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Australia Carer feels like 'criminal' after Centrelink payment cut off - again

12:55  14 october  2019
12:55  14 october  2019 Source:   9news.com.au

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"I feel like a criminal , absolutely. It has ruined me, my reputation, everything. But, this isn't the first time Centrelink has cancelled Judy's payments . In 2003, after seven years of caring for Peter, Centrelink suddenly decided she was not entitled to the carers payment .

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Judy Beddoe has dedicated her life to caring for Peter Verschuren.

She cooks, cleans, organises his medication, picks up his groceries, and plays cards with him to keep him company.

They live apart in separate houses, suburbs away from each other, but Judy provides constant care to Peter every day – morning, afternoon and night.

At 87 years of age, Judy had been relying on the Carers Payment and Carers Allowance to support herself and the help she provides.

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Now, she spends most of her time fighting for those payments after Centrelink cut her off, saying she's ineligible for them.

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Judy has cared for Peter for years. © A Current Affair Judy has cared for Peter for years.

"I feel like a criminal, absolutely. It has ruined me, my reputation, everything. I've worked all my life and cared for Peter for twenty-two years, and they do this to me," Judy told A Current Affair's Martin King. 

In documents viewed by A Current Affair, Centrelink claim Judy "no longer provide[s] constant care to another person" and that Peter "does not meet the daily care requirements" to be eligible.

Judy disputes this, claiming she is "looking after him more than ever."

a person posing for the camera: Judy says she feels like a © A Current Affair Judy says she feels like a

But, this isn't the first time Centrelink has cancelled Judy's payments.

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Fatma Sleiman who pocketed 0,000 in Centrelink payments after cashing in on an error used it 'to fund a lavish lifestyle' - but still hasn't paid back the money.

In 2003, after seven years of caring for Peter, Centrelink suddenly decided she was not entitled to the carers payment. A Current Affair stepped in to help.

"I was so happy to get it back, you have no idea. I've worked so hard with Peter, he's been through so much. And they had the cheek to say I wasn't helping him," Judy said.

a person wearing a red and black hair: A Current Affair last spoke to Judy in 2003. © A Current Affair A Current Affair last spoke to Judy in 2003.

Now history has repeated itself and Judy has been cut off again. Michael Bleasdale is the CEO of ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service, and he thinks Centrelink has made a mistake.

"A successfully negotiated community-based arrangement has been interrupted now by a rather clumsy decision made by a government bureaucracy," he said.

The Department of Human Services declined to speak on camera to A Current Affair but confirmed that "this matter is being further reviewed".

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