A Sydney grandmother has been accused of scamming taxpayers of more than $200,000 by pretending to be blind for 21 years.
Channel 9’s A Current Affair reported last night that Rebecca Assie had received a disability pension for the past 21 years after claiming that she was unable to work due to blindness, despite also passing the sight tests required to obtain a driver’s licence.
ACA, which videoed Assie walking about her neighbourhood and going about activities without assistance or apparent vision impairment, said that the 60-year-old shopped around for an ophthalmologist that was willing to attest to her blindness, after one told the Department of Human Services that he “could not understand why the patient is applying for a pension”.
“She has normal corrected vision for distance and near,” the sceptical ophthalmologist wrote. After Assie found an ophthalmologist willing to certify that she was blind, Centrelink granted her a disability pension.
She also, however, maintained an driver’s licence, apparently passing the vision tests required to do so, ACA reported.
But it appeared from the program (below) the DHS had caught up with Assie. ACA also interviewed Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, who called her case “one of the most extraordinary” he’d come across.
ACA reported that the DHS was now working with the Sydney woman to retrieve the $209,000 in payments she had wrongfully claimed.