GRANTED: Garry Rudge has been approved for a disability support pension.
GRANTED: Garry Rudge has been approved for a disability support pension. Eliza Goetze

After four years of frustration, Centrelink grants man DSP

AFTER four years of "jumping through hoops” for Centrelink, Garry Rudge finally has been granted a disability support pension.

Mr Rudge contacted the NewsMail last week in frustration, wanting to know why someone with just 30 per cent lung and heart function and osteoporosis in his back was being made to look for work to qualify for income support.

"No one's going to hire me. This is a high unemployment area,” Mr Rudge said.

The 64-year-old from Maroondan became sick about four years ago. He was a mechanic and ran his own business before his life was turned upside-down.

He is battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, after contracting pneumonia and emphysema.

The NewsMail contacted the Department of Human Services last week which led to a review of Mr Rudge's case and this week he has qualified for a disability support pension.

And to top it off he is being back paid from April last year, the last time he applied for the payment.

"I'm happy they finally realised I'm not bullsh---ing,” Mr Rudge said.

But he's still not happy with the way the Centrelink staff in Bundaberg treated him which led to his case for disability support being turned down in the first place, four years ago when he first became sick and then again last year.

Mr Rudge was granted a payment back then, but the catch was he had to look for work.

As he was often too sick to look he regularly submitted exemptions and was eventually told he couldn't submit any more.

"Some days I just sit on my veranda and hack up slime,” he said. "Last year was the first time I didn't go into hospital in winter.”

Mr Rudge also claimed he had been told he didn't need to disclose his medical condition when applying for jobs, however he disagreed.

Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen said the department had offered to contact Mr Rudge about his case to work with him to ensure he was receiving all appropriate support and payments.

"We recognise medical conditions can have a significant impact on people's lives, however we do not have any discretion to grant payments outside the very clear criteria set down in legislation,” he said.