Centrelink is facing backlash after threatening to withdraw pension payments to a 102-year-old woman.
Anne Hawkins, who is bed bound in her home in Punchbowl, was shocked last month when she suddenly had to provide the government agency with proof of her identity.
The letter also stated that the documents needed to be provided in person.
Ms Hawkins was only able to provide her Australian Citizenship certificate, due to her age, as Centrelink advised her family that she would need to obtain a NSW proof of age card.
Ms Hawkins’ daughter Mary, said to do so she would, “need to be taken there by ambulance and wheeled into the Centre in a hospital bed.”
Frank, Anne’s son, told NCA Newswire that he spent several hours on the phone to Centrelink trying to resolve the problem, but to no avail.
He said, “It was extremely frustrating for me and my family. We protected mum from as much of the aggravation as possible. Telling her was worst case scenario.”
Anne’s family were extremely concerned and shocked that the government agency were asking a 102-year-old to flout lockdown guidelines and risk exposure to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“We’ve been locked down since the last week of June. This letter arrived on the 30th of July. It arrived during lockdown. It is pretty unreasonable that Centrelink should be asking people to show up to a service centre in the middle of a lockdown,” Frank said.
Ms Hawkins’ local MP Tony Burke got involved in the issue, and demanded an explanation from Centrelink.
“They actually wanted her to put herself at risk by leaving the house so she could jump through ridiculous bureaucratic hoops,” he told NCA Newswire.
When Anne’s family informed her of the situation, she joked she would have to get a job.
Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds told NCA Newswire she “sincerely apologised” for the inconvenience caused.
Image credits: 10News
This article originally appeared on Over60.