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Caught in welfare cogs: disabled young man needs job

JOBSEEKER: Gympie’s Sam McFarlane has trouble getting work, because of his disability, but has been told to get a job or he may lose his pension. It was a dilemma which led to intervention yesterday by the office of federal MP Warren Truss.
JOBSEEKER: Gympie’s Sam McFarlane has trouble getting work, because of his disability, but has been told to get a job or he may lose his pension. It was a dilemma which led to intervention yesterday by the office of federal MP Warren Truss.

YOUNG disabled Gympie man Sam McFarlane needed help yesterday - and he got it.

Now he just needs a job.

Mr McFarlane, 21, was faced with what seemed an insoluble Catch-22 dilemma.

The disability pensioner, who receives benefits because of the challenge he faces finding and keeping paid employment, had been told he had to get a job (or he would no longer get the benefit he only receives because he cannot always do that).

He has obtained work before and quite enjoyed some things about collecting the shopping trolleys at Gympie supermarkets.

"It got me out of the house, I got some exercise, met people and got paid," he said.

But the jobs were on a casual basis and did not last.

His worried mother Debra Glover contacted The Gympie Times after her son was told he would need to obtain eight hours a week paid work.

Voluntary work would not do, the authorities said.

It was just not right, she told The Gympie Times.

"Tell him to ring us," said the person in the Maryborough electorate office of Gympie's federal MP and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, when we rang to ask what Mr McFarlane should do.

So Mr McFarlane did exactly that - and Mr Truss' staff sorted it out.

Under new federal laws passed last year, he and all pensioners under 35, have to get some work if assessed as able to do so.

And so now he has to work on finding that work.

But some things are easier said than done and Mr Truss's office said this was understood.

"If he doesn't miss his appointments and tries to get work, he will not lose his pension," the staff member said.

His grateful mother, Debra Glover, said her son had been born six weeks premature and had co-ordination and balance problems.

"I've enjoyed working in retail," he said, but his problems with height and balance probably rule out the shelf stacking side.

"But he is a fast learner and great on the computer," Mrs Glover said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  centrelink disability gympie welfare



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