My Payment Was Suspended Because I was Sick

I would like my story to remain anonymous please.

I am receiving Newstart and I comply with all of my mutual obligation activities. I have only once reorganised another job network appointment.

I was recently very sick with a flu virus. I rang my Job Network Provider within plenty of time  to speak to my case manager to rearrange another appointment. I was so sick I kept having to stop talking on the phone so that I could vomit. I wanted at least seven days to recover but my case manager was pushing for me to reschedule an appointment within only two days of the original one. I kept trying to push for another seven days but they said they were all booked out and could only fit me in on a day that was only two days after my original appointment. Being so sick I was tired I needed to go back to bed, I said yes, thinking if I was still not well enough I could rebook.

I had the home doctor service come out to see me, and received a medical certificate for 48hrs only. I was much much sicker than that. I was in bed for seven days and I had a post viral fatigue for another seven days. I rang my Job Network agency to find that I could not reschedule a second appointment and would need a medical certificate and that I would need to take it to Centrelink. I was so sick I could not walk, I don’t drive and I don’t have someone to drive me to a GP and even if I did I wouldn’t have been able to go. I rely on public transport. I also have a spinal disability and lying in bed for seven days makes it worse. My vertebrae stiffen and I can’t walk. My case manager kept saying she didn’t understand why there wasn’t someone anyone even a neighbour to take me to the GP. There isn’t, I have no family and my neighbours all keep to themselves.

Because I couldn’t get to a GP for a medical certificate nor take this to Centrelink my payment was suspended until I was well enough to go to a re-engagement appointment.

When I was well enough I attended my appointment my payment was reinstated and I received back pay. However, if the new compliance measures were enforced I would have lost my payment and essentially I would have been fined for being too sick.