It’s quite something that the only way I can get proper support from a government department is to publicly shame them every time they do something wrong.
It’s a shame because a government department our vulnerable people rely on is so ridiculously incompetent.
It’s also a shame because they do wrong things a lot, and I am getting tired of writing about this. I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing about it.
So. I took a “check-in” phone call from my case manager on Friday 9 May.
My benefit is actually made up of several different payments – the benefit itself, the accommodation supplement, the disability allowance, and a portion called Temporary Additional Support (or TAS) which you can apply for when you have nothing else to fall back on. You can qualify if you have no assets.
I was finally told I qualified for this 4 months ago. I applied and was granted it for a 13 week period. It’s been helping a lot.
I knew that it was due to end so I asked my case manager about it during that phone call. She said that, despite the fact I had been sent a letter with a reapplication form, there was no need for me to reapply. I repeatedly checked with her that there was nothing I needed to do. She told me to ignore the letter. So I did.
Let’s get something straight right now. If she had told me during that phone call two weeks ago that I needed to fill in the form I had been sent, otherwise I would lose about $60 a week – I would have done it. There is absolutely no reason for me not to do it, and many reasons why I would have.
I noticed this week that my benefit was less. I emailed my case manager to ask why. She replied that my TAS had indeed been removed and I needed to reapply.
I tried to say that she had advised me otherwise. She told me WINZ don’t record phone calls. Which is interesting because their website says they do.
I guess I will be doing so from now on.
I’ve filled out the form. I will have to take it into the office and I will try to deliver it to her directly so it does not get lost.
I do not understand why things like this are being allowed to continue. This may be just one tiny incident, but I have heard hundreds of stories of people having the exact same frustrating, infuriating, tiring, demoralising experiences.
This is “one tiny incident” that effects my life, because that is money that I need to live.
Why is it that every single time I have to talk to WINZ, I am left in angry tears? Why is it that their incompetence results in me losing money I’m entitled to and need? Why is that ok?
Here’s the answer.
It’s absolutely not.