Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Australian Government and how to break a family - IBOT

So J-man finished school at the end of last year and in the 8 months since, has taken his resume and cover letters to every business in our small city. He has gone everywhere from plumbers and electricians to the pet shop and the funeral home.
Nope, the answer at most places is.. "we don't take resumes directly, you have to go through the agencies".

Excellent, lets do that shall we.

NO WE SHALL NOT !

The Man I Married and I work, bloody hard, to provide for our family. With four kids, a mortgage and school fees the cost of living is high. Luckily my man has a strong work ethic and often puts in 60 hours a week to provide for us.

Mr Centrelink says we earn too much.  He also says that J-man will be judged based on our income until his 21st birthday. We are penalised for trying to pay off our own home and for staying married.

What this means is J-man cannot register with Centrelink as unemployed. He hasn't actually asked for a cent, just acknowledgement of his unemployed status. The Centrelink system won't let him register unless he is entitled to a benefit and he doesn't qualify for a benefit.

NO ! says Centrelink.
If Dad would just kindly give up his job, or even better, move out, we can give you all the help you need.

But as long as Mum and Dad stay married, and as long as they are honest hard workers, you, my boy cannot have that status. Legally Mum and Dad are financially responsible for J-man (and our other kids) until their 21st birthday. There is no youth allowance or work-seekers help for kids of parents who work hard.

Without the Unemployment status, none of the employment agencies are allowed to assign him a case manager to help him. He's on his own. Furthermore, the exclusive Job seekers network where so many employers advertise their jobs is not available to him... Employers who are tempted by lovely government subsidiaries to employ someone out of the Unemployment sector.

So let me say it. Yes Australia is a good country, we have plenty, but we have a sucky, stupid system that continually punishes those who work hard and actively encourages families to break up, to give up.

I am so angry and disheartened I am finding it hard to type. We always told our kids to have a good work ethic and to put in 110%. I guess we should have told them to do a half arsed job, not commit to anyone and lie on their applications.

If anyone has any ideas. please bring them on, I am at my wits end, J-man is demoralised and I want to picket my local member of parliament for the unfairness of it all.

He's old enough to die for his country, to father a child or go to adult prison, but Centrelink still bases everything on the parents until they turn 21. What about that makes sense ?

Sorry to have such a negative post for IBOT

27 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. It sucks big hairy balls !!! We were in a similar situation a few years ago - A was unemployed but because I was earning a reasonable salary and we had a mortgage on our house - he wasn't eligible for a Work for the Dole program - he didn't want the dole - he wanted to work - they weren' interested - it sucks big time !!! I wish I had some suggestions but I have nothing other than an offer to picket with you outside your local MP's office.
    Love, hugs and positive energy !
    Me

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  2. Here is another example I hate: (numbers are approx, I don't know what the cut offs are)

    Family 1:
    Parent A earns 100K and so Parent B decides to be a SAHP. The family earns $100K and pays all the tax on that and gets no benefits provided to them.


    Family 2:
    Parent A earns $70K and Parent B earns $30K both parents receive tax free thresholds of $18,200 - the household pays no tax on $36,400 of income. The "low income earner" can also receive other benefits, plus they receive childcare rebates etc

    So two families, same annual income, but the family with a SAHP pays heaps more tax than the other - and receives less for it.


    This is not my family situation, but if it was, I would be pissed off.

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  3. It's absolutely frustrating. I wonder if it's possible for you to legally *disown* J-man and have him as a boarder so he appears to be paying rent for room and board. It would give him the status until he can find a job and then hopefully you can be rid of Centrestink.

    On a completely different tangent Family Tax Benefit B has changed for the worse. I wasn't aware of it until a friend made a status about it. With the new way that the payment is structured, families who have two income earners will now be penalised for being so..more than before.
    Here is a breakdown:
    A single income family can receive Family Tax B as long as they earn under $150,000 pa.
    A two income family however the main income earner can earn up to $150,000 but the second income earner cannot earn more than $20,000.

    So that means that if Mum of Dad decide to stay home and the person working can be earn a massive income and the family will be still eligible for FTB. However if Mum and Dad work and both earn $50,000 (so less than $150,000) they are eligible for diddly. Where exactly is the logic in that!

