Not Happy Jan

A Centrelink office at Innaloo, Western Australia.

A Centrelink office at Innaloo, Western Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As many of you may know, I have been off work for nearly a year due to anxiety disorder verging on agoraphobia. The whole time I was off sick my employer told me I had a job to go back to. She said I could take two years if I needed.

So about five or six weeks ago, I called and said my doctor had OK’d me to go back to work. I was told ‘Ok, fine, but you’ll have to be retrained. We’ll give you a call when we have some training scheduled.’ When they didn’t call me back, I called them. They kept putting me off, telling me there hadn’t been any training scheduled yet.

Eventually, just before Easter, I was told I have to do the whole orientation again and it wouldn’t be scheduled till after Easter. So about a week after Easter, I called and they said it was scheduled for the following week but they weren’t sure which day. They’d check with HR and get back to me.

Well, once again they didn’t call me, so I called them back only to be told that I had been taken off the books and I would have to completely re-apply for my job. A completely different story from what they told me before. So I’ve re-applied for my old job but I haven’t heard from them, so I’m applying for other jobs as well.

In the meantime, I have applied for Newstart (unemployment benefits) to tide us over until I find more work. Part of the application for Centrelink requires a separation certificate, so I called and asked for one. Well, it arrived today and I am really angry. In the reason for leaving box they’ve ticked ’employee left voluntarily’. This has pissed me off because I didn’t leave voluntarily – the whole time I was under the impression I had a job to go back to. Centrelink will interpret this as I quit and, unless the rules have changed, I will have to wait 13 weeks for payment. I’m also worried I’ll have to pay back all my sickness benefits as you are only entitled to this if you have a job to go back to.

Right now, I’m worried and scared and really angry.

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