When I asked for a food grant for Emma, the casework granted it without forcing us to jump through moral hoops.
Depression, the physical pain and the concoction of pills Emma is on to control her physical pain, make it hard to think clearly and just remember day-to-day things – like those all important WINZ appointments.
But what worries me the most is the despair and the sheer terror so many people I support at WINZ are feeling, this includes Emma.
She bluntly summarised to me, her experiences with WINZ: “Constant, exhausting terror, dulling your cognitive abilities because you’re in perpetual fight/flight mode.” On the way home from WINZ, Emma told me she had come up with a ‘Plan B’ if she couldn’t sort out the WINZ sanctions.
On top of this, a few years ago she was diagnosed with early onset arthritis in addition to injuries to her nerves and spine.
Her ongoing health issues make working incredibly hard because she can’t predict when she will have good days and when she will be stuck at home in chronic pain.