Saturday 3 May 2014

How About The Fear Of Wondering If We’ll Be Paying For People Like You Forever, Steve?

Steve Dee wails at the unfairness of Australian disability benefit processes:
I don’t watch horror movies. Partly because I have an anxiety disorder, and partly because my life has been filled with enough fear already. I know the horror of watching your bank account slowly slip into the red, several days before payday and with the cupboard running bare. I know the chill of panic that runs down your spine when you hear the car engine rattle and know it will be months before you can afford a repair, and have no other way to reach your place of employment. I know the ghastliness of having to decide which relative to ask for help, which bill collection company to beg for mercy, which medical problem to ignore for the moment and which you can afford to fix now.
Fears and anxieties that a lot of people know, surely? Especially in days of recession and inflation? Congratz, Steve, you're one of us!

But wait, not so fast! Steve, you see, is special:
And oh yes, I know the dread of your benefits being taken away from you.
Of course! Benefits are forever, you see, like diamonds:
After several meetings with Centrelink, I had to have my illness certified by a psychiatrist. It took a month to get an appointment, and he required two appointments minimum – each at a cost of several hundred dollars – before he would attest to my condition. It took a few more weeks before the final interview with Centrelink where I was once again asked to prove I was disabled to a scrutineer: a final humiliation that presumes the weakest of us are criminals, and permits us to prove our innocence only by proving our incompetence.
No. it's not 'a humiliation'; it's a safeguard. That the money is being spent on the right people, and not squandered on fraudsters. Do you think there should be no checks at all?
In 2013, I watched the government cut mental health funding so I could only get half as many subsidised treatments a year. Then Kevin Andrews began to suggest plans to alter benefit payments to people with mental illnesses, saying he was "alarmed" by growth in mental illness numbers. The pressure of this constant threat – along with the need to keep working in case it became a reality – have continued to damage my mental health, making it harder and harder for me to get well. Which means I spend longer and longer on the pension, and cost the government more and more money.
That sounds a lot like blackmail, Steve-o...
Andrews continues to talk about making sure those who can work do. It is a choice of language that reduces people to resources: if they are able to be turned towards a profit, they will be, because anything less is a travesty against capitalism. This is a mindset that leaves no consideration for health and well being, of getting better and staying better. Certainly no concern for making lives richer and people stronger.
I'm a little unclear about just how handing out money with no safeguards for life so people can sit on their backsides makes anyone's life richer, or how it might make people stronger for that matter. It seems to me it just makes them dependent.


Anonymous said...

Lazy, insane gimps like Steve Dee should be paraded so that those of us who feed their bellies can observe how our money is being spent. To spare his feelings, we'll use one-way mirrors.

We Australians have a word for people like this - bludgers.

Lie an intestinal worm, he claims his share of the nutrients, and gives you the shits from time to time. And from time to time, they stick their heads out of your bum. Which is precisely what Steve dee has done.

Anonymous said...

Rambling yes guilty but .. there really are a lot of people out there who are not capable of a day's work, let alone or a week's or a lifetime. I have WORKED 45 years because I can but I have met many many people who can't. There are certainly many bludgers out there but there are also a lot of people who simply are not up to it. Compassion, people, compassion

andy5759 said...

Anon, I agree with all you wrote. You have to admit that Julia picks some good ones here, though.

Flaxen Saxon said...

No compassionate person decries the use of benefits to those in genuine need. For most it should be temporary 'leg up' and for some, due to no fault of their own, it is a permanent fix. Of course the system will be exploited by the work shy and the feckless. Better safe guards and monitoring would help. But I am preaching to the converted and furthermore spouting the counsel of perfection. Sorry to hear that you have a mental health issue Ms Predator. My mother is a paranoid schizophrenic and I have some insight into mental turmoil.

JuliaM said...

"We Australians have a word for people like this - bludgers."

And a fine word it is too.

"...there really are a lot of people out there who are not capable of a day's work, let alone or a week's or a lifetime."

No work at all? Sutely that's only for those in a coma or paraplegic?

We really need to get more inventive about methods for allowing the most disabled to do something, if only the most minor tasks.

"Sorry to hear that you have a mental health issue Ms Predator."

Not that I'm aware of!