A woman has slammed Centrelink after her cancer-afflicted brother saw his payments cut off while in the hospital.
Robert Laughlin’s Newstart payments were cancelled and his application for the disability support pension refused while he was bedridden with bowel cancer.
His sister Sarah told A Current Affair the decision filled her with “pure anger”.Robert Laughlin’s welfare payments were cut off while he was in the hospital with bowel cancer.
“This is a man who has paid his taxes for 30-odd years of his life and that’s all our government can do to help him out?” she said.
“Cut off his payments in his greatest time of need?”
She said Robert was unable to talk, let alone get out of bed or work on a computer.
She posted his story on Facebook where she was inundated with messages from people claiming to be in a similar boat.Sarah Laughlin slammed Centrelink over the decision.
The anger comes amid the government’s decision to hand more power over welfare to private job agencies.
The changes to the system involve a raft of tighter laws.
There will be a new demerit system where the badly-behaved will have points stack up.
Drug and alcohol dependency can no longer be used as an excuse to gain exemption from requirements.Mr Laughlin was unable to speak or walk while in hospital, she said.
Welfare fraud prosecutions will be more streamlined, meaning information will be more readily handed over for criminal proceedings against fraudsters.
The Department of Human Services will collect tax file numbers from claimants before payments can be approved.
David, 26, is on Newstart but claimed private job agencies regularly threatened his entitlements.
He blamed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, saying he “only looks after the rich”.More power has been handed to private job agencies to cut off welfare payments.
Simon Breheny from conservative public policy think tank the Institute of Public Affairs applauded the move to hand more power to the private companies.
“The idea that you’re entitled to someone else’s money is a pretty extraordinary claim on someone else’s productive efforts,” he said.
“The reason why I think those services should be outsourced to private companies is there’s an incentive structure within these organisations to make sure that what they’re doing becomes more efficient.”
The Department of Human Services has since resolved the dispute with the Laughlin family.The Institute of Public Affairs’ Simon Breheny applauded the move.
“We recognise medical conditions can have a significant impact on people’s lives,” the department said in a statement.
“However, we do not have any discretion to grant payments outside the very clear criteria set down in legislation.”
A Price Waterhouse Coopers report has predicted 90 percent of Australian children whose parents are highly welfare dependent will fall into the same trap by age 25.
By 2019-2020, the report predicted Australia’s annual welfare bill would hit $192 billion, while our lifetime welfare bill will reach $4.8 trillion.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018