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Basic Rights Queensland reduce debt for elderly carer

Basic Rights Queensland elderly client Sue, had taken a severely disabled child into her home and cared for her for decades, received a payment of $100,000 arrears owed to her by a state government agency. After years of not questioning the level of funding for the child’s care needs, Sue was relieved to receive the arrears, then surprised and distressed when Centrelink raised a debt of $60,000.

Our caseworker demonstrated that Centrelink had calculated the debt incorrectly and argued “special circumstances” such as legal fees and Sue’s notional entitlement to the Pension Bonus, had she received the annual payment increases when they were due, rather than in one lump sum in arrears. We were successful in having the debt reduced to a much more manageable $9,000, thereby greatly reducing our elderly client’s financial and emotional stress.

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