Jack came to BRQ as he was subject to an income maintenance period after being made redundant from his job.

He had been told by his Union that he needed to make his redundancy payout last three months, but when he came to apply for Newstart Allowance, Centrelink informed him he had an income maintenance period of a further seven months.

His local MP and a number of charities were so concerned by his risk of suicide that they assisted Jack to pay his rent and buy food for the next few months after he was refused access to his Super. He approached BRQ after a referral from a Centrelink Social Worker.

Jack’s BRQ solicitor advised him to apply for Special Benefit to which income maintenance periods do not apply. When this was rejected, the Centre represented Jack in the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and argued that Special Benefit is a broad general discretion and the Tribunal had to consider all factors.

BRQ argued that the incorrect advice from the Union and his real risk of self-harm or suicide due to the stress of having no money for several months made the payment appropriate despite the expenditure of the redundancy funds on relocating to a cheaper area.

Special Benefit was granted and backdated to the date Jack had applied for Newstart Allowance. He was then able to afford to travel to Hervey Bay to see a psychologist and start looking for accommodation closer to work opportunities.