This response is from a person in their 20s living in regional New South Wales. They are disabled and have been homeless. They applied for the DSP but their application was rejected. They have requested that their name be withheld.

People there actively acknowledge there is very little work, and yet I am still required to look.

Survey responses

Which payments have you received from Centrelink?Austudy; JobSeeker; Youth Allowance (student and apprentice)
Do you ever worry about losing your payment?Yes
Provider nameAPM
Do ‘mutual’ obligations activities make your mental or physical health worse?Yes
Have you been able to access programs or services through a job agency or other provider that helped to improve your physical or mental health?No
Have you ever experienced mistreatment from a provider or other organisation because of activities you were required to do?Not sure
Have you ever had paid work, study commitments or caring duties at the same time as being required to do ‘mutual’ obligations?Yes, I have been a student
Do you have any paid work?No

If you were able to speak directly to the politicians who decide what we need to do to get a Centrelink payment, what would you say to them?

Have they done all of those things? Have they done them while juggling appointments, and risking not being able to pay the rent if one little thing goes wrong? Have they ever had to decide what days they get to eat, or only been able to eat because a friend helped them out? To meal plan around multiple food sensitivities? Have they ever had to answer invasive questions about their health while in a fever?

Do you do any unpaid work?

I voluntarily run an event at my local youth centre every week

For mutual obligations

Volunteering with Salvation Army and TAFE, via Distance. I did not finish due to the impacts on my mental health.

Do you want to say anything about your experience with Centrelink or living on payments?

I am on payments, and live in low-income housing, and I still struggle to make ends meet. I am on a waiting list to see a specialist to hopefully help diagnose my chronic pain and fatigue conditions, but that wait has only gotten longer with COVID. Centrelink won’t even consider me for DSP unless I am “fully diagnosed and stabilised”, so my doctor has been giving me as many certificates as she can to help me until we get to actually seeing the specialist. The system then requires me to have Job Capacity Assessments every few months. The last one was on the phone. I was in the middle of dealing with side affects of my COVID booster, and not able to think properly. I told the assessor this and still had to go through all the questions

Do you want to say anything about your experiences of being disabled in the workforce and/or on Centrelink payments?

Nobody wants to hire a person who uses a cane and can’t stand for long periods of time

What effect do ‘mutual’ obligations have on your wellbeing?

Stress to keep up with things impacts my depression and anxiety

Has a provider ever caused a problem with your payment?

Respondents may select more than one option

  • Yes, and my payment was reduced
  • Yes, and my payment was late
  • Yes, and my payment was suspended
  • Yes, but I was able to fix the problem before my payment was affected

Do you want to say anything about your experience with your providers?

People there actively acknowledge that there is very little work, and yet I am still required to look. The fact that my disabilities are not fully diagnosed makes this harder

Employment services survey

The Punishment for Profit report is based on hundreds of responses to surveys conducted by the Antipoverty Centre. This research is ongoing. If you are in Workforce Australia, Disability Employment Services or a similar program, we welcome any information you are able to share about your experiences.

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