Catherine* approached Basic Rights Queensland as she was unable to qualify for income support due to a “preclusion period” imposed as a result of a compensation payout resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Catherine was precluded from receiving a Centrelink payment until 2025 meaning she would not be able to receive a payment for another 10 years. When she contacted Basic Rights Queensland she had no money in the bank, no assets and was relying on charity and limited family support to survive.
As a result of the motor vehicle accident Catherine sustained multiple physical injuries which left her in chronic pain with limited endurance and permanent scarring. Furthermore, she sustained a moderate brain injury which affected her emotions and ability to plan and make considered decisions.
Not long after the accident Catherine’s relationship broke down and she was left to raise her children alone. Catherine purchased a house and business with the compensation funds hoping to sustain herself and her family however the impact of the 2011 floods and other factors meant she was eventually forced to sell the house and business at a significant loss. In the meantime Catherine had difficulty managing her money and was taken advantage of financially by others. As a result of her significant experience of grief and loss across a variety of domains including financial, relationship, employment and health Catherine developed severe depression which worsened over time and was severe when she contacted Basic Rights.
Basic Rights Queensland obtained information from her doctor, mental health professionals and accessed relevant information relating to her compensation payout and argued on appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Level One) that Catherine’s preclusion period should be waived on the basis of “special circumstances”. Catherine is now receiving a payment and has regained her self-esteem due to the increased independence that this provides.
(*Catherine is not the client’s real name)