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The Forum > Article Comments > Wasting expertise and wasting lives > Comments

Wasting expertise and wasting lives : Comments

By Peter Gibilisco, published 28/2/2007

Spending cuts for the disabled have meant many lack the support to allow them to 'give back' to society.

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Its incomprehensible for able bodied people to understand that your level of disability means it takes someone 90 minutes to get you out of bed, toileted, washed, dressed fed and into your wheelchair / transport ready for the daily activities.

Able bodied people assume this happens by MAGIC or that the facilities are provided.

I thought this article was going to mention that you have mutual obligation conditions to fulfill to receive a disability pension . . . . or we haven't sunk that low yet?
Posted by billie, Wednesday, 28 February 2007 8:59:01 AM
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I have empathy for you, as a fellow disabled person. My disablement is chronic major depression, with accompanying generalised anxiety disorder and phobia's, sadly this means if Centrelink calls me in I am unable to remove my artificial leg and show them my stump, as my disablement is not visible.

I was speaking to a bloke in his 60's who had been caring for the crippled wife, who told me Centrelink had taken him off his carer's pension, and put him on Newstart, and also had advised his wife to see a doctor to confirm she is still crippled.

If I get this letter the result will be that I will lose all benefits, as I am unable to work, as much as I'd like to, some days I am unable to get out of bed the depression is so bad. I have a friend in a wheelchair who is able to work in HR and loves it, every case is different, it is not a one policy fits all situation.
Posted by SHONGA, Wednesday, 28 February 2007 10:09:51 AM
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I regret to advise that your situation is not that uncommon. I became disabled a number of years ago and government assistance has been non-existent. I struggled for 3 months to get referred to the Comm rehab this struggle mainly occurring because of the vagaries of Centrelink bureaucratic machinations. However CRS has proved to be hopeless. Registered with them for 5 months and as yet not one single effort on their part to help me find work or even work experience for that matter. Thus in 9 months not a single effort has been made to help me get back into the workforce. Instead I have been consistently pathologised by my case worker.

She stated I had an anger management problem. When in an argument about this she lost her cool, she changed her mind! She rang me up later to suggest counselling. I concurred. She lied, I showed up at the office and was referred to a psychiatrist. After half an hour the psych said, why did they send you to me?. I replied that if you look at the research on disabled people it clearly indicates that disabled people are typically attributed to having all sorts of problems other than their specific disability. He concurred and recommended no intervention.
The consultant, proved twice wrong, contacted me and then suggested I had a communication problem.
Since then nothing has been done, they have sidelined me.

Incredibly the attitude of the consultant was discriminatory!

I am not without ability. I am a co-author for 5 presentations at various scientific meetings including 3 poster presentations at the Annual society for Neuroscience. I am typically regarded as possessing gifted intelligence yet have been consistently advised that I must hide this from prospective employers because being disabled and highly intelligent is incongruous with their innate prejudices.

The current policies are created by people who no understanding of the problems faced by disabled people. I've had enough, I'm outta here.
Posted by John H., Wednesday, 28 February 2007 1:56:26 PM
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People, I hearya. I've spent the last few years trying to bring attention to the fact that a "one size fits all" policy is counter-productive to Disability services, Centrelink and Mental Health departments.

I spent two years while on benefits working full time for Mental Health and in youth suicide prevention (gratis)while Centrelink frequently threatened to breach me for not turning up at "seminars" which teach how to write letters. I am a professional writer/journalist.

The Centrelink personal conducting the "seminars" did not possess literacy skills above a Year 10 level.

I WAS breached on Christmas Eve for missing an appointment due to a suicide attempt.

Having dropped out of UQ after leaving school to work as a successful journalist/writer/lecturer/actor, according to Centrelink, I was "unqualified".

Went back to Uni with two children to support; graduated with Honours; become Rotary's "poster girl" for Mental Illness; (been bi-polar since age 12); made documentaries on the homeless; wrote a Work for the Dole programme for CADET and much much more since arriving back in Australia but was only offered cleaning jobs from Centrelink.

Other friends - single mothers - worked every day at the local High School and in Youth Organisations and were thus able to supervise their own children. Now they're forced to give up this valuable work to take on cleaning jobs which leave thier vulnerable children alone in the afternoons and evenings and doesn't cover the rent.

Disability services recently installed handrails in bathrooms and security doors for all its juvenile clients locally.Thus a friend with a mobile child recieved unnecessary bathroom accessories while one with a bed-ridden child shiny new locks on the doors. Both subsequently had respite hours cut.

Public opinion, taking its cue from Government, regards those on benefits as shifty, lazy, immoral and a drain on their taxes (as blogs in OLO adequately testify). Humiliating as it is,publicising our stories may one day help gain the support necessary to bring about change.
Posted by Romany, Wednesday, 28 February 2007 11:05:13 PM
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