Disability pensioners blocked from seeking work
KEVIN Crawley has been on the Disability Support Pension for 10 years and wants to re-enter the workforce, but is continually being faced with road blocks.
Mr Crawley feels fit enough to go back to work, but has found he cannot get any help from job agencies without being taken off the DSP by Centrelink.
"I would love a job, but I really wouldn't know where to start," he said.
After going through a Job Capacity Assessment at Centrelink the 57-year-old was told he could work eight to 15 hours a week, which would entitle him to be taken off the DSP and go on to the less generous Newstart Allowance.
Mr Crawley would have been happy with that, but the change never happened because the assessment result was suddenly altered, with no explanation, to nought to seven hours.
That meant he could not be switched from the DSP to Newstart or go to an agency for help to find work.
Despite getting two certificates from his doctor saying he is fit to fit, Mr Crawley's pension still has not been changed.
"My doctor ... has basically said I can work and I can work more than 15 hours a week, but that hasn't been accepted by Centrelink," he said.
A bulging disc in his back is the source of the former towbar-fitter's problems, giving him regular but manageable pain.
"I don't see myself as having a disability," he said.
A Department of Human Services spokeswoman said the department believed Mr Crawley should be on the DSP.
"We are aware of this customer and are confident he is receiving the correct payment for his current circumstances," she said.
She said a disability pensioner could choose to apply for the Newstart Allowance, which would provide access to job agencies, but had to be assessed first.
"These assessments are conducted by qualified health or allied health professionals who consider medical evidence from a doctor or specialist and also takes into account other factors such as their participation history and social interactions," she said.
Mr Crawley has sought help from the Member for Longman, Wyatt Roy.
The MP said: "Our office has liaised closely with Centrelink on a number of occasions in relation to Mr Crawley's concerns.
"Each time, a Centrelink social worker or manager has contacted him for discussions. Centrelink has made an independent assessment on Mr Crawley's eligibility for work."