Where I’m from, there’s a pension for those with a disability.
There’s a three-step process.
- Evidence- from your Drs (in my case, treating Psychiatrist/ Clinical Psychologist, GP, etc.)
- Assessment – in-person interview with an Allied Health professional
- Acceptance or Rejection
Now, here’s the thing. I have a chronic, episodic condition. Chronic means incurable, permanent – I have it for life. And episodic means that at just about any moment, it can turn my entire world upside down.
I have been accessing treatment for two full years now, and have been fully diagnosed. My condition is stable, in that its not going anywhere any time soon. Through a combination of moving home and treating professionals ceasing to practise due to exceptional, I have been without a care team for months on end.
Its incredibly difficult to get an appointment with treating professionals, even with a correct diagnosis. Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists have long waiting lists, their services and funding subsidies are geographically dependent.
My claim has been rejected, and I have 13 weeks to provide more evidence. This is on top of the evidence I already provided; every document to do with my diagnosis, my treatment and its stably unstable state I have in my possession.
So in a couple of weeks I have a meeting for the first time with a Clinical Psychologist who knows nothing about me. During that meeting I will hand her a USB with every patient file I have collected on myself, so I don’t have to work through my triggers explaining it to her. She will do an intake assessment and I will ask her to write a letter. I will upload it to the welfare website, and apparently because of the acronyms after her name if she says my condition is “fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised” then I am eligible.
If that doesn’t work, I have initial appointment scheduled the month after, via TeleHealth with a Psychiatrist. Again, she doesn’t know me from John Smith.
After this, they can still reject my claim again during the assessment phase. Which will lead me to have to file for review. Again. Or appeal their decision; which equates to accusing the ‘Assessment Team’ (who seem to exist in the air?) of making a mistake. Thus, this route takes months, for potentially no reward.
I have also been to an assessment interview previously for a different claim when I was still gathering information. During that interview I was not asked a single question. How the assessor drew a conclusion in re my ability to work is beyond me.
My medical costs are high, even with Medicare. I’m a young person who hasn’t been able to do anything full time since the end of 2015. My parents are both on pensions, with savings.
The child support from my biological father is cut on my 18th birthday. That is less than 3 months away. The 13 week review period for my medical evidence ends 10 days after I come of age.
This isn’t life or death for me. I have an extremely supportive family and we’ve always been able to get by. Currently I’m experiencing a neutral period in terms of my condition. This is the only reason I am able to endure this challenging and long-winded process to access welfare.
When it will really count is when my condition inevitably rears its ugly head, leaves me out of a job, education opportunity, regular routine, into the hospital, doing med reviews, finding new doctors. The list goes on and on.
The question is, will I have the financial support from my Government when that happens?
I hope so.
[please note this post was written in January: I may have an update on the current situation in the future.]Follow me (safely, from a distance):