Vulnerable Queenslanders reclaim $80,000
The Public Trustee has helped vulnerable Queenslanders claim government funding and entitlements of more than $80,000 in the past 12 months – with the largest one off sum of $50,000 reclaimed from overpaid aged care fees.
Acting Public Trustee of Queensland Samay Zhouand said often when we review our new customers’ accounts; their finances may have been unmanaged for some time due to their ailing health or limited financial support.
“Regularly we find people are missing out on a range of funding they are entitled to, or customer’s assets have been assessed wrongly, or that paper work has been filled out incorrectly,” Mr Zhouand said.
“In cases where fees are overpaid, such as aged care payments, a customer may have been put into care by a partner, friend or family member without a complete financial assessment. As a result, the person is not getting the government rebates available to them and therefore unbeknown to anyone, gets charged higher rates. This can often occur over numerous years and add up to a significant sum of money,” he said.
The Public Trustee’s Financial Administration Service provides people with impaired capacity from intellectual disability, mental health issue, acquired brain injury or an age related condition to manage their finances and pay for expenses for the things they need.
Mr Zhouand said “the Public Trustee works with our customers to ensure that their financial needs are met and to protect them from exploitation or neglect.”
“For example, we work with our customers to assist them in budgeting for routine expenses such as car or home insurance. Our customers may also not know to apply for government and other benefits. We ensure that they receive all of their support payments through government pensions, superannuation and medical benefits.
“The Public Trustee's friendly and experienced staff consider the unique circumstances of each client and we tailor our services to meet individual needs,” he said.
Executive Director, Customer Services, Amanda MacDougall, said sometimes when a customer is originally means tested, their assets might seem too high to receive assistance. “Often when the Public Trustee reviews the situation further, there are compensations available to support these vulnerable people,” she said.
“It can be a lot of work - but achieving results like these makes our job very satisfying. There’s nothing better than being able to see a customer’s reaction when they receive money or refunds they had no idea they were entitled to,” she added.
The Public Trustee supports more than 9000 vulnerable Queenslanders each year and in most cases, is appointed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) as a financial administrator for people who have impaired capacity. Private administrators, trusted friends and family members are all considered as the preferred choice before appointment of the Public Trustee.
If you would like more information about personal financial administration visit QCAT Administration for adults, the Office of the Public Guardian or contact the Public Trustee on 1300 360 044 for advice.
For more information visit www.pt.qld.gov.au