Woman sit on a park bench and looks away from the camera

We want to share some of the ways our PossABLE Advocates have supported, changed lives and advocated for people with disability. This is *Jo's story.

*Name changed for confidentiality.

Jo is a 45-year-old woman who lives on her own in a regional area. Up until recently, Jo had a good job that she enjoyed; however, her health started failing, and she had to stop working. As a result, her only income is the Disability Support Pension. Jo had a turbulent upbringing and has not been involved with her family for many years.

Jo felt like she was sinking when she visited the local Women's Centre to seek help. Jo sat with the staff at the Centre and cried while she told them how overwhelmed she felt at everything that was going on in her life. The Women's Centre called the PossABLE Advocate to see if she could assist. The Advocate called Jo, but Jo was so depressed that she did not want to take the call. Even after the Advocate texted her with the offer of assistance, it still took a couple of attempts to connect with Jo.

Jo explained that several things were really concerning her and playing on her mind. One was that she had not put a tax return in for a couple of years and she had received a letter from the Australian Taxation Office requesting that she submit her returns. Jo did not have the finances to see an accountant and she did not have a computer, nor would she know what to do even if she did have a computer.

With her laptop in tow, the Advocate visited Jo at her home. The Advocate explained to Jo that everything could be set up online. Together they created all the necessary accounts, such as a My.Gov account and linked all the services up. Even though Jo did not have a computer, she did have a mobile phone. So they downloaded all the right apps on the phone so Jo could access all her services online. Finally, after setting all the accounts up, with the Advocate's assistance, Jo completed her tax returns online. Jo was very surprised that she would receive a substantial refund from the taxation department.

Sometimes, a seemingly normal life activity can have a devastatingly stressful impact on a vulnerable person. By spending just a few hours with Jo, PossABLE Advocacy was able to alleviate a lot of stress for her, but was also able to assist her in getting a tax refund which would then allow her to pay off some of her other debts, which in turn alleviated a little bit more stress.


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