Born with spina bifida, Charlie* suffered from faecal and urinary incontinence. Having been a recipient of the disability support pension (DSP), Charlie decided he wanted to try work on a full-time basis. He found a job, surrendered his pension and drove trucks for nearly 6 years.
Whilst driving, he had regular “accidents” which left him with no option but to go home and shower. At work, he avoided contact with co-workers and never ate in the lunch room for fear they would detect the odour that was normally present. Managing his disability in these circumstances eventually became too much and Charlie had to resign.
Unsuccessful with a new claim for DSP, Charlie had to exist on Newstart Allowance and his living standards fell dramatically. Unable to afford the latex liners for his catheter bags, Charlie cleaned and reused them, contrary to medical advice that they should be replaced, never reused. This made Charlie prone to serious bladder and kidney infections, which he contracted on an almost monthly basis.
On appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, BRQ succeeded in obtaining DSP and more than 12 months of arrears for Charlie. Now Charlie has financial security and he is able to afford his medical requirements.
*Not his real name