Monday, April 6, 2015

Disability Pension

I've posted previously on the Epilepsy Australia Facebook site about the disability pension but I'd like to go over it in a bit more detail for those interested.

I will go through what I think is basically required by Centrelink. But please obtain further advice from Centrelink. I can only provide what I know from failing a few times before succeeding the final time.

Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work related Impairment for
Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011

There is a severe functional impact from loss of consciousness or altered state of
consciousness during waking hours when occupied with a task or activity
The person:
has episodes of involuntary loss of consciousness:
    (A) which occur at least once each month; and
    (B) which require the person to receive first aid
measures and may require emergency
medication or hospitalisation; or

has episodes of altered state of consciousness:
(A) which occur at least once per
week; and
(B) during which the person’s functional abilities are
affected during these episodes (e.g. the person
remains standing or sitting but is unaware of their
surroundings or actions during the episode); and

(b) is unable to perform many activities
of daily living between
episodes; and
(c) cannot obtain a driver’s licence on medical grounds and has other
related restrictions on activities; and
is unable to attend work, education or training activities, for at
least 15 hours per week.

This is the information Centrelink provides.
So you need to have a seizure at least once a month with some lack of awareness and require first aide OR a seizure once week where your functional abilities are affected. Most seizures have some affect on functional abilities. A lot of seizures require some first aide. Someone to sit with you afterwards is even an example.
You also need to be unable to perform some daily living activities BETWEEN SEIZURES. That's important. Are you unable to catch public transport? Can you cook yourself dinner? Do you forget things easily? How does this affect your day to day life? You need a few examples here. And not just memory loss.
You also need to be unable to drive.
Your condition also needs to be stabilized. This means it is not going to change for many years. If you have just started or are going to start a new treatment not a good idea to mention it as this means your condition has a slight chance of improving and you won't get it.
It is also a good idea to have been on Newstart and part of the Employment program for 18mnths beforehand.

Get your doctor to write a report on all these factors. Maybe make notes yourself. And bring it all, including your epilepsy diary (which you should have if your condition is that bad) to the Centrelink Interview.

I think I've covered everything, but it's 2am and I might have missed something. Please tell me if you want me to add something. Especially if you work or worked for Centrelink. :)