Rachel came to BRQ with a $6,000 Family Tax Benefit (FTB) debt which was raised after a period when she was twice involuntarily admitted into a mental health ward and in between was given part-time care of her daughter.

Because the Department of Child Safety had obtained Interim Accommodation Orders for her child to be placed with foster carers or her mother, Centrelink took the view that the child was not her FTB child and that she had failed to inform Centrelink of this, and therefore they raised a debt.

BRQ was able to obtain evidence from Rachel’s Psychiatrist that she lacked the capacity to advise Centrelink of the change in her circumstances throughout that period, even when she was seen as well enough to leave hospital and return to partial care of her daughter. The fact that the debt arose through no fault of hers and that she did provide substantial care for her daughter for large parts of the debt period were seen as special circumstances and the outstanding debt was waived.

This was of significant assistance as Rachel had considerable credit card debts from having committed to higher rent and mobile plans whilst she was working and then having bills accumulate whilst she was hospitalised. Rachel also faced significant ongoing gap costs in order to regularly see a Psychiatrist, as there is insufficient mental health funding for the level of treatment she needed.