Mandy Hunwick used to love going to work, but then it all became too stressful.
Her vision became blurry, she couldn’t remember simple tasks and became increasingly fatigued.
The 42-year-old was eventually diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), along with auto-immune arthritis and vasculitis, a disease that restricts blood flow.
Ms Hunwick was forced to leave her job at a Queensland government department and applied for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
“I thought that it was going to be a short, easy process,” she said.
“It took 17 months. And I had to fight for it. I literally went through hell just trying to get it. And it caused me to almost want to kill myself,” she said.
She applied for the DSP in January 2018, providing Centrelink with statements from doctors and occupational therapists.
Eight months later, she was rejected. She applied for a Centrelink review and her application was turned down again.
While applying for the DSP, Ms Hunwick received a Newstart allowance but a medical exemption meant she didn’t have to search for a job.
Ms Hunwick is one of a record number of people with disabilities being put on Newstart payments, with Centrelink having denied their applications for the more generous disability support pension.
Ms Hunwick’s application was overturned by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in June this year, which effectively ordered Centrelink to approve her for the DSP.
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