Friday, 7 February 2014
Newstart or Disability Support Pension?
I want to work, but I can't. I need operations for injuries sustained through hard work over many years. At the moment, I receive the Newstart benefit. I believe that I would qualify for a Disability Support Pension (DSP) if I had someone help me to document my illness and injury and the effect it has on my day-to-day life.
Here is a list of my injuries.
• Right elbow - A screw in my right elbow from a roller skating break when I was a kid (Story to come). I have had 3 operations so far for compressed nerves. When the nerves grow back they compress on the screw in the bone. The pain and doctor visits are ongoing - I need something done to them about every two years.
• Right hand – My right wrist has a ligament detached from the bone causing pain and swelling. I can't use a computer mouse. I have arthritis in my right index and ring fingers. I find it hard to hold a pen and my hand aches. The next operation I need is on my right wrist.
• I have plates in my left arm from the hit-and-run accident. I have had two operations for tennis elbow and two carpal tunnel operations so far.
• Left ankle – In my left ankle I have a screw in the tibia from a fall through a roof (Another story).
• Right foot - My right ankle has a chip in the bone and a torn ligament, the bone rubs. I can't walk easily on this foot. The next operation after my wrist will be this ankle. I cannot ever wear steel cap boots again. I have a lump under my right foot, from wearing boots, that needs removal.
• Spine – I have a 50-degree curvature of the spine from working in the meatworks as a teenager. This is painful, especially as I sleep in the back seat of my car.
• Thyroid - Graves disease in pregnancy has left me with thyroid problems. The result is depression if I am not medicated. The medication must be kept in a fridge, which I do not have access to. At the moment, one of the charities that help me sometimes stores the medication in their fridge. This means that I have to drive to the charity each day and it costs me petrol.
• Liver – I have hemochromatosis of the liver. That means that my body absorbs and stores too much iron. The extra iron builds up in organs, especially the liver, and can cause serious damage. Without treatment, the disease can cause organs to fail. I need regular venisections – where the blood drains - otherwise I rust… Haha, I mean otherwise I get very tired.
So, I don't qualify for DSP. I would really like to work, but I am not qualified in anything and my body couldn't use a computer, carry or wash plates or be on my feet for long periods.
Just after my car accident I was on the DSP. I was told after a while that I was not injured anymore, so they cut me off. So I went back to work. I have tried, I really have, to stay self-sufficient. I did work and pay taxes for many years.
I am on Newstart allowance. I need to pay health insurance and car insurance and car maintenance costs. I use a pre-paid mobile phone. The phone allows me to manage my money, pay my bills and is a lifeline to the outside world. I have found enormous help from people on twitter via the phone… without the phone I might not have a conversation with another human for days.
I spend $5 per day on food, and use what is left for petrol. If I don't have money for petrol I can't go anywhere – this means no showers, no visits to the charities, no doctor appointments. It means that I cannot move my home (the car) to a safe place if someone makes me feel unsafe. If I need toiletries, I can only buy them when I when have spare dollars. I buy gas for cooking and pay for rego and car repairs if I have the money. The health insurance doesn't cover all of the cost of the operations, I need to pay for the gaps and excess for the operations.
So - how to survive? I can't work it out. I am not disabled, so I don't qualify for the DSP. Therefore I am forced to be on Newstart. It is a joke right? This is supposed to be the lucky country. We homeless are the invisible people. The government just ignores us. I have paid taxes my whole life. It sucks.