I won, I won, I mother-fucking won!
You would have to be a very long time reader or close follower on twitter to recall when my financial nightmare began back at the start of July last year…
Basically what happened was centrelink (the Australian govt agency in charge of social security style payments etc) decided that I was living in a marriage style relationship with my ex/flatmate/kid’s father and had been doing so since 2002. Their decision caused me to loose my weekly payments and in turn created a debt for every single cent they had paid me in that time – to the tune of around $180k. Not exactly the kind of sum one sneeze’s about.
We moved in together back in 2002 for a number of reasons, but the important point is that before I did anything I made sure that it was approved by centrelink. This approval was incredibly important because I was receiving their support due to being a single mother and the person I was moving in with is the father of my child. I realise it sounds immediately suspect, a single mum living with her child’s father – isn’t that like a large number of marriages? However we weren’t in a relationship, we hadn’t been in one since our son was conceived over 6 years earlier. At the time we were both paying $260 a week rent on each of our own 2 bedroom units that were located just blocks apart. We both wanted our son to live in a house, have a yard and get a dog… but neither of us could afford it without the help and financial support of a flatmate. Who better for to be my flatmate in terms of my son than his own dad? and so with the approval of centrelink we moved into a house that cost $350 a week and bought him a dog.
Over the years we would both fill out numerous forms regarding the nature of our relationship and how our household functioned… The fact that my ex (not the person I’ve called X on my blog by the way) became an interstate truck driver in around 2004 certainly made it much easier to share a roof with him as he was rarely around. This is also when it became a matter of… If I didn’t share a house with him our son would never get to see him.
Anyway in July 2010 they took away my income support and raised one hell of a debt. For a person who can spiral into deep depression at the snap of your fingers it wasn’t a good time for me. From the outset I knew I had to appeal the decision and immediately began that process, but as I had no idea what information they were basing their decision on so it was like stabbing in the dark – needless to say I lost the first two appeals and then had to have it bumped up to the next level and the social security appeals tribunal. And for at least the past year I’ve been putting together my case and fighting it – all the while having sweet F’ all money coming in. I’ve been living and supporting my son on only $100 a week so it has been harrowing – although I just want to say a huge thank you to every single person who has made purchases via my affiliate links as those funds are what made last Christmas possible and often made the difference between whether we could afford to eat or not. (I’m seriously not kidding)
Finally I had my hearing back in September and have been waiting an excruciating 6 weeks and 1 day for their decision to arrive.
Finally today I got the appeals tribunal decision in writing.
I knew the outcome could go one of 3 ways
- They up-hold the decision and find that I am living in a marriage like relationship and the debt needs to be re-paid.
- They find that the relationship is marriage like and I’m not entitled to benefits, but as I had done my best to be honest with them and hadn’t been fraudulent in my actions they could suspend the debt. … OR
- They find that I am not in a marriage like relationship and they reverse the debt along with back paying me the benefits I was entitled to from July 2010
And as you can guess they went with lucky number 3!!
Now I’ve just got to wait 28 days to see if Centrelink want to take this to the next level above the social security tribunal – and after reading some of the findings from my appeal the chances are they won’t (or at least that’s my hope!) after which I get reimbursed for the months where I’ve been struggling to keep food on the table.
Now I need to explain the Thank Jude bit.
This is going to sound god damned crazy, but I prayed for this outcome.
I got down on my knees and begged for this to go the right way. Little Miss anti-religion bargaining with Jesus and the saints for her life! (whilst surrounded by an altar of sex toys of course! lol).
See there’s this saint – Saint Jude – patron saint of lost causes and those without hope – as well as Chicago Police apparently and of course St Jude Children’s research hospital…. Anyway…. there’s also a prayer and the deal is you say the prayer 9 times a day for 9 days in hope of St Jude helping your cause, in return you must re-publish the prayer in thanks to Saint Jude for helping you out.
In the days before the internet you would regularly see it in the classifieds of the newspaper, and there was rarely a week when it wasn’t published in our local paper – often with the title ‘The Novena of St Jude’. These days there are numerous sites where you can o So as crazy as it may seem – here it is, I’m publishing it to hold up my end of this bargain..
May the sacred heart of Jesus be loved, adored, glorified and preserved throughout the whole world now and forever.
Sacred heart of Jesus, pray for us.
Saint Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us.
Saint Jude, helper of the hopeless pray for us.
Say it 9 times a day for 9 days. By the 8th day it is said your prayer will be answered and that you must re-publish and share the prayer thanking St Jude for his assistance.
I’ve used it before in times of desperation and it has never failed me. I can’t believe I didn’t turn to it with either of my earlier appeals, or at times when someone stepping in was really needed – but I’m also a strong believer in fate, so perhaps I was waiting for a time when I truly needed St Jude’s help.
I’m not a big religious person, but St Jude & St Anthony (Patron Saint of lost shit) I have all the time in the world for.
Thanks St Jude you Rock!!
I found out about this and started writing this post on Wednesday but between lack of internet signal and a heavy dose of the flu have kept me offline and unable to publish it. In the meantime I took the time out to read the entire decision from front to back – It’s got 114 or so “reasons”, “findings and other blobs of legal jargon within it so it took a while to fully read and even longer to comprehend.
Turns out they had already investigated me… and not once, not twice, but three times. So thrice they went through my life – and by life I mean LIFE – from my birth certificate, tax returns, and the stuff you expect the government to have right on through to my bank statements dating back to when I opened it as a 9 yr old, utility bills, job applications, leases, even my medicare records that showed which doctors I saw – when people joke about them asking you the colour of your underwear… guess what they don’t need to ask as they already know. Back to the point I was trying to make, twice they went through my life and found that I was NOT living in a marriage like relationship with the guy. They did this in 2002, 2005 and 2008 (those forms I spoke of a moment ago were part of their investigations though I was told otherwise). So on top of the fact that they approved of my living arrangements before they began, three separate times they had raked through the dirt to check if I was in a relationship with him (without my knowledge mind you) and each time they concluded that I wasn’t. But in 2010 they re-investigate me and change their minds, finding that not only was I in a relationship with my ex in 2010, but that I had been all along.
P.P.S Once this flu has gone hopefully things will go back to a bit of normalcy around here. Without the big dark cloud hanging over my head hopefully I’ll get the rest of my obviously late Red October posts typed up and published.
catch you all once my nose stops running