CRACKS IN SYS­TEM

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Breast Cancer -

SKYE Faith­full, fac­ing a huge fi­nan­cial bur­den from can­cer treat­ment, can­not ac­cess sick­ness ben­e­fits.

Af­ter surgery, chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy she was about to re­sume work when doc­tors dis­cov­ered her gene mu­ta­tion and rec­om­mended a mas­tec­tomy.

This, the re­con­struc­tion and as­so­ci­ated re­cov­ery times mean she can­not work un­til early next year.

Af­ter in­sur­ance re­bates, she has still had to find $1800 for ra­dio­ther­apy and $500 for phys­io­ther­apy on her arm, af­fected by lymph node re­moval.

Her sav­ings are ex­hausted. She and her part­ner now live on his $917 a week salary and rent swal­lows $500 of that.

Ms Faith­full is try­ing to save for more phys­io­ther­apy and for the $4100 gap on her breast re­con­struc­tion.

Her ap­pli­ca­tion for sick­ness pay­ments was de­nied be­cause the cou­ple's in­come is $11 over the cut-off mark.

“I was told that un­for­tu­nately I'm ‘just one of those peo­ple who slip through the cracks’,” Ms Faith­full said.

“How are we sup­posed to pay to live and then save up for the surgery?

“I'm not for rort­ing the sys­tem and I never would be, I am happy to pay my taxes… but this puts pres­sure on peo­ple to go back to work sooner than they should.”

A Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices spokes­woman said all wel­fare ap­pli­ca­tions went through a thor­ough and fair el­i­gi­bil­ity as­sess­ment and staff had no dis­cre­tion in grant­ing pay­ment out­side the le­gal cri­te­ria.

“We are sorry to hear about Ms Faith­full's health con­cerns and ac­knowl­edge this must be a very dif­fi­cult time for her and her part­ner,” she said.

“One of our se­nior so­cial work­ers is work­ing with Ms Faith­full and her part­ner to pro­vide sup­port and con­nect them to fur­ther as­sis­tance avail­able lo­cally.”

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