Lillian’s story

Lillian’s Story

Lillian developed acute pulmonary hypertension in 2015. She also suffers from severe depression. She finished school in year 9 and had worked as a hairdresser for the last 30 or so years. When Lillian became ill she lost her job, and she is currently couch surfing. Lillian is also involved with the family law court to get custody of her son. Lillian received assistance from a community legal centre in 2017 after 3 failed attempts to access the DSP.

Lillian faced many barriers in trying to get the DSP. The first was meeting the requirement of a condition which is “fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised.” The severity of her pulmonary hypertension means Lillian requires a heart lung transplant but she was found to be unsuitable. Lillian’s doctors where ill-informed and failed to address in their reports, written in support of Lillian’s DSP application, the medical or other compelling reasons for Lillian not to undertake a heart lung transplant. Lillian’s pulmonary hypertension was therefore found not be fully treated and stabilised and her DSP application was rejected.

Secondly, Lillian submitted countless volumes of raw medical data only to be told that the information she was supplying was not assisting her claim. Lillian was assisted by the legal centre in obtaining tailored medial evidence but despite this Lillian faced great difficulty in obtaining stronger medical evidence as many of her doctors had grown tired of writing reports free of charge. With specialist reports costing anywhere between $2,000-$4,000 Lillian was again barred from accessing the DSP.

The third barrier that Lillian faced was that whilst the Job Capacity Assessor determined that she was unfit to continue to work as a hairdresser, the JCA believed that Lillian would be able to undertake light – less skilled tasks of an administrative nature. Thus Lillian was not found to have a continuing inability to work but remember Lillian had left school in year 9, she had never worked in an office environment, and she was struggling with severe depression and was daunted by the thought of having to retrain and reskill for administrative duties.

Fourthly Lillian was unaware of the mandatory professional diagnosis requirement. Lillian had been diagnosed with depression by her GP and was receiving treatment from a registered psychologist. Had Lillian understood the eligibility requirements better she would have known that under Impairment Table 5 the diagnosis of a mental health condition must be made by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Where the appropriately qualified medical practitioner is not a psychiatrist, the diagnosis must be made by a GP with evidence from a clinical psychologist.

The fifth barrier Lillian faced was that she had not actively participated in a Program of Support for 18 months in the 3 years prior to submitting her DSP application. This meant the Assessing Officer could not assign Lillian a severe impairment rating across multiple Impairment Tables. As a result, she did not satisfy the severe impairment rating required for the DSP.

Share this