Advocate/lobby government for change to tax laws to assist those with serious illness
This is something I have been thinking about since my husband's journey began in October 2008. I remember very early on in the piece the hospital social worker suggested I go to Centrelink to see how they could assist (an oxymoron I am sure) I had only been there once before to add my first born to the child care benefit.....it was very confronting. It was even more confronting to be handed a form and have the doctor tick the box that stated that his patient was expected to die within 24 months.....we didn't understand then that the doctor was actually helping us out....but he had never mentioned this to us in any of our consultations.
Anyway....about 6 months after my husband began to receive $24 a fortnight on the disability support pension, it was rescinded as I went back to work after maternity leave (our son was 7 months old when my husband was diagnosed). That meant we lost the use of the health care card six months later. This was the only thing of value, as his med bill was phenomenal.
Anyway.....I asked at Centrelink if there was a tax break for carers. The woman looked at me as though I had two heads. 'We aren't the ATO' was the response I got. So I called the ATO. I explained that I wasn't looking for the reinstatement of the pension, I was happy and able to earn money but it would be really helpful to receive a tax break, as my husband was unable to work and I had two young children to support. The ATO referred me back to Centrelink to see if I qualified for the pension......which I already knew we didn't.
After several phone calls to my local member, during which I was completely fobbed off by her lackeys who kept repeating that Centrelink had followed the law and I didn't qualify for anything....even though I wanted help to change the law.....and I also felt that I had a constitutional right to see my local member.....anyway.......
As my husband got sicker and sicker....I battled on, occasionally calling my local member, occasionally writing letters to Centrelink and newspapers explaining my situation until I just didn't have the time or the energy anymore.
Then this year whilst doing my tax...there was a new section introduced in 2012. Make a claim for a dependant (invalid or carer). Bingo! I thought my prayers had been answered......
So even though my husband died in February, I still had him for part of the Tax year......except that I didn't qualify as.....wait for it......
He wasn't in receipt of a disability support pension, or invalidity service pension, or in receipt of a carers allowance, or a carers payment, or providing full time care to a relative in receipt of all of the above.
So back to square one.
I had to call the ATO when they sent me a letter with a very fancy flow chart describing how I might qualify for this tax offset.
I called the number and spoke to a very nice girl, explained my situation and calmly explained that as my husband WASNT eligible for any of those pensions, then perhaps I needed the tax offset more than most.
'No' was the response.
I asked who I could write a letter to to see about getting the law changed.....'your local member' was the reply......then I cried.
So....in this long winded story....I am asking if anyone has had any other thoughts about this....who do I write to.....and I guess I am also wondering if the Cancer Council could perhaps advocate on cancer patients behalf...the diagnosis and treatment is stressful enough, without having to worry about money too......
If it means another form that needs to be signed by two doctors, then so be it.....but surely a tax offset is not too much to ask (BTW the amount was going to be $1500.......not much really when one of my husbands meds alone was a $2000 injection once a month......)
Anyway....that's my rant for tonight......stay calm out there!!
Re: Advocate/lobby government for change to tax laws to ...
We submitted all our medical receipts, health insurance statements, Medicare statements and flight details to our accountant as requested. There is some sort of tax offset although I don't know the details. Your accountant will be aware of this.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.