23 May 2017

My Centrelink Payment Was Cancelled. The Reason Why Will Shock You

Sorry, I've gone for a clickbait title here, but honestly. You won't believe this, or maybe you will, but anyway. If you thought the man with possible schizophrenia having to go through the job search process was tragedy, this is just farce.

I've been on a medical exemption with Centrelink since last year due to mental health issues. They've assessed me as having 8 hours a week capacity to work, so I still have to do the whole job network malarkey, attending fortnightly appointments and applying for all the litany of jobs welcoming potential employees only available 8 hours a week. Which isn't great but that's life.

But then I developed a nasty foot condition called plantar fascitis, which isn't dangerous or anything, but makes walking pretty bloody painful. Getting to appointments was pretty much impossible. So I went to my doctor, he filled out a Centrelink medical certificate for me, I uploaded it to the Centrelink website, and went about my days, expecting all would be sorted with an exemption from job hunting till I was literally back on my feet. 

Then I started getting insistent messages from the job search people. Why had I missed appointments? I called them. They hadn't seen the certificate. It hadn't registered in the system. They suggested it may have been declined? How odd, I thought, why would my exemption be declined. I needed to call Centrelink.

We all know how that is. I called and I called. I would get a busy signal 9 times in a row. Or be on hold for an hour, ninety minutes (eating up my phone credit). And my flat poses...some issues in trying to call. And because I'd missed a job search appointment, my payment was cancelled.

Finally I gave up. One day when my foot was slightly less bothersome, I loaded up on painkillers and hobbled in. I had lots of time to catch up on my book while I waited. Then finally, I was seen by a customer service officer.

Your claim was rejected (which no one had told me), she said, because it had the same diagnosis as last December when you were assessed as able to do job search stuff.

So you saw the plantar fascitis and it was still rejected?

Yes.

But I can't walk. What am I supposed to do?

You'll have to attend your job network provider so they can restart your payment.

But I can't walk much!

Maybe they can transfer you to a provider who is closer to your house.

* I'm on the brink of tears *

I'm sorry, but it was rejected because your condition is the same as December...this mental health diagnosis. * She points to the box on the form for Diagnosis *

What about the plantar fascitis? 

What? 

Hang on, look. * I point to the box on the form for additional information * It says about the plantar fascitis....that I have trouble walking and getting to appointments. 

Oh. Oh. (Obviously, they hadn't seen it). Well, he put that in the wrong box. It should be under diagnosis.

Are you telling me my payment is cancelled because my doctor wrote my condition in the wrong box and no one tweaked?

You can lodge an appeal. It will take 5-7 working days. Meanwhile, contact your job network provider for an appointment to restart your payment; we can't do it here.

Okay, if you've read all this, to sum up: Centrelink missed a change to my diagnosis on an official form because it was in the wrong box and no one read the thing properly, cancelled my payment as a result, and to get it back I have to wait a week and attend the appointment I missed in the first place cause I can barely bloody walk.  

I tell you, it's a rort how they throw money at people. 

11 May 2017

Good girls can have abortions, bad girls can go to hell

Disappointing but unsurprising news today, that the NSW government has voted against decriminalising abortion Yes, in Australia's most populous state in 2017, abortion remains technically a crime.

The usual arguments came out in the public debate, including that old chestnut from pro lifers, abortion is bad but we must make exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Let's unpack that, shall we? By making exceptions for cases of rape or incest, pro lifers, who state their belief that life begins at conception, are okay with the deaths of some babies. That the babies of rape victims aren't quite as murdered as the shameless hussies who willingly had sex.

It's nonsense is what it is. Either all life begins at conception, making all abortion murder, or it doesn't. "Exceptions for cases of rape or incest" have nothing to do with saving babies and everything to do with controlling and judging women. 

The "good" women who got pregnant through no fault of their own may have an abortion; the "bad" women who chose to have sex - tough luck, sister, you got yourself into this mess, you must be punished by continuing your pregnancy whether you want to or not.

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