Mother struggles to get State Trustees to pay son's rent on time

Summary

Josh lives in a rented unit but struggles to manage his bills. State Trustees manages his affairs. They did not pay his rent on time and did not make prompt arrangements to pay his electricity and water bills.

When we drew Josh's case to State Trustees' attention, they apologised to Josh and his family. They confirmed they had started receiving and paying Josh's bills.

What was the case?

Josh is in his 20s and has schizophrenia. His mother Belinda asked VCAT to appoint an administrator. State Trustees become responsible for managing Josh's bills.

Belinda gave State Trustees the names of Josh's property manager and water and electricity providers.

Six months later, Belinda called us to say she had 'nothing but trouble' getting State Trustees to pay. She and her husband once paid Josh's rent because it was six weeks late. Belinda said she had called and emailed State Trustees many times. Yet she continued to receive Josh's utility bills.

Our enquiries

When we looked at Josh's State Trustees file, it showed State Trustees:

  • did not contact Josh's property manager until Belinda called them to say the rent was late. Belinda called State Trustees five times before it started paying Josh's rent.
  • did not contact Josh's electricity provider until six weeks after he became their client. They asked the provider to send Josh's bills to them. It took many requests and months before the provider responded.
  • did not contact Josh's water provider until three months after he became their client. It took them three weeks to contact the provider and six weeks for them to pay the bill.

We drew Josh's case to State Trustees' attention. They acknowledged the delays. They said they had experienced 'heavy workloads and reduced resourcing' at the time.

Outcome

State Trustees apologised to Josh and Belinda. They confirmed they had started receiving and paying Josh's bills.

System failures Service delays State Trustees