Dozens on Coast desperate for disability support
WARREN O'Rourke hasn't worked since 2012.
Despite longing to return, the 64-year-old's body tells him otherwise after suffering a heart attack and a collapsed lung four times.
"(The government) tells me I can work at least three hours a day when I can barely get through the day," he said.
"It just goes on."
After reading the story of Carol Priestly in Thursday's Fraser Coast Chronicle, Mr O'Rourke sympathised with the mum of four who was also expected to work up to 15 hours a week and has been unable to obtain a Disability Support Pension.
It was in 2011 when the Maryborough man's lungs collapsed for the first time. In January 2012 it collapsed again.
Unable to work, Mr O'Rourke was put on a Newstart allowance.
Within the next few months, his lungs collapsed two more times prompting a trip to Brisbane where he had another operation.
"I've got calcium build up on my bones in my lower back which creates a lot of pain," he said. "When I walk or do exercise, the pain comes on which throws my breathing out of whack, puts my blood pressure up which in turn affects my heart."
It wasn't until December 2017 when Mr O'Rourke found out he could apply for the Disability Support Pension after his doctor suggested he do so.
Last week, he was told he was ineligible.
"When I went there for my six month review, she asked me all these questions like who did my shopping, how I clean and everything," he said.
"I go to a corner store to do my shopping and I spend a long time cleaning my house because I live alone and it takes me time."
Next week, Mr O'Rourke will turn 65 and will be eligible for an age pension within the next six months.
"I'll keep getting tests to prove I'm not fit to work but I reckon they'll keep rejecting it because I'm not far off from being eligible for age pension," he said.
Centrelink told the Chronicle this week, in relation to Carol Priestly's case, they aim to process applications as quickly as possible and consider contributing factors.