Sarah Davies

I have the same company for my Newstart job network provider as for my NDIS LAC and in both cases the people who do the customer interface, so the case managers/ local area coordinators have very little understanding of the logistics involved in everyday life for people with disabilities. Some of the mandatory activities (“mutual obligations”) are beyond the capacity of PWDs, or max out our capacity leaving no energy for activities of daily living let alone looking for work.

I have limited mobility and have to plan appointments well in advance in order to book a support worker to drive me, yet I’ve had text messages to inform me of an appointment the following day, which I was not told about prior to that, and expected just to turn up. Another time I received a letter by mail to inform me I had an APM appointment the day before… and last time I made the effort to get into the office only to be told my caseworker was now in management and I should have received a text to say my appointment was postponed.

It’s chaotic, there is no continuity, and very little understanding of real life considerations for people with a disability. It is completely pointless and cruel to be requiring disabled people to go through 18 months of this crap before we can even attempt to apply for the DSP. There’s a very wise saying, that you can judge a country by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Australia and the LNP should be thoroughly ashamed.

The amount of stress and difficulty I have had to endure, through no choice of my own, because I’m a disabled person, has been damaging and counterproductive. I have actually retrained in highly skilled work that I could do from home if I was well supported, but all my energy is taken servicing the giant bureaucratic beasts of centrelink, job network and NDIS. Multiple handling, arbitrary, inaccurate and counterproductive decision making, dealing with constant mistakes and systems that are convoluted, needlessly complex, punitive and degrading.

I want to be active in my community. I want to develop my career. I want to have the time and energy to improve my physical health. So maybe stop punishing us for being disabled, treat us like human beings with rights and talents and goals of our own, and stop contributing to the disabling social factors we already face.