1. Making the Disability Support Pension harder to get

When: Ongoing

What: After a person with a disability gets a job, for the next two years (dated from when that employment ends) it will be much harder for them to go back to receiving Disability Support Pension (DSP). The eligibility will be tested by the government, using an ‘impairment table’, to see if the disabled individual would be likely to get a job with the next two years.

Effect: This policy has forced many disabled people formerly on DSP (like Pru Hawkins, below) to go onto the Newstart. When the Newstart cuts (above) kick in, some of these disabled people will be without payments for up to 6 months.

2. Reassessing DSP recipients under 35

When: From 1 July 2014

What:  The eligibility of current Disability Support Pension recipients aged under 35 years who were granted Disability Support Pension (DSP) between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2011 prior to the introduction of the revised impairment tables, will be reviewed.

Those DSP recipients who were granted on manifest grounds would be excluded as would those already assessed as having a work capacity of less than eight hours a week.

Under this measure, DSP recipients would have a comprehensive review of their qualification for DSP. This would involve a review against the revised impairment tables and an assessment of their work capacity. Eligible DSP recipients will be supported to help maximise their work capacity.

DSP recipients would also be assessed as to whether they have evidence of having actively participated in a Program of Support. Depending on their circumstances, if they have not participated in a Program of Support they would be required to do so. DSP payment would continue contingent on their participation in a Program of Support.

Those found to have the capacity to conduct work experience, education, training or job search will be forced into compulsory work or training participation from July 1 2014 or have payments suspended.

Effect: Around 30,000 DSP recipients will be subject to these changes. Reviews would be carried out over 18 months from 1 July 2014. The Department of Human Services will contact recipients who are affected by this measure. Recipients will be asked to provide current medical evidence and may need to attend a Job Capacity Assessment scheduled by the department.

3. Forcing DSP recipients into work/compulsory activities

When:  From 1 July 2014

What: If you are under 35 years of age, receive a Disability Support Pension and are assessed as having a work capacity of 8 or more hours per week (under the revised impairment tables),  you will need to attend regular participation interviews with Centrelink. These interviews will be used to develop a Disability Support Pension Participation Plan to help you prepare for or find work. This plan will include at least one compulsory activity that will be agreed based on your individual circumstances.

Effect: Up to 30,000 DSP recipients will be forced into compulsory work.

4. Reducing the DSP pension by indexing it to Consumer