Criterion
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  Communities

Man Battling Cancer and Centrelink Raises Social Media Storm


Tuesday, 10th July 2018 at 12:42 pm
Paul Carter
The ordeal of a father battling bowel cancer and Centrelink at the same time is setting social media ablaze, prompting a crowdfunding appeal and an outpouring of rage on Facebook.


Tuesday, 10th July 2018
at 12:42 pm
Paul Carter


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Man Battling Cancer and Centrelink Raises Social Media Storm
Tuesday, 10th July 2018 at 12:42 pm

The ordeal of a father battling bowel cancer and Centrelink at the same time is setting social media ablaze, prompting a crowdfunding appeal and an outpouring of rage on Facebook.

A GoFundMe campaign started last week had so far raised $11,000 for Melbourne man Robert Laughlin after his sister posted on Facebook that her brother had been cut off his Newstart Allowance while undergoing treatment.

Her post had attracted more than 7,000 shares, 5,400 likes and 2,100 mostly angry comments aimed at the government.

The single father of two, who 18 months ago lost his wife to breast cancer, was admitted to a Melbourne hospital seven weeks ago.

The former builder, 54, was unable to drink and eat normally, and could barely speak or move, let alone meet his his reporting obligations under Newstart that is, to report every two weeks, and apply for at least 20 jobs a month.

Laughlin’s payments, now reinstated by the Department of Human Services (DSS), had been suspended due to a lack of reporting.

In the chaos of being diagnosed, admitted to hospital, and organising care for his two sons, Laughlin had failed to supply a medical certificate informing the DSS of his illness, and claiming temporary exemptions from mutual obligations on medical grounds.

A message sent specifically to Centrelink. Take a good look and ask yourself. Do you think this man can call you every 2…

Posted by Sarah Laughlin on Friday, 29 June 2018

While exact details of Laughlin’s Centrelink income were not available, roughly someone in his position would get about $600 per fortnight on Newstart and $900 per fortnight on a Disability Support Pension (DSP).  

A DSS spokesperson told Pro Bono News: “A Newstart recipient who is temporarily ill can apply to Centrelink for an exemption from their mutual obligation requirements.

”Alternatively, if they have a permanent disability, they can apply for Disability Support Pension (DSP).  

“While awaiting the outcome of a (DSP) claim, the recipient is not subject to mutual obligation requirements.

“A person with a terminal illness (life expectancy less than two years with significant reduced work capacity) may qualify for a manifest grant of DSP, subject to meeting all other eligibility criteria.”

Laughlin’s family said an application for a DSP was declined because his condition was not “permanent”. He was expected to recover with treatment.  

They said he had been unable to work since last December and he was probably not going to be well enough to work in the next six months.

While Laughlin’s single parent payments were enough to send his sons to school, it was not paying all the normal bills, not to mention medical, rehabilitation, housekeeping and nursing costs for when he returns from hospital, they said.

DSS general manager Hank Jongen told News Corp eligibility for a DSP was not based only on a diagnosis, but the impact of that diagnosis on a person’s ability to work.

In order to attain the DSP, the condition must be permanent, fully-diagnosed, treated and stabilised before DSS health professionals could assess the situation, he said.




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Research Suggests Significant Benefits to Raising Welfare

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 18th September 2018 at 3:50 pm

Providing Cancer Support With a Smile

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 3rd September 2018 at 8:58 am

Report Finds Sharp Rise in Older Women Experiencing Homelessness

Maggie Coggan

Tuesday, 28th August 2018 at 5:30 pm

Newstart Choir Could be a Campaign Masterstroke

Paul Carter

Wednesday, 27th June 2018 at 3:38 pm

POPULAR

Family Faces ‘Devastating’ Loss of Support for Son with Disability

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 11th September 2018 at 8:37 am

$50 million Up For Grabs to Help NFPs Drive Change

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 17th September 2018 at 4:21 pm

Australia’s Most Innovative NFPs Highlighted

Luke Michael

Thursday, 13th September 2018 at 8:41 am

Philanthropic Leader Calls to Overhaul Economic System

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 13th September 2018 at 8:52 am

Criterion
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!