A man suffering from Parkinson’s disease has been told by Centrelink that he is ineligible to access the Disability Support Pension.
Jamie Tartootsie, who lives in the NSW town of Broken Hill, struggles to get out of bed each morning and requires assistance with everyday activities such as chores and dressing himself.
For the past 11 years, Tartootsie has been working at Woolworths but was forced to resign when his condition deteriorated to the point he physically couldn’t complete the required tasks at the supermarket after collapsing.
“I’m not going to get better, it’s gradual, I’ll go downhill, bit by bit. Getting out of bed or up, out of a chair – that’s a struggle,” he told A Current Affair.
Tartootsie’s employer suggested he look into the Disability Support Pension.
However, Centrelink immediately shut him down.
“It’s at least 18 months, or even up to two years sometimes before I even get considered for the DSP and until then I’ve got to go on Newstart,” he said.
Despite his disability, and his employer supporting his statement that it is unsafe for him to work, Centrelink did not approve his application. He was told that you have to complete workplace training for at least 18 months to be eligible.
The Parkinson’s sufferer was consequently placed into “job support training” and is now on the Newstart allowance – the lowly-paid welfare payment for those in the job market – which is $250 a week.
“Who’s going to employ someone with Parkinson’s, knowing that they’re only going to get worse and not better?” he added.
With the help of A Current Affair, they managed to convince Centrelink to get on his case immediately to assess him medically and financially. They discovered that Tartootsie was, in fact, too ill to work.
As a result, he will now be placed on the Disability Support Pension where he can concentrate on dealing with his debilitating condition.