Q: I'm a 51-year-old male and have spent about 16 years on an invalid's benefit supplemented by an independent living allowance. I typically would receive from Winz $523 a week, and pay weekly rent of $360.

This year, I received about $50,000 from the estate of my parents. From this, about a month ago I bought a car for $14,000, which I feel I need. I have also bought a new fridge and television, and have $29,000 left.

Because of my inheritance, Winz has reduced my total weekly payments to $282 a week. As a result, I am using my inheritance just to survive week to week.

I have been honest with Winz about the money I have received, but at this rate my inheritance will be gone within two years on living expenses, which Winz had previously paid for. I don't believe I'm being frivolous with this money and just want it to last longer than it is. How can I protect the remainder of my inheritance to help with the extras in life — necessities I have previously struggled to pay for such as dental bills, haircuts and clothing?

A: Most people — including me — will sympathise with you.

But from a government perspective, it's tricky. It has to strike a balance between allowing you to benefit from an inheritance and avoiding spending taxpayer money on people who are better off than others in the community.

The main payments you were probably receiving before the inheritance are:


• The supported living payment, which used to be the invalid's benefit, at $274 a week.
• The accommodation supplement, at $165 a week.
• Temporary additional support, at $82 a week.

The second and third payments are asset-tested, "and a person


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