Contributed from Queensland
Jaysen Searle has brain damage, can’t sit up on his own and, despite being only 46, is living in an aged care home.
But Centrelink still thinks he should be looking for a job.
“They wanted to put him on a Newstart Allowance, because they reckon his injuries weren’t bad enough for a disability pension,” said Palm Beach’s Paula Searle, who has lived a nightmare since July when her husband was critically injured after colliding with a bush turkey while cycling.
when Centrelink redirects someone to Newstart, it means that their application for another benefit is cancelled, they have to begin again the whole process of filling in paperwork, supplying evidence and jumping through the rest of the hoops. By doing this to people already under a lot of stress, Centrelink shows its disregard for the well being of those who need some protection in difficult times. Instead they enter a period of ongoing delay, where they are forced to begin the application process all over again; filling forms, providing evidence and jumping through the rest of the hoops.
“I’ve taken in medical certificates that show this man has brain damage, one arm hanging by two tendons, emphysema because of the punctured lungs. The list is huge, but I’ve been fighting for the pension since October and I’m getting nowhere.
“I just don’t understand it … if someone as badly injured as Jaysen doesn’t qualify for a disability pension, who does?”
Jaysens’s accident happened in July last year and the applications did not go in till October, even though horrific injuries left him with limited movement and the ability to vocalise not much more than yes and no.
It was not only Jaysen’s disability support payment that which was denied. Paula was also refused a Carers Benefit, the basis of Jaysen’s stated failure to qualify.
The lack of Centrelink support means that Jaysen has been forced to live in an aged care facility, because there is nowhere else to go to receive the care he needs.
“The day before he moved in I told him the plan is to only be there for a short time … and I would then bring him home and he gave me the thumbs up. He knows I’m there for him…There’s no way I’ll leave him there. He’s my world,” said Paula.
Centrelink has so far refused to budge, despite being presented with all the evidence. There is no way that leaving vulnerable people in this state this can be justified by anyone.
Paula is determined to keep on fighting for the two of them, until justice is finally won.