The vast majority of humanity generally lives within close proximity of each other.
The average population density across the land mass of the globe, excluding Antarctica, is 50 people per square km. Population densities can range from the sparseness of Mongolia at two people per square km, through to the cramped confines of the Dharavai slums in Mumbai, India at 300,000 persons per square km. I cannot imagine living that close to so many people and for the majority of us living in Australia, this situation is difficult to understand.
Neighbours can be a great support but they also can be a nightmare depending on the pets they own, the colour they decide to paint the house, the number of children they may have and of course, the loud parties they may hold on a regular basis. But what neighbours are not…is the font of all knowledge.
Over a long period of time, I have worked with people of age pension age – which mostly means people over the age of 65. Not all, but a large number of such people will have a large circle of acquaintances who are neighbours or members of the same club, church, or sporting team.
These neighbours all share similar experiences and discuss the benefits they receive, or don’t receive, as age or service pensioners. Like most people, if one person is receiving a benefit or, heaven forbid, more age pension than another, a degree of jealousy can certainly creep into a person’s persona and others will want to know how this person is receiving more than they are. The answer they receive will be seen as “gospel” and therefore must be right. In a lot of cases, what appears to be “gospel” is generally not right. Vital pieces of information are generally left out of the answer, the person’s own circumstances can often be skewed and not provide a true picture of their position.
I do remember one particular case where a lady was told by her neighbour that as she owned her own home and had in excess of $300,000 in the bank, she was not entitled to the age pension. She believed this to be true and did not bother applying or enquiring about her entitlement for a number of years. As a result, she forfeited a substantial amount of pension she was entitled to receive.
People need to ask questions, but not of their neighbours. They should talk to experts who understand the legislation and can help guide them to achieving their rightful entitlement.
Gossip and misinformation can be terrible and what you hear over the back fence should never be relied on without checking.
Can you imagine the gossip and misinformation which must get passed around in Dharavai?9