Image: A Current Affair
60-year-old Rebecca Assie has been accused of receiving over $200,000 from Centrelink that she was not entitled to.
The Sydney grandmother pretended to be blind for over 20 years to receive the disability support pension. However, she has held a current drivers license this whole time.
Speaking to A Current Affair, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge says Ms Assie received a total of $209,000 in Centrelink payments. It has been dubbed “one of the most extraordinary cases” Mr Tudge has ever come across.
Ms Assie visited two separate doctors back in 1990 until she was diagnosed as blind. Her first doctor said in his report, “I cannot understand why the patient is applying for a pension. She has normal corrected vision for distance and near.”
Over the years, Ms Assie renewed her drivers license multiple times and even passed an eye test. It took a whole before Centrelink realised something wasn’t right. An employee sent her for an eye test to determine whether or not she was in fact blind.
The doctor wrote, “a person who wished to exaggerate their vision impairment or to feign permanent blindness could simply pretend not to be able to read any letter of the Snellen chart or see the chart itself.”
It was then discovered that Ms Assie was not eligible for the disability pension. Centrelink’s fraud investigators found that she was in fact working in a clerical role, requiring her to see.
Ms Assie is currently being pursued through the debt recovery division of the Department of Human Services.