LETTERS from readers, October 2019
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Cashless Welfare Card for Pensioners?
I AM an 82-year old widow and an Age Pensioner! I only survive thanks to the pension.
Immediately before the last election, I watched a media interview with the then Minister responsible for social security. He said that all social security payments including Age and Veteran Pensions will be made by the cashless welfare card commencing in 2020.
I was both stunned and horrified! My fear is that it will be brought on very suddenly.
I am really depressed at the thought of this card controlling how and where I spend my money with no freedom at all and very little cash allowed.
The aged will never cope with this. Many don’t even use EFTPOS cards and just withdraw money from the bank with passbooks.
There needs to be an outcry against this humiliating, stressful and demeaning change to the lifestyle of the vulnerable aged.
Having read many horrific demeaning stories of hardship the cashless welfare card has caused? I appeal to CPSA to do something.
(Since the election it has become clear that if the card is rolled out nationwide it will target people receiving unemployment benefits not people on pensions. Ed.)
Healthy health insurance
EXCELLENT articles on health insurance and apartments (VOICE August 2019).
The recent attacks by the Grattan Institute on health insurers have failed to point out the qualitative and financial differences that the far more reliable and answerable CHOICE identifies between not-for-profit organisations like St Lukes and Health Partners and the purely commercial companies like BUPA.
CHOICE saves us $1,000s every year.
CHOICE is an independent membership-based consumer advocacy group in Australia. They are constantly on the lookout for dodgy or misleading practices. You can find out more about CHOICE at www.choice.com.au or contact them on 1800 069 552 if you would like CHOICE to test a product or would like to share a story. (Ed.)
Smelling a RAD
THIS is to ask you for an article on a subject that will be of great interest to many of your readers, the Refundable Accommodation Deposit, the inescapable and eye-watering, mandatory RAD for nursing homes. In many cases, this is $500,000 or more! How do people cope?
Some questions occur to me that perhaps could be answered in one of your thorough articles. Here are some:
When I first started researching nursing homes some five years ago the RAD was already in place. I just accepted it along with other expenses like the Daily Accommodation Fee and the Daily Care Fee. It was just a given.
I can understand it better when it is called the Bond. This implies that the Institution can draw on it if the other payments aren’t made. My guess is that this would only happen in a very few cases, but the money is there 100 per cent of the time. What for?
Setting the RAD amount seems like a case of think-of-a-number. Who sets it? Based on what? Lucky me, the RAD was ‘only’ $150,000, but people in my Carers Group have paid $700,000!! I am told that the average is $500,000!
Quite often people have no option but to sell their house to find the money! That’s a tragedy. We were able to raid our DIY Super Fund. (We only had to find $150,000.) And, as the RAD doesn’t count as an asset, our pensions went up a bit. Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease. When my lovely wife dies, the money will be returned. Gee, thanks. I would rather some of it be spent making her life better while she is alive.
Yes, we grandparents CAN!
CHILDREN around the world are to be congratulated for the many protests they have organised in order to voice their concerns about inaction around climate change.
Like it or not, the warming of the earth is the biggest issue of our times. We older citizens must join with the young ones. It is they who will be affected the most.
What kind of world are we leaving them?
Their concerns about climate change have led me to join a NSW group called Grandparents for Climate Action Now (CAN), which supports students going on strike to draw attention to the problem of climate change and demand action.
I hope that senior citizens in all parts of Australia will feel encouraged to show support for our brave grandchildren. Join groups like CAN or start up your own group.
NSW palliative care update
A COLLEAGUE and I had a very good meeting with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard recently. Going in, we had a long list of things to tell him and request – to which he listened intently and fired off orders to his staff. This included our questions about the Western Sydney Silver Chain project, funds for palliative physician trainees, as well as transitional palliative physician positions for adolescent and young adult patients.
Our main focus, however, was on three areas which we would like to see addressed in this term of Government, namely:
- Specialist palliative care establishment for all acute care;
- Specialist in-patient units in many areas including Westmead, Nepean, Prince of Wales Hospital, Wyong, Broken Hill and Campbelltown;
- Specialist palliative care nurses into residential aged care facilities.
I am fired up for the next four years of this government in NSW. There is so much good that they could do, if they just understand where the needs are.
Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM
Push For Palliative campaign
Dr. Yvonne McMaster OAM, a retired palliative care specialist who has spent over 40 years in the field. Dr McMaster established The Push For Palliative campaign. The past 6 years has seen over 80,000 signatures recorded for the petition to raise funding for palliative care in NSW. There is a Facebook group for local advocates to document their efforts in their local regions. The Facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/PushForPalliative/ (Ed.)