An itch

You know that itch you get where you need to be doing something but you don’t know what that something is or even where to begin to find the something?

I work a couple of days a week at the moment and spend the other days running around doing things like going to the chemist, filling in forms or pretending to clean the house. I do attempt to once a week meet up with friends or go out to have some lunch that does not consist of toast, cereal or yoghurt.

It’s school holidays at the moment so a LOT of energy is going in to pretending to care my boys are spending double digit hours on the computer or playing age-inappropriate games on the xbox.

But when they’re back at school the itch will become even more pronounced.

I don’t like the itch, it tends to make me feel like I’m floundering or worse, wasting time.

But here I itch. Do you?

 

 

 


Stuff ‘n nonsense

What can I tell you.

Felix was fourteen today. We celebrated with yum cha for lunch and pizzas “from the good place” for dinner. I am so in love with my boy at the moment. Did I tell you he came equal first in his year in an English assignment. I was so proud I thought my heart would burst through my chest. He was suitably nonchalant and embarrassed when I flashed the assignment in front of his English tutor’s face and gushed with maternal pride. He plays it cool my boy. I know he’s a worrier but he assures me that while he worries he doesn’t let it stop him from doing things. He’s in that strange intoxicating land of being part child, part teen and part adult. He’s thoughtful – every night without fail he thanks me for making dinner. He apologises when he’s sick and can be an absolute terror to his brothers. As it should be.

I’ve lost my dinner cooking mojo and we’ve been eating a lot of substandard fare because of it. Hit me with recipes for your dinner favourites.

I had a wonderful lunch during the week with real life and blogging friends. I realise I need to have a session like that ideally once a week to get me out of the house and out of my head. There are so many awesome women in my life.

Chef and I have been in a weird place of late. Nothing dreadful but not our normal comfortable fit. Disconnected is how I would describe it. But we’ve talked about it and we seem back on track. My world is unsteady without him by my side and nagging me for sex.

I had my regulary check-in with my psychiatrist this week. We’d done some bloodwork to see how my lithium levels were tracking and if my liver was OK (one of my meds can affect it). He also tested my thyroid – which,  for the first time since I was diagnosed two years ago my thyroid levels are in the normal range. Lithium levels were still low so we’re not quite there but I have to say, I’m feeling OK.

We are in the midst of applying for the disability pension for Oscar. I thought we were done but then a large envelope arrived this week requesting five other bits of information. One of those was the medical forms which took me and the GP about a day to pull together. Have I ever told you how much I love our GP? In pulling doctor’s reports from the wahzoo we realised he’s been our doctor for 15 years. Quite something. Anyway, I’ve got it all together now and must fortify myself for yet another trip to Centrelink to complete his application.

You know the work project that was going to kill me? It hasn’t killed me but gee, sometimes when you ask for feedback be prepared for people to be brutal. I’m not sure they knew I was the actual writer writing the material, part of me hopes not for their own reputation of being tactless and generally unhelpful. Anyway, I’m on the home stretch with it now and have grown very used to the extra income very quickly and hope other work will come from them.

I need to start walking or doing some form of exercise. It’s getting to be a desperate state of affairs.

Onward!


Welcome back

I bought myself some clothes and accessories on line these last couple of weeks. Just some swingy-hide-the-gunt long tops, some leggings, which I fully intend to wear as pants, a pair of ankle boots and a couple of rings and necklaces. Such events are very rare indeed and these new purchases will likely go the way of old, worn steadfastly day in and day out as a uniform until desperation requires another round of purchases. I do not buy clothes or accessories “just because”, ever.

The rings were cheap and cheerful, even the delicious black resin disc from Elk. They feel heavy on my fingers, making we want to swing my hands around when I talk even more than usual. In a few short days I’ve developed a new ritual of putting them on, flicking my fingers here and there, then trying to type with them on, only to fail, removing them, then starting the process all over again. See also: not sane.

The weather has turned here with the days abruptly shorter and a biting wind. I’ve wondered why my allergies have been off the charts until it dawned on me that the scarves and jacket I’ve pulled from the cupboard are merely dust strung together with a few threads. Still, I’m typing this wearing one of my new tops, my chunky yellow ring (on and off it goes) and the most outrageously warm possum wool scarf gifted to me by M. Gas prices are set to increase by up to 25% this winter so there shall be a lot of scarf wearing and doona shawls.

We had two rounds of rugby this weekend, Grover insisted on wearing his mouthguard even though he lost his two front teeth the night before and the morning of his game. It feels like the end of early childhood here with those baby teeth gone. We’re well and truly in the subsector of society called “getting the kids through school” now. He still wants me to lie with him when he’s going to sleep and while many a night it shits me to tears I force myself to remember this time will soon be over.

Last week featured a gathering of some of us from the blogging old days. There was so much laughter but also confiding and confessions. Since we got together we’ve shared some photos from years ago which have simultaneously made us wistful and horrified at the swiftness with which time passes. Those ladies know me inside and out. Their love and concern for me through periods of hardship and heartache has meant so so much to me and our stupidly infrequent get togethers fuels my soul.

Last night I admitted defeat and made dinner using a store-bought jar of a curry sauce. Every single child ate it. All of them. Ate all parts of it. The cursor is blinking at me as I try to find something to say about that.

 

Onward.

 


Well that’s that then

Yesterday marked the blessed end to school holidays. Aren’t they a funny thing? They arrive and we all have a kick in our step about sleep-ins, not having to make school lunches and no notes for two weeks, forgetting all of our children will be in our presence all of the time. Fast forward to the end of those two weeks and we’re ready to neck ourselves if someone tells us they’re hungry or asks what there is to eat one.more.time.

The day was marred by work and having Grover home sick, which he wasn’t really but by the time I realised that it was too late.

I had glorious plans for the first day of solace, the main being getting my eyebrows tended to at Benefit. Instead I spent more than an hour at Roads and Maritime Services (seriously, who put boats and cars into the one department?) getting new eToll tags and time in Kmart choosing undies for the big boys. Envy me at your leisure.

Anyway, everyone’s back today and I shall celebrate by working and watching an episode of House of Cards (ZOMG House of Cards, how GOOD are Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright).

 

Onward


Disability benefits when your child turns 16

Oscar was 16 in February and I had no idea what that meant when it came to Centrelink and the payments and services we get from it.

In a nutshell, when your child turns 16 you’ll need to:

  • get their student number (from school records)
  • get them a tax file number
  • get them a proof of age card
  • apply for the
    – disability support pension
    – pension education supplement,
    – mobility allowance, and
    – authorisation to act on their behalf.
    OR
    – a new health care card if not applying for the pension

 

The first contact we had with Centrelink was a few months before he turned 16. Essentially it was confirming he was turning 16 and that he was staying in school. You will need their student number and to be honest I can’t remember where I got it from. If you ring their school they would be able to provide it.

There was a confusing section of the form which referred to Year 12 and seeing as he was starting Year 10 I rang them to clarify just what I should put there. They advised me what to do and I sent the form off.

The next correspondence I got was that we would no longer receive any Family Assistance for him as he had completed Year 12.

A phone call to them and them taking almost 15 minutes to resolve the problem. Clearly the form is poorly worded as it was an issue she knew would take some time to rectify.

She also said I’d called before it became set/official and therefore harder to change. There was nothing on the form alerting me to that, so, if you have problems or disagree with what they’ve done ring them straight away.

I should stop here and say every single interaction I have had with Centrelink has always been with staff who are clearly competent and doing their utmost to help you.

Next.

If you have a health care card for your child it will automatically stop when they turn 16 without telling you. 

You need to reapply for it. I’m not sure if there are different forms for different applicants but our form was called “Application for a Health Care Card for former recipients of a Carer Allowance Health Care Card”. You can access the form here. The form’s code is SS456.

However, if you’re on the ball and applying for the pension as soon as they turn 16, the pension gives them a health care card with a heap more benefits so applying for a new one would be redundant.

 

The Disability Support Pension

You are eligible for the disability support pension if

  • you’re aged 16 or more, are blind or have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability.
  • you are unable to work, or to be retrained for work, for 15 hours or more per week at or above the relevant minimum wage within the next two years because of your “impairment” or
  • you’ve been assessed as having a severe impairment or as having actively participated in a program of support.

There are different pension amounts depending on your circumstance. For Oscar – under 21, single, living at home – he will get $345 a fortnight.

I’m only talking about this from my experience and specifically about a 16 year old – this is by no means advice, just a heads up as to what we have experienced. Take from it what you will.

 

I rang Centrelink disability line – 132 717 – to get the forms sent out to us. Remember, call right on 8:30 unless you have a LOT of spare time to sit on hold.

 

They will not automatically send the forms out when your child turns 16, you have to instigate the process.

 

Also note that when you get the forms they give you a deadline to submit them. I essentially had three days due to Easter and the ANZAC day long weekend.

 

Applying for the disability support pension is an undertaking. The form is incredibly comprehensive (30+ pages). There is also a medical report booklet and an income and assets booklet. I baulked at the income and assets booklet but one of the service staff, while commiserating with me, said the form covers everyone from 16 up to when the age pension kicks in so it has to cover absolutely every scenario. I think this is a pretty large flaw in the application process but there you have it.

 

Within the form there are also questions for a mobility allowance and the pension education supplement (PES) (which is worth an extra $64 a fortnight). You need to download and fill in the PES form from here.

 

Things you will need for the disability support pension application:

You’ll need their school student number, ring the school to get this as I didn’t have any documentation with such a number.

You need enough forms of identification for your child that adds up to 100 points. Their birth certificate is only worth 70 points, a bank statement is worth 40, a proof of age form is also 40 points. A student ID card, three school reports for different years or semesters  or a medicare card  are worth 20 points each.

We’re off to the RTA this afternoon to get Oscar’s proof of age. I figure this will be good to have anyway. (Update: we got it and it cost $39 for five years.)

School reports that indicates their IQ, capacity for independent living and other associated problems. At Oscar’s school there is an independent transition plan which is very thorough and clinical. Oscar’s school report runs 15 pages long. I gave them both.

And the kicker – a tax file number (TFN). You can apply for this online. Because Centrelink and the ATO talk to each other we just provided a print out of our TFN application and that was enough.

The medical form

I was pretty cranky about having to do this, considering we’d just done a doctor’s report late last year. Luckily, it turned out we didn’t because he was 16 and his “only” disability is intellectual and he attends a special school and we could provide school reports which indicate his IQ, capacity for independent living and other “associated problems”.

I suspect we also didn’t have to because of the recent nature of our last doctor report but don’t quote me on that.

Income and Assets

Basically the only thing we filled in on this form was Oscar’s bank details. Everything else was ticked no. I think if you’ve got a trust for your child or other assets it’s a whole other story. The form is incredibly comprehensive.

 

You’ll also need to fill in the “Authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf” form. This gives you the right to act on their behalf. Download it here.

 

And you’re done.

Take everything in to Centrelink – so you’ll have:

  • The disability support pension form (completed with their TFN)
  • The income and assests form
  • The medical report (if necessary)
  • Birth Certificate (I also took mine in just in case. I can’t remember if she needed it/looked at it)
  • Other identity forms: eg medicare card, proof of age card, bank statements
  • Pension Education Supplement form
  • School reports from three different semesters (if applicable – for evidence you don’t need the medical form)
  • Authorisation to act on their behalf form

 

ONWARD!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...