An Indigenous woman claims she has been shortchanged over missing funeral insurance funds she paid fortnightly for nearly 29 years to a Queensland-based company that went bankrupt.
Beverley Roberts, 57, a volunteer at the Salvation Army store, has approached the NSW Legal Aid office in Dubbo in NSW's central west for assistance and was referred to a Sydney law firm aware of other funeral insurance claims against Youpla Group and was given devastating advice.
"When I walked in at the Legal Aid office here they knew exactly what I was talking about," Ms Roberts told ACM.
"That same afternoon a woman from Sydney rang telling me there was no money left and they don't think I will get my money back. I was swearing and said to her 'you've got to be kidding me, I've put a lot of money over all those years'."
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Ms Roberts said she was advised her funeral insurance claim was merely one of numerous claims on the Aboriginal Community Funeral Plan managed by Youpla, an Aboriginal-run company that signed her into the plan 29 years ago.
On March 22 this year, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission officially listed Youpla Group funeral funds as in liquidation, thus all members paying their policies, including Ms Roberts, were advised they were "no longer covered under their funeral policies and should consider if they want to make other arrangements".
The Daily Liberal has contacted the Sydney law firm and Dubbo branch of the NSW Legal Aid to comment on Ms Robert's case.
The Greens Party candidate, Trish Frail, and senate candidate David Shoebridge recently took up Ms Robert's case while they were in Dubbo campaigning for the federal election.
Ms Frail said she was aware of many cases and would "investigate them all and get the payments to their policies".
Ms Roberts recounted she began paying insurance at age 28 for $65 a fortnight while married to her now deceased husband Kevin who died 14 years ago. Youpla has covered Kevin's funeral costing the family $8,000 and another $7,000 cash was paid to Ms Roberts.
The Roberts family covered by the funeral insurance policy included Ms Robert's three adult children and two grandchildren.
The family has no other insurance policy except for funeral to ensure a death in the family is "stress-free", Ms Roberts said.
"I wouldn't leave a burden on my kids or my family [when I die] because I've struggled in the past where I had to bury four family members a brother, a sister, a father and a nephew all in within a 12 month period.
"[As part of our tradition] when someone dies we don't come in small groups [to attend the funeral] we come in hundreds.
"I am travelling to Walgett in two days because my little cousin died. She is 55 years old and I won't know why she died until I get to Walgett.
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