James became a quadriplegic in a car accident in 1997 and received $5.8 million in compensation in 2001. He was then told he would be precluded from receiving any Centrelink payment until 2096 (when he’d be 133 years old).
James requires around the clock care and in the following 10 years he spent $2.1 million on carers.
During that time, one of those carers took financial advantage of him, using his money for personal gain and James also made some bad investments. As a result of this and the high cost of his care, James had been forced to sell his house by 2007 and only had $50,000 and a few inaccessible assets remaining.
Queensland Health helped him get into share accommodation run by a charity with carers shared between the residents. James was so stressed about his future he did not pay for items which would increase his quality of life, including repairs for his wheelchair and car.
In 2011 James reapplied to Centrelink to reduce his preclusion period. When he was knocked back the BRQ became involved.
After working with his accountant and social worker, the Centre was able to obtain sufficient evidence to convince the Social Security Appeals Tribunal that James will need his remaining savings to co-fund essential medical aids that the state government will not fully pay for. James was granted Disability Support Pension.
Our intervention resulted in greater security of James’ affordable and appropriate accommodation and he will be able to ensure he has functioning medical equipment and transport. In the long term, he is less likely to rely on expensive hospitalisation and state government support. Most importantly, James has some financial security and will not have the stress of worrying about his future.