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    1. No cannot disown him. Not an option. Furthermore... he is old enough to die for his country, father a child and go to adult jail, but the Centrelink system still make him rely on his Mum and Dad for another 3 years. Pick one! He either is or is not an adult! And the way the system is, we WILL be financially providing for him for the next 3 years because there is no help to get employment.

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  4. You what Lisa? Maybe you should take a wander with your son down to your local members office and explain what has happened....

    Being an ex c/link employee, I can't tell you how many times I had to turn good, decent living, hard working, people away. It broke my heart, because I was supposed to help these people, yet the system would not allow it. The system is broken, back to front, upside down - however you want to look at it.

    In this country the only way you can receive any kind of employment assistance is if you sit on your butt and do nothing. Only then will it given, and usually it is given to those who really don't want the 'employment side' of the assistance.

    I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions, but I can hear your frustration and anger and I hope that your son can find something soon.

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  5. Don't apologise for a negative post, Lisa. It's an election year and all complaints about systems and inequalities need to be aired and addressed. My dear husband is in the very same boat, earning "too much" and paying far too much tax for one person. He is right that this whole country is held up by too small a group- the same ones getting hit over and over.

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  6. That is terrible, sometimes our government really gets things wrong! Grr to not being able to sign up to a job agency! Shouldn't he able to be a volunteer job seeker, I did this through centrelink when I was starting my business. Maybe just talk to centrelink about registering but not applying for benefits. Also ask to speak to someone else if the person can't help you, it is such a complex area people often don't know all the loop holes :)

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    1. Hi Eleise, that's what we tried, never asked for a cent, just to 'register', but the system has changed, so now you can't 'register' without getting a benefit under the age of 21 ...

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  7. Are there any benefits if he continued to study at tafe or something similar? Didn't there used to be a Newstart program? I am a bit out of the loop these days. The worst part is trying to continue to provide positive emotional support for J-Man and for him to not feel like it is his fault at all. Good luck with it all. #teamIBOT

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  8. Ah man that is just so super sucky. So sorry to hear of your struggles lovely Lisa, I have got no suggestions, well except to agree with the whole election year things and great time to cause a fuss. If the MP doesnt want to help maybe Today Tonight or ACA is interested

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  9. Are you serious? That's terrible!

    Mind you anything to do with Centrelink is a nightmare. When Mr 19 dropped out of TAFE this time last year, we went to register him for unemployment ... fortunately his casual job at Red Rooster turned into a full time one so we never had to follow it up, because we probably would have found the same thing.

    Then I got made redundant in October. I've set up my own business as a writer and virtual assistant, but again, tried to apply for the back to school benefits (as obviously we've had a huge drop in income as I get the business established). Well it was all so confusing, paperwork, phone calls (and being put on hold FOREVER), lost in the maze of the website - I confess, I gave up and hopefully it will come through when we put our tax returns in.

    What a nightmare!

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  10. Far out! I didn't realise that our system was so f'd up! Excuse my language!
    I'm hearing exactly what your saying! Would it be easier if he moved out then signed up???? Or went to do full-time study or something?

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    1. no, even if he moves out or goes to full time study he is still our responsibility.. even if he lives on the opposite side of the country. He can move out, but Centrelink still base their assessment on OUR income, and because we are hard working, he cannot get an "unemployment" or "student" status with Centrelink.. they won't give the status unless he qualifies for some sort of payment.

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  11. Oh, this makes me really mad too!

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  12. Boy, it's situations like yours which made me leave Centrelink (I confess I worked there for a while) but having to tell great people such sucky news was beyond me. I think it's madness, and agree with you 100% that it's not fair. Has he put his name down for general recruitment agencies, not the Jobseeker ones? That might be a next step.. I wish him and you the very best of luck.

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  13. SEND THIS BLOG via Email to EVERY Politician...it doesn't just have to be your local member....Have a similar problem with a parent in our town...she couldn't register because her Husband earned money but without registering she couldn't access any work agencies... It is a STUPID system that needs a complete overhaul. It certainly does not encourage people to work hard.... Mr 19 at my place has a very good apprenticeship job earning 14/hr...and yet depending on how many hrs he works the govt will still pay him youth allowance....crazy.

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  14. I totally understand what you are going through as our girl is a 19yr old uni student.
    No help from centrelink as she lives at home with one income earning family and she had saved some money in her bank account.
    As she is studying nursing she has transport costs to uni lectures plus unpaid work in the hospital....no wage for 8 hour shifts as it is prac!
    Now I get why the gov here stopped nurse training in hospitals and took it to uni based...they had to pay them for working in the hospital and now they don't.
    So much unfairness.
    She finally found part time work by going on the website www.seek.com.au. No cost.
    You fill out what you are looking for etc.
    Available jobs in your area of interest are frequently sent out via email.
    Hope this is of some help to you hon.xx

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  15. Oh my goodness Lisa I never knew this - bloody shocking and scary that our kids are penalised for having hard working parents! Start a FB page - I'll spread the word, as I'm sure everyone else will. I like the idea of earning while learning, a paid apprenticeship or something?! There seems to be money in the coffers for this -x

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  16. that is so insane and yet another example of politics where there is no room for thought just rules.PEOPLE should be able to talk to him, understand what he wants, and then choose to add him to a system with a distinction of no payments. how hard is that? just tick a box disallowing payments and then let him access the other parts of the system. Maybe he could start advocating for this change for himself and other young people ??? someone needs to be a voice.

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  17. Thankyou for sharing this problem. My family is struggling with the same thing. My 21 year old son has some learning difficulties but is keen and able to work. His first year out of school he took on a hospitality apprenticeship, was unmercifully bullied, and had to beg to be underpaid wages weeks after he'd earned them. He was employed through an agency that was the beneficiary of generous government subsidies. It was just horrendous. He left! He completed cert 4 in IT at TAFE last year and this year is a job seeker. He has no support in finding work. He has received just one email from an agency in response to his job applications but they had no job on offer. He is not entitled to any Centrelink benefits. He eats, wears clothes and needs transport just like everyone else and becoming very sad and discouraged as are we.

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  18. It's absolute crap isnt it? The whole system is completely screwed. I remember years ago I had to stop work because I was at threat of a prem labour; do you think thwy would do anything about that? No. I had to apply for a disability pension and then they said I wasn't disabled and should be able to work. So stupid.

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  19. barely scrapes the surface of what is wrong with this country, our government, and our hand-out system. Effed the EFF up! someone probably already asked, but what if J-Man didn't live with you??? Does that make any difference?

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    1. Nope no difference. We would have to prove we are unable to fulfil our parental obligations. The only way to be independent is to have a job ( ummm which is the whole problem here!) or father a child, or have me and hid Dad dropped our own income so that he qualifies. The craziness is, if he was able to get 1 cent a fortnight then he could have full access. Again, this is not about us being unwilling to provide financially, this is a young adult trying to find work and being blocked by government red tape and statistic games. The govt only want the jobs to go to officially unemployed people because that then looks good for them when they reduce the unemployment figures. The fact that the figures are completely false to start with is irrelevant.

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  20. When they said go through agencies - don't they mean labour hire companies like Chandler McLeod, Skilled Engineering and The Apprentice Group? I live in a mining town and when looking for work, you would never approach a company directly, it is always initially through a labour hire - same with apprenticeships........

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    1. In our town of 22000 the only labour-hire places are those affiliated with the government programs, apart from the Apprenticeship Factory. Trust me when I say we've been everywhere man!

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  21. It took Tamika three years to find a job. She was also placed in the same situation. Not being able to register, because of her Father's income. Problem being is her father and I have been separated since she was a baby, and because I never choose to fight him for child support (he gave me $20 a week) he has never helped her financially. Even when I asked for a loan to help get her a wheel chair after she was very ill. However, the government still said his income counted.
    It was not the money I am bothered by. It makes me question/wonder what the true unemployment count is if many are like are two?

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Your comments are welcome, please be kind and respectful. We all have different views of the world, sharing your view with gentle words is appreciated.xxx Lisa