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ls it healthier to work and live while having depression , or is there a centerlink disability pension, and if so , which is healthier ?

Community Member

Hey people .

l've met people on all kinds of Centerlink disability things over the yrs but can you get onto something due to depression ?

But then as in the title , maybe it's actually healthier for you to actually be out there in life and working and functioning ? - bloody hate that word but it's the only description l could think of . So what does everyone do , and which do they find is better ?

At one stage through a really bad patch l just didn't feel l could work or cope. So l asked Centerlink they told me l'd have to see the gp , get referrals ,go and get assessments and all kinds of other things can't remember exact details , but it was a nightmare l'd worry that l'd spend wks or mths putting myself through and then maybe get nothing anyway. But ok l'll just start with the gp and see where that goes first. And they told me it could get me 3mths , what, 3mths, but then l'd have to do it all again to get an extension or another 3mths and then again , and again , or some rubbish can't remember the exact details but it sounded far worse than the alternative and just struggling on to me.

Well, what a useless stressing , draining effort that was , here's a grown man in the mess l was in felt like l just couldn't even go on let alone cope or do real life , work , pressures buttt, saw a gp yet all he said was l'll give you a certificate for 2 days off . Two days, wt - to keep it polite here, 2 days l needed 2 wks just from the stress of dealing with him that once , without adding in my real problems. He wouldn't even give me a referral for the next step. Acted like there was nothin wrong with me meanwhile l'm wondering if l wanted to go on l mean that's the state l was in.

Centerlink also wanted me to enroll with a job agency and so here l was having to tell some 19yr old girl with a button and computer and the power to send me packing with no damn clue how  l was or living , threatening to stop any payment if l didn't jump through their hoops too in the meantime, it was insanity .And all that took about 2 wks of stress driving sitting round waiting and explaining myself over and over and what little money l had at the time on petrol , it was a nightmare and left me in worse shape than l started.




103 Replies 103

Community Champion
Community Champion


what an interesting topi anda sad story.

Personally I have not had dealings with centre link over a disability pension but I know people who have. Your whole experience would out me off.

I was lucky to have my own business for 14 years and that helped me cope.

Thanks for starting this thread.

Community Member
Thanks for starting this thread. Currently feeling lost and unsure what is best option for me and my health right now. I can’t keep calling in sick but I am scared dealing with Centrelink will make me feel worse

Community Member
Hi Randomx. Thanks for sharing that. I went through something quite similar to what you've described about 10 years ago. It seems as though the system is set up to stop people getting the help they need while, at the same time, the message of "Go and get help" is continually shoved down people's throats. Like you, I found going through the process, the time, the insulting nature of it, the disgraceful waiting room conditions that are detrimental to people with MH conditions only led me to give up on this type of "help". Maybe things are a bit better now than they were back then, but I'm not game to test the system as, like you, the last time I tried, it only left me in a worse state than when I started.

Community Member

Centrelink certainly doesn't have much empathy does it?

I lived with a housemate that had severe depression and anxiety and didn't work for about a year and a halfish. They wouldn't put her on the DSP, I believe she got newstart instead. Initially they made her go through all the hoops to prove why she wasn't working, doctors assessments etc. Thankfully she had a really good GP that she regularly saw and all he did was write up a letter every 3 months which satisfied centrelink. I believe though that only works for so long?

My partner is on jobseeker now and she has casual work as a disability support worker and she still has to report her income, my income AND she STILL has to apply to jobs to satisfy centrelinks criteria. Shes been threatened a few times for not reporting on time because they want to know things about MY income and she cant provide that until I get paid. Centrelink has caused her grief and make her feel so bad about herself.

Personally, I think its BETTER for your mental health to try and live life and function (as hard as it is) than try and navigate centrelinks toxic environment.

Community Member

Hi everyone here.

I'm on the DSP, for my mental health. I was rejected the first time, but I tried again and my Psychiatrist wrote a letter for me, which helped me get it. You need as much evidence as possible, which I was lucky to have. I'm not trying to brag, just letting you all know that you can apply for the DSP for mental health issues. I haven't been hospitalised for my mental health (that's one of the questions) but I still get it.

You're right, Centrelink are a pain and have no empathy, I agree. But I hope you can all figure something out. I'm sorry I can't be of much help. And like I said, I wasn't bragging.

Hi quirk and thanks as always.

So would you rather bee working in your business and staying in life so to speak , do you think that's better for you ? l know you;'eve had a helluva run last yr but could we say apart from that ? l've had my business a long time too and really it's debatable for me bc working does really help me during ok times mentally, well many parts of it do anyway. My business is pretty straight forward and normally there's no much stress , but there have also been many a time over the yrs that on the other hand during worser times mentally l've just wanted to run away and never deal with anything ever again.

Thanks bw , yeah it's something been on my mind a lot past 7 - 8yrs and during that really bad patch , one of them , yeah l did try that once . Your right centerlink are bloody scary as hell , no telling wth they;ll expect you to do and they just look at you , they see nothing, nothing .

Hi Gambit and thanks very much for the info. God well , none of that surprises me at all and it's all the very stuff l can't cope with and the stresses me out into almost insanity . My ex is a nurse and works that damn hard but bc she only does 30hrs a wk she also has to deal with centerlink for different reasons . Can't believ that crap she's been through with them over the yrs , and on top of already working anyway and being the hard worker at that that she is. But it's like she's a criminal . You might be right you know , any stresses at work for me are nothing compared with jumping through their hoops and dealing with them , it's taken me mths to shake it off any time l;ve tried. Thanks a lot for the post.

Hiya mb and thanks so much also for your post and talking about it. Really glad for you you have something locked in for yourself , and nooooo , not taken as any brag in the least. You went through a lot over a long time to get all that fixed up for yourself and l'm just happy it's paid off for you now and you had the courage to keep going , good for you. But yeah some letters l'd imagine would help push things through. Sure won't be getting much help from the gp or any of the others l dealt with that time though. But at any rate , it's just something l've been thinking about again butttttt , well. Tak care of yourself eh.

Thanks all. rx , and if anyone else passes through with any thoughts or info , please jump in.

Community Member

I'd say do as much as you can for as long as you can, so if there is a choice I'd pic work

Benefits are sometimes required but I think as much as we can for as long as we can

Everyone's situation is different and I dig it and I respect it , so to those on benefits cheers

and I hope your ok. happy inauguration day 2021

Thanks for that.

Maybe your right we've got 80 yr old farmers out in the rural areas round here still working and stronger than most 50yr olds they're amazing , really makes ya think.

Are you American ? it's an Aussie forum although mind you l do wish our pm would get himself inaulgurated, out the bloody door actually.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi all

It's really difficult to qualify for the DSP. Many years ago, it wasn't, but they implemented a lot of changes, to try and get people into work instead. It's an inflexible system, and that means that Centrelink staff can only apply the legislation that they are bound by. Of course, it can and should be done with empathy.

To qualify, you need to meet set criteria. You can look up impairment tables online to get an idea. This was one of the major changes implemented that tightened eligibility. When I applied, my application was rejected on the grounds I didn't meet the impairment criteria outlined. You also need to provide a lot of supporting evidence, so it helps if you've been seeing a MH specialist for a long time, and you have a good GP.

I agree it's a lengthy and harrowing process that can impact negatively on your MH, and may result in rejection anyway. I wish it was a more user friendly system that catered better for people with MH issues, but that's not the case.

While there are definite benefits to be derived from working, sometimes that's just not possible, and it should be easier to access the safety net when it's needed. That was what it was designed for, after all.