A grieving mother campaigns for a change in the Centrelink debt collection system ten weeks after her son took his own life after being told that he owed money from the social service.
Jason Madgwick, 22, was told that his Newstart claim had been rejected and $ 2,000 billed on May 30 — the same day he took his life.
His distraught mother Kath Madgwick tries to change the system to prevent others from going through the turmoil she had to endure.
Distraught mother Kath (photo) tries to change the system to prevent others from coming through what she is going through
In an interview with the former Sunshine Coast real estate manager, the death of her son said & # 39; the worst & # 39; that she has ever experienced in her life.
& # 39; (The) system is completely wrong. They hurt the people who need these services & she said An ongoing case by tears.
On the day Jarrad died, he told his mother that his application for Newstart payments had been rejected.
She assured her son – who had just moved back home after losing his job and recently broke up with his girlfriend – that they would arrange it the next day.
But when he logged into his account to discover a $ 2000 debt, the burden became so great that he ended his life.
& # 39; That is enough to give all vulnerable people in a bad situation so much stress. When the hit came with Robo debt, I believe that it was the straw that broke the camel's back & # 39 ;, the affected woman remembered.
Kath Madgwick (left) and Jarrad Madgwick (right) in happier times before the death of the 22-year-old in May
& # 39; It brought him to a place where he was not thinking in a moment. He just saw no way out. & # 39;
Mrs. Madgwick is not alone in her mission.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese stood behind her to fight against what he describes as a & # 39; failing system & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Governments must treat people with respect. This government with its Robo system does not do that & # 39 ;, said the Labor leader.
Jarrad Madgwick had to deal with Centrelink for six weeks regarding a Newstart claim he made and had two phone calls with them the day he died – and his mother claims a letter telling him that he had a $ 2,000 debt that led him to take his own life
& # 39; It fails by generating letters that effectively come as debt securities and threats to people who cause great suffering.
& # 39; It creates real suffering with a real impact on real people and their families. & # 39;
Compliance assessments that have been performed on the system since 2015 have revealed that 20 percent of debt issues were issued incorrectly.
The Human Services Department General Manager Hank Jongen said the staff had not told Mr. Madgwick that his Newstart would be canceled because of his fault, because the claim process is not working that way
Single mother Lisa Hepplewhite told A Current affair that an incorrect bill had been sent to her for $ 6,000 allegedly built up six years earlier.
& # 39; I don't feel safe. I never know that I will have enough money at the end of two weeks. I don't know how many times I've cried because of Centrelink, & she said.
The plea follows recent claims by whistleblowers that Centrelink has encouraged staff to collect debts through targeted practices.
The Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen told Daily Mail Australia at the time of Jarrad's death: & # 39; A young person taking his own life is a tragedy & # 39;
Employees who did not achieve the objectives were reportedly placed on performance assessments.
The Human Services Department General Manager Hank Jongen told Daily Mail Australia at the time of Jarrad's death: & # 39; A young person taking his own life is a tragedy, we express our sincere sympathy for the Jarrad family. & # 39 ;
Mrs. Madgwick said that her son had deteriorated in mental health in the months prior to his death following a break and a forced dismissal for bullying.
Mrs. Madgwick said she just wants the system to change because she wants no one to go through what she's been through (stock)
She insisted that it was Centrelink's report that brought his problems to a head.
After Centrelink heard that Mr. Madgwick had died, they canceled his debt, but his mother said it was too late.
& # 39; What we are going through now must be heard, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; I know there are people who created the system, but there are real people and they must treat people as people and not as numbers. & # 39;
& # 39; I never get over it, but I just have the feeling that a change needs to be made. & # 39;
For confidential support, call Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14 or Mensline 1300 789 978
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