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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Income Protection for parent unable to work due to caring for teen

Topic: Income Protection for parent unable to work due to caring for teen

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Freffles
    Freffles avatar
    2 posts
    2 July 2018

    Hi, first post. It's a long story but I'll try to keep it short.

    I am 58 and caring for my 14yo daughter. She's had a rough few years due to bullying at school etc and then last year we puller her out of school to homeschool. My wife was diagnosed with cancer in July last year and passed away in October. We've been struggling since. We have basically no family or support system in place in Melbourne.

    My daughter was lashing out a bit so I took her to the GP got a mental health plan and had about 12 or so sessions with a psychologist. Probably borderline personality. In March she started some dangerous behaviors. These behaviors have continues and we've now been to the ER 15 plus times including about 6 or 7 trips with Ambos and police. Most of these behaviors have been not serious suicide attempts, rather more intended to attract attention / cry for help.

    I did try to go back to work in January for two days a week in the office and three at home but I've effectively been unable to work since just before easter. I cannot leave her alone for 5 minutes even or she's up to something to self harm. I have my own mental health plan sitting on my dresser since March but I cant do anything with it because I can't leave her.

    We've been in the ELMHS system for a while now and she's been to Stepping Stones 5 or 6 times. I'm at the end of my rope, worn out, helpless and hopeless. My employer has been accommodation but I'm getting close to the end of the line regarding income. I have "income protection" as part of my super but I suspect that would apply if I was unable to work due to my illness rather than being unable to work due to the illness of my daughter.

    I wonder if there is anyone out there with knowledge of these issues. I'm afraid that I will lose everything.

  2. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
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    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    2 July 2018 in reply to Freffles

    Hello Freffles and welcome to Beyond Blue forums

    Good to see you've found your way to our community of caring, friendly, supportive and non judgmental people.

    My heart goes out to you - So sad to hear about your wife. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I'm not a health professional, just some one who has a mental illness and can share my experiences.

    I tend to ask questions, however, there's no pressure on you to answer anything you don't want to.

    From my experience, income protection is only for yourself or for another who take out the insurance on. However, check out the insurance company's income protection policy. It will contain information about whether your situation would be covered. Have you thought of any other alternatives? For instance Centrelink has a Carer's Payment / Allowance. There are a number of elibility requirements. All this information is available from their website. Do a google search for - Centrelink carer payment.

    You've had quite a lot to contend with over the past couple of years. I do feel for you. So many things - your partners passing, not being able to work, your daughter's health and self harm. I expect you'd be experiencing grief. I know I would as it's impossible to imagine life after my hubby. The grieving process takes a number of phases, has no time limit or no set way the steps will happen. Be kind to yourself Freffles. It sounds like you need some help in your life. Is there anyone to talk to, for example close family member or trusted friend?

    Caring for someone is very demanding isn't it. Especially when it's 24/7. I would need a break and would check out respite care services available in your state. For me, this is essential so I could continue to support my family. If you don't get a break, you're health will decrease. As you've already indicated you have a MHP. I'd definitely make time for this and use respite care to help out during your visits.

    Be kind to yourself. Try to make some time to do something for yourself, even if it's just a walk along the beach, a game of pool or darts at your local pub, go for a run. What sorts of things do you like - sports, something intellectual or cultural? It's okay to do this for yourself. Think of it as a reward as well as something to get rejuvenated.

    You're not alone Freffles. Keep reaching out when and if you want to and let us know how you get on.

    Kind regards


  3. Freffles
    Freffles avatar
    2 posts
    5 July 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Thanks Pamela,

    I’ve thought about the carers payment but I don’t think that is very much and I would be struggling big time once my leave runs out. I will be in contact with my superannuation insurance people to see if I can get any traction on an income protection claim.

    My GP is happy to support a claim but then it becomes a question of whether the policy covers mental health issues. My GP has referred me to a phycologist for depression and anxiety under a mental health plan and has now also prescribed anti-depressants. He’s indicated he has thought I was unfit for work for some time but I’d never asked for a certificate as my work was “cool” with everything. I don’t think I’ll have any issues with that side of things; it will be the insurance side that will be the challenge.

    As far as grief is concerned, no doubt you are 100% right. I have not been able to do much more than deal (poorly) with day to day stuff and I have no doubt that grief is one of the root causes of my daughter’s struggles as well. Unfortunately, no family members around and my bestie passed away on ANZAC Day. There are some people I can lean on a little but I have my own anxieties and I’m a bit of an introvert. I always feel so awkward inserting myself into someone else’s day, especially when they have their own happy lives to lead. Feel a bit jealous of that as well.

    I think we’re about to get some relief with a youth worker allocated to establish contact with my daughter and her starting a 3 day a week program next school term with a view to transition back into a school like situation. That will certainly provide some breathing space and I’ve already made my first appointment under the MHP for the first week of next term. There may be some other respite that we can get through child protection, still waiting to hear back.

    I don’t mind getting out and about. A beach walk is more my speed as opposed to pubs and running:) . I usually play a video game or something to “escape”, just don’t have a lot of motivation for anything else at this point.
    Will give the insurance people another call tomorrow. Going to chill for a hour before I go pick up my daughter.

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