Ben* was living in his car, had no money and couldn’t access income support.
After an injury at work, he had lost the ability to use his hands. He could no longer do the things he loved, such as painting and playing the guitar.
Ben became increasingly depressed and addicted to drugs and alcohol.
He had received compensation for the workplace incident but after spending large sums of money on alcohol and drugs it ran out quickly. He also loaned money to people he thought were friends and trustworthy family members.
For more than six months Ben had relied on charity food donations and had resorted to stealing from grocery stores.
Ben applied for JobSeeker through Centrelink, but he was barred from receiving a Centrelink payment until 2025. When an individual is awarded a lump sum compensation payment, they may not be able to receive a Centrelink payment for a period.
Basic Rights Queensland supported Ben with appealing the Centrelink decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. They argued that there were special circumstances in Ben’s situation that justified the reduction of the preclusion period, including his mental health challenges and current living situation.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal agreed to reduce the preclusion period as they found that his situation was severe and would be further adversely impacted if they did not provide the support. Ben was thankful to Basic Rights Queensland for getting him through a very difficult period of his life.
*Name changed to protect identity