The Financial Loss That Accompanies Disability

The Financial Loss That Accompanies Disability

Who’s ready for some depressing discussion!? Woo! As you may know, the place I was working (on a mega-project) went under* this year and there were mass “BYEEEEE”. I can’t even call it lay-offs because that implies that we were paid compensation for losing our jobs. Project staff were mostly labour hire through recruitment agencies so we just stopped getting paid. It took me about 14 weeks to find a new part time job. I like my job and the people I work with, but I have to  admit that even if I was full time, the pay is lower than I’ve had in some time. 


In fact, it’s roughly a 40-60% drop in pay (depending on how you calculate it).  Just because I need to work from my office (spare room) instead of a company office. That is literally the only reason. 


The casual rate I was on in my former job was the first time that being casual was actually made up for with the rate of pay.


The Financial Loss That Accompanies Disability


While I was job hunting I had agencies that wanted to put me forward for jobs that paid up to 50% more than I was getting at the job that ended in February this year. Some very nice day rates were discussed with me. But the agencies wouldn’t talk to me after they finally read the part of my resume that says I have to work from home due to disability. 


I had an A06 ($101k-$107k + government levels of super) job offer from the Queensland State Government that they rescinded after finding out they’d have to accomodate me. It’s still in dispute, MoGging (machinery of government aka shuffling departments around for no fucking reason) has slowed down my demands for an apology, financial compensation, and them to train their staff in disability better.


And then consider that this is just my experience. I have two degrees, supportive references, the ability to work (with accommodations), a little bit of subcontracting and freelancing income, a business that I’m growing slowly, and I was lucky enough to have a buffer of money in the bank when I lost my job. 


Some people can’t work. Others can, but only at great expense to other areas of their life. Everyone deserves respect, housing, medical care… all those pesky human rights things that are generally only available with money nowadays. 


Disability is a club most people join if they live long enough. It’s a club anyone can join at any time.


  • Who will take care of you if/when it happens to you?
  • Do you have the skills and strength to advocate for yourself**?
  • Perhaps governments need to stop spending literal millions on “awareness” for employers and make it genuinely illegal (as in with actual punishments) to discriminate against disabled staff?
  • DSP (if you can get it) isn’t enough to pay rent. You can’t afford medication. Forget about food, especially with inflation-causing mega corps driving prices up for no reason.
  • How will you survive?


The Financial Loss That Accompanies Disability


*they liked using boring wanky corporate words like recalibration or whatever but I don’t work for them anymore so nyah! I can just use the words I want to!

**advocating for yourself is TIRING. I am so appreciative of the people I’ve met and the support I’ve gotten but wow it’d be really fucking nice to not waste my spoons fighting things that are already supposed to be unlawful!

2 Replies to “The Financial Loss That Accompanies Disability”

  1. Denyse Whelan says: Reply

    Oh Vanessa, I do already know from being part of your twitter followers how hard it’s been. There is no ‘real compassion ‘ anywhere these days. It’s about the mighty dollar and making profits. Even though I have not had to go through what you have I still understand the frustration well. Despite how policies are made and lived by, nothing really ever changes…if you can’t physically get to an “office, workplace, etc” then we can’t help you. The WFH did not last long after covid because essentially bosses/govt or not..want to “see people at work”. I had the experience of being hassled by my superior to return to an office based job when I couldn’t return to my school in late 2002 and I said “I can’t even do that”. So damaged psychologically from what had happened. I had tor resign. Just to be able to access my lump sum of super which the fund did not want to pay me until I got NSW Teachers Fed legal onto it. It was great to see you link up a post this week for Wednesdays Words and Pics on Denyse Whelan Blogs to Connect. Thank you so much and I hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      The obsession with returning to a former norm is what is getting to me right now. Both in work contexts (as in your comment) and non work contexts.

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