Willow presented with a Case worker from Uniting Care. Willow had recently relocated back to the area after experiencing Family Violence for many years. Willow’s ex-partner had still been living with her and her children in a bungalow in the back yard. She had been too afraid to tell him to move; as he threatened he would take the children. As it turned out, this is exactly what he did when she relocated. He took the 2 youngest children, advised Centrelink that he had them and received payments for them. Our client has now been left with Centrelink debt, as she did not have the children over a period of time but didn’t think to let Centrelink know due to extreme stress she was under at the time.
Whilst living in the bungalow, Willows ex-partner used the power and gas excessively resulting in huge utility bills. These bills were all in our client’s name so unfortunately she has been left with bills that she cannot afford to pay.
The Financial Counsellor has provided the client with information about payment plans, hardship provisions, URGS, concession entitlements and responding to the creditors from the past enabling the client to have confidence about her and her children`s financial future. We are in the process of providing support with a budget. Once again, this is a ‘moving document’ that needs to be amended as the client’s situation changes.
We also made contact with the Community engagement officer at Centrelink to arrange an appointment for the client and her Case worker, to explain the circumstances and try and have the debt withdrawn. If this is not done, a referral to Social Security Rights Victoria will be made.