Grandparents granted $10k in kinship back-payments

Grandparents Wendy and Joseph found their lives turned upside down when granddaughter Lilly was removed from her mother and placed into their protective care.

Arriving at their home with little more than a backpack, Wendy and Joseph quickly found the challenges of raising a child with health concerns a significant financial and emotional challenge.

“She (Lilly) has disabilities, autism, ADHD, and anxiety disorder,” explains Wendy.

“So we had to try and get services in place to address her removal from home as well as her disabilities. We did that, but she wasn't allowed to go to school full time.”

Lilly’s around the clock welfare meant her grandparents had to cut back on their working hours. When COVID hit and home schooling became necessary, the challenge was only exacerbated.

Wendy and Joseph were granted a Level 1 Kinship Payment by DHHS, but this amount didn’t come close to covering the costs of looking after their grandchild.

“Somebody always had to be at home - we had to try and reorganise our lives to fit in a 12-year-old child with a disability,” said Wendy.

An Allied Health staff member alerted Wendy that she was entitled to kinship payments and DHHS confirmed there were different levels of payment.

Struggling to receive backdated pay for her granddaughter’s medical bills, Wendy reached out to the Ombudsman for assistance.

Prompted by the Ombudsman, The Department agreed to calculate back-payment to Wendy and Joseph dating back to the commencement of Lilly’s placement. A payment of $9167 was made to the couple.

“I couldn't begin to tell you how much relief we gained from that,” she said.

“The Ombudsman left no stone unturned in trying to right a wrong.”

*Names changed to protect identity