Tag Archives: medicare

What the 2023 Budget means for me

Hey, there’s all these breakdowns of the budget winners and losers and hype and hyperbole, but what does the Labor May 2023 budget mean for me – Fiona, a 40 year old, neurodivergent, partnered DSP recipient without kids of her own but plenty of them in her life whose lives wants to be as good as possible? Specific I know, but hey, it gives me a reference to do this breakdown. Hat-tip this this Guardian breakdown.

Current DSP breakdown totalling $950 a fortnight

Rent assistance: Commonwealth rent assistance will be going up from September 20 (yes, none of the increased welfare payments or changes to eligibility come in until September, it’s going to be a long winter). At the proposed 15%, I will be receiving $170.20 a fortnight in rent assistance to service the $820 fortnight rent that I share with my partner. He is not edible for rent assistance as a low income earner but I get the max amount for both of us.

Disability Support Pension: there was no raise to DSP, carers or Aged Pensions in the budget. I do not work but even if I did get some income from freelance work or online shennanigans, the earning cap before payments start to reduce hasn’t been increased for us on DSP, even though it was listed for Aged Pensioners.

PBS Medicines: The cost of pensioners meds was increased with inflation on Jan 1, raising from $6.70 to $7.20 a script, in amounts Labor’s boasts about cheaper medicines. I’m hoping to benefit from twice as many meds being able to be dispensed at once but I’m not certain it will apply to all my meds due to my previous misuse of some, we’ll see if that does halve my costs as promised.

Medicare: My GP hasn’t bulk billed concession card holders for years. They currently (as in I went Monday) charge $69 upfront for concession and pension card holders and children, and $89 for full fare, with he rebate at $39.75 usually coming back into my account that night. the proposed increase to the bulk billing incentive would mean that GPs would receive an incentive to bulk bill of $20.65 in the city up from $6.85. This is on top of the $40 scheduled fee. So around $61. Hopefully my GP will see it possible to go back to bulk billing pensioners. The urgent care clinics may come in handy.

Psychology: There was nothing announced about any increases in the amount of psychology sessions available through Medicare. It’s currently up to ten a calendar year, which is not enough to get anywhere, and I’d be paying over $200 up front a session if I did engage again. So, since I’m just ticking along I won’t for now.

NDIS: I don’t access the NDIS for myself. It doesn’t seem likely I’d get much support even if I did get into it somehow. I don’t have to current reports and I’d probably have to go through getting a formal diagnosis of Autism, which isn’t worth it from a financial or stress viewpoint if I’m happily ticking along. I’d probably not get it for my “treated and stabilised” BPD which got me DSP either. I’m rather concerned about the talks abut cuts and restraint to funding for my niblings who all have diagnoses and I’m trying to focus on helping them and my sister get the most out of their plans. My niece doesn’t have NDIS, and it’s a matter of seeing that 10 Medicare rebated psych sessions a year probably isn’t enough support going into her teens, but wondering what ASD 1 will get you in an era of restraint and cuts.

Power Bills: I should be getting the full rebates on my electricity bills here in NSW when they come through thankfully. I wish there was more incentives for landlords to install solar, insulation and other energy efficiency stuff in our cold rentals. I’ll also investigate and see if my partner is eligible for any of the discounted appliances for his small business. Can he get a more efficient buffer or pressure washer?

How about you? Were you a “budget winner”?

My Election Wishlist

scene from animal crossing

Welfare payments above the poverty line – I think we were all more than a little distressed to say the least when Labor revealed they had no plans to promise any rise in JobSeeker or other Centrelink-administered payments this election. It’s even worse seeing them fall back on the small raise the libs granted us when the covid supplement was removed and try to take some sort of credit for it. I did some maths, including the rent assistance, I’ll be getting $63 a day on the Disability Support Pension when it switches over (yes, my partner finally did his paperwork for it to show he’s not my financial keeper) when my application finally gets properly approved. Living it up. I mean it’s better than the $42 a day ($52/day or $733.70 fn, including $137.40 rent assistance for the $790 rent we pay) I’m getting currently, and there won’t be mutual obligations, but this is the pension that acknowledges that I’m not really capable of regular paid employment and it kinds should be at a rate that at least lets us scrape by, and not continuously fall behind?

Some actual steps towards slowing climate change. Like not opening new coal and gas projects or subsidising the old ones. Putting money into renewable tech and jobs and batteries. Something about realising that the extreme weather events are caused by our love of destroying the planet, and perhaps we should do something about it? I mean it’s not too late, despite how depressing it gets. But we do have to act soon. And stop making things worse :/

Something to be done about the huge out of pocket costs that stop people from accessing the healthcare they need. It’s all well and good to say there’s Medicare rebates for healthcare, but what’s the point if the waitlists are excessively long or you can’t afford the upfront amount? The rebates need to be more too, because even if we do find a way to get the upfront payments for out of pocket up front costs, there’s only so long that can be sustained for.

To be more specific – You can currently access 20 rebateable psychology (or mental health OT/social work) through the “Better Access” program. That might go back to ten soon, it might not. But it’s so hard to firstly find a clinician to see you, and they you’re up for $200+ per session before the rebate that’s about half that. We’re currently trying to find someone for my niece to see, but it’s even harder to find someone for kids, especially outside the NDIS. Before I went into the current public program I’m doing DBT through, I was seeing a mental health Occupational Therapist under the scheme after finding most psychologists to have at least a 6 month wait. And this is in Newcastle, good luck if you’re in a smaller centre.

Access to free assessments in order to access NDIS and DSP and any other gatekept government program. It’s wrong that you have to be able to afford the assessments in order to get into these programs that should be available to all who need them. Also, a return to needs-based rather than diagnosis based access. Back to looking at a person’s needs and goals and working to support them with that. Disabled people have goals you know, and don’t just want to subsist.

Housing. The rental market is fucked in this country. We need a huge spend on PUBLIC housing, that’s owned by the government and leased to anyone who needs it. Guess what, that provides jobs too! Rental assistance is bullshit, and the quality of housing is slipping towards being unsafe for tenants as it’s not safe to complain or ask for repairs as there’s someone else waiting if they kick you out. I don’t know the answers. But housing is a mess.

I’m tired, and there’s still a month to go.

What’s on your Wishlist this election?