Centrelink Q&A: How do the volunteer requirements work?

Jane wants to know if volunteering can help her meet her Newstart obligations.

Centrelink Q&A: How do the volunteer requirements work?

Jane wants to know if volunteering can help her meet her Newstart obligations.

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Q. Jane
I am 60 years old and I have crippling osteoarthritis. I applied for the Disability Service Pension (DSP) approximately two years ago and was rejected. I was then sent to a job provider. One of the girls who worked there was going to help me reapply, but due to her failing health she left. I was advised by my job provider to get a medical certificate for the leg ulcer that I’ve had on and off for the last 10 years which had broken out again. I had a reprieve from my job provider for a year, but now Centrelink is forcing me back, even though their medical assessor stated he thought I should be on the DSP.

I was told I would have to work at least 15 hours a week. I told them I would struggle with that. I could maybe do one day but was told I would have to be on the DSP to do that. If I can’t get the DSP and I’m forced to do something, I would rather do volunteer work, as I’m afraid I would just keep losing jobs because I would struggle with the work and regular attendance. I saw on a government website that if you are 60 and over you only have to work 10 hours per fortnight. But that only applies to non-disabled unemployed people, and they still have to look for so many jobs a fortnight.

My question is: I am over 60 and covered by a job provider for the disabled. If I choose voluntary work for the dole, can I do 10 hours a fortnight, without needing to also look for work?

A. I believe the participation requirements will be the same in your situation.

Annual activity requirements of 10 hours per fortnight were introduced for those aged between 60 and the Age Pension age from the 20 September 2018.

Job seekers aged 60 and over, who are not already fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements through 30 hours per fortnight of voluntary and/or paid work, have an annual activity requirement. This means they are required to undertake 10 hours of activities per fortnight (compared to 30 or 50 hours for younger age groups), in addition to job searches, for six months of each year after their first 12 months on the Newstart payment. The annual activity requirement can be met through any approved activity, including voluntary work.

Job seekers aged 60 and over who are already participating in 10 or more hours per fortnight of voluntary work, paid work, other approved activity or any combination of these are able to use this activity to meet their annual activity requirements. They have to conduct job searches as well, if their provider thinks that is appropriate (unless they are undertaking 30 hours of paid and/or voluntary work, in which case they will have no further requirements).

Do you have a question regarding the Age Pension or other Centrelink benefits?

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    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.





    COMMENTS

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    patti
    2nd Mar 2020
    10:07am
    I am convinced that the complicated rules which apply are designed to give Centrelink workers plenty to do, rather than assisting older workers to find employment or qualify for bandits. The whole system is a farce and costs too much. Give the money to those who can't find work ifs!!
    Incognito
    3rd Mar 2020
    1:42am
    Not the Centrelink workers it is money for Job Providers, biggest scam ever.
    KB
    2nd Mar 2020
    11:07am
    One size does not fit all particularly in the case of June
    KB
    2nd Mar 2020
    11:07am
    One size does not fit all particularly in the case of June
    Mac
    2nd Mar 2020
    12:22pm
    Who drew up these convoluted rules?

    Could June get a letter from her doctor outlining her chronic health issues outlining her daily difficulties regarding her health?

    Do you have a chronic disease management plan with your doctor?

    I do as I have chronic osteoarthritis of the spine plus other issues which makes me prone to severe back spasms which, according to my physiotherapist when I asked her if this can cripple people, she said that it could and they would call an ambulance. It can be so severe that I can hardly stand up and walk around together with my brain screaming with pain. Now on more potent pain killers and muscle relaxant tablets.

    Good luck, Jane. It is unbelievable how government authorities can't see how difficult life is for disabled people to just manage their own life without being submitted to draconian work rules lacking in empathy.

    Perhaps she may be eligible to get a disabled parking sticker from her local council - her doctor would be required to fill in the form details if she does not already have one.
    Horace Cope
    2nd Mar 2020
    4:46pm
    Whoa back there, Mac. I too have osteoarthritis and, thankfully, it's not as severe as you describe yours and I feel for your plight. There are different degrees of any ailment and I'm sure that any doctor will give an honest assessment of how any ailment affects employment. Government departments don't intentionally make life difficult for people with illnesses, they work within the rules and guidelines to ensure that genuine sufferers receive support and those who are non-genuine aren't allowed to access taxpayer funded welfare.
    KSS
    2nd Mar 2020
    12:50pm
    "but now Centrelink is forcing me back, even though their medical assessor stated he thought I should be on the DSP."

    If this is the case why are you not looking into that medical assessor? I'd be contacting that assessor and asking what they need for you to make a formal application for DSP.
    Mariner
    2nd Mar 2020
    3:41pm
    Above it states: Disability Service Pension. Is there a difference between the Disability Support Pension? Does the first have something to do with Australian Army Service?
    Incognito
    3rd Mar 2020
    1:49am
    You have a right to change Job Providers, you have a right to have review on anything that you seem unfair. More information can be found on the Unemployment Union Workers website and you can call them for more advice about your rights. I caught up with someone the other day who is less than 50 years old and has Rheumatoid arthritis and somehow got on Disability (still drives, gardens and does other things quite easily). You can also go to a doctor, get a medical certificate to say you are unfit for work. Also you can choose to study full time doing a free Tafe online course and get Austudy. Other option is use your skills and find a job you can work from home, look them up on the internet.
    Rae
    3rd Mar 2020
    7:27am
    How can there be jobs when hundreds of thousands are volunteering? It doesn't make any sense except to support business to avoid employing people at all.
    Mariner
    3rd Mar 2020
    7:53am
    Yep. I often wondered about that, here all the thrift shops are staffed by volunteers on some New Start deal where they have to turn up for a certain amount of hours.
    Incognito
    3rd Mar 2020
    12:25pm
    Yes there are not enough jobs anyway, and also work for the dole is being used as slave labor, if there were jobs than give them real jobs.
    OJ21
    3rd Mar 2020
    9:39am
    Imagine all the think tanks and advisers the government pays to find ways of making government benefits inaccessible. They must have studied Yes minister/prime minister carefully. Just wish they were subject to the same rules.


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