Mr Julian has chronic autoimmune hepatitis ” his immune system attacks his own liver.
Unlike other forms of hepatitis, researchers believe bacteria, viruses and toxins trigger this in people who are genetically predisposed.
It worsens over time if not treated, and can lead to the liver scarring, hardening and failing.
Steroid treatments depress his immune responses, a double-edged sword, as he sickens easily.
Mr Julian has been hospitalised three times since November, which has interrupted his last three jobs in heavy haulage and earthworks.
After his most recent hospitalisation, he is jobless, sleeping on a friend’s couch, and unable to pay for his medication, decent food or child support for his three kids.
He said he was looking for jobs, but his chances of getting and keeping one were slim due to his health.
He tried to access his superannuation but the company advised his illness was not serious enough.
Mr Julian moved to Australia from New Zealand 12 years ago and has public hospital cover, but laws that came into effect months after he moved here means he does not share the same rights to sickness and unemployment benefits as other Australians.
Federal Human Services Department general manager Hank Jongen said people who arrived here on NZ passports and lived here for the next 10-plus years could be eligible for the benefits, either once only or for up to six months.
Because Mr Julian had a one-off sickness payment some time ago, he will never qualify for another.
Mr Jongen said his department managed a program that could release superannuation early under compassionate grounds.
‘We are happy to contact the customer to discuss his situation,’ he said.
Mr Julian said he disliked the idea of money for nothing, but a short-term regular benefit ‘would give me a roof over my head, enough to live on and support my children until I get better’.
‘Every door I try to open, another one behind it closes.’