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Chronically Centrelink: The Health Gap In The Welfare System

Wednesday 10 April 2019


From South Australian news outlet InDaily:


Nijole Naujokas
Nijole Naujokas: the welfare system "sort of
treats you like you're not a person".
(Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily)

Chronically Centrelink: the health gap in the welfare system

Australians living with chronic illness are caught in a frustrating gap in the welfare system, advocates say, with often devastating consequences for their health.

By Jessica Bassano
Monday April 8, 2019
© Copyright 2019 Solstice Media.

Australians living with chronic illnesses are often forced to rely on Newstart payments to survive. The likelihood is most of these people will have conditions for the remainder of their lives. Yet they are ineligible for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

For North Adelaide-based freelance writer Nijole Naujokas, living with endometriosis and arthritis means she could be struck down with debilitating symptoms at any time.

“About a month ago I had one episode where I was lying on the bed. I just had to keep very, very still. I knew that my pain killers where just out of arms reach, but I couldn’t reach them… I had to force myself. It took a good 15 minutes. I had to tell myself: just get up and get them. But I couldn’t,” said Naujokas.

Like many Australians living with a chronic illness on Newstart, Naujokas must reapply for medical exemptions every 13 weeks, or undergo an employment services assessment, to reduce her reporting obligations.

The exemption allows Naujokas to receive her Newstart allowance without looking for work or undertaking the activities laid out in her job plan. But, despite Naujokas’s conditions, there are no guarantees she will receive an exemption.


Full article…



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