There are many reasons why financial difficulties can arise and none of us are immune to financial crisis which can cross ALL levels of intelligence and socio-economic groups.
Financial stress can make or break a household. Casework involves working with the client to make the presenting issue ‘manageable’ step by step plus provide the information needed so the client can hopefully prevent a similar situation presenting again.
Unfortunately Federal Government changes to Emergency Relief funding Back in 2015 led to the paid case-manager position at Community Support Frankston ceasing. Fortunately, a student placement program through CISVic and RMIT has assisted CSF to continue engaging some of our more complex clients with short-term case-management through the Masters of Social Work student placements program.
Unfortunately the program doesn’t make up for the continuity of a paid caseworker service but has managed to provide some great results for some people that wouldn’t have otherwise been linked in with a worker or specialist service.
Caseworker clients are given access to intensive case management and resources to provide the best possible outcomes during their time of crisis. This has resulted in some outstanding outcomes for clients. The following cases are examples of the complexity of client situations.
To protect privacy, there are no names used.
Case study 1
A young mother of 4 attended CSF requesting financial assistance and support. She was struggling since she had split with her partner who had a gambling problem. She has a child with a disability at primary school and a newborn baby. After her husband left, she had inadequate income to cover her mortgage and bills and was unsure about what to do. This was having a deteriorating effect on her emotional wellbeing and her ability to cope with parenting of her children.
Overwhelmed and found it difficult to deal with her financial crisis.
recently split with partner;
financial budgeting issues and lack of income;
been in mortgage arrears;
limited knowledge of community support.
The CSF caseworker identified areas of assistance that could be offered and identified referrals to community support that would be useful in encouraging greater social inclusion plus assist in stabilizing her home life.
Assistance provided included:
Christmas hamper and financial assistance
Advocacy with utility providers to ensure bills in client’s name only
Access to marriage counselling
Access to personal counselling
Access to financial counselling, budgeting tools and financial information regarding debt management
Access to parenting course information
Access to disability support/resources
Stabilized financial situation
Emotional stability restored resulting in improved health and lower depression levels
Improved relationship with ex-partner
Access to personal counselling
Improved financial literacy
Case study 2
A client in his late 40s and presented at our service requesting financial assistance. He had recently been hospitalized and he was unable to return to work. As he was self-employed he had no sick pay to access and was receiving no income. He also had tenancy rental arrears which he was unable to pay. His problems were exacerbated by the fact he had not lodged tax returns for a number of years and was not able to obtain Centrelink benefits.
Client was not entitled to annual leave, sick leave and had failed to lodge tax returns for a number of years. Other complications included:
ongoing health issues;
debts relating to utilities and medical expenses;
no source of income;
tenancy rental arrears and at risk of losing tenancy;
limited support from family;
Caseworker was able to advocate on his behalf with real estate agent to avoid eviction, and with utility providers to avoid termination of service. Advice was sought from housing support agencies and via tenancy support on legal rights and obligations. Information was provided on lodging tax returns so that Centrelink benefits could be accessed.
Advocacy with Centrelink to obtain sickness benefits;
Submission of ATO tax returns;
Client was given financial aid during case work and assistance with medical costs;
Client was referred to a financial counsellor regarding debt management and advocacy regarding his medical debts and tax liability;
Advocacy with a number of agencies resulting in intake for ongoing health support;
Client was given access to information regarding his return to work and support systems within his industry.