fund her during the embargo

Not only would it be difficult to sell due to its semi-rural location and specially developed fence and security system, but such a course would expose the woman and her children to the whims of the rental market

The Tribunal found that given her status as a single mother of two with two dogs, she would have difficulty finding rental accommodation

It turned out that their grave financial hardship alone was a special circumstance that justified lifting the lock-up period

“Based on the evidence available to me, I am satisfied that the applicant is in dire need of money,” wrote Cremean. “I consider your situation serious. I cannot speak of the majority of social security beneficiaries, but I can say that in my experience I have I have seldom encountered a situation as serious as that of the applicant ”

Centrelink

World news – AU – Centrelink declined payments to survivors of domestic violence who are caring for a daughter with cancer

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jan/05/centrelink-denied-payments-to-family-violence-survivor-caring-for-daughter-with-cancer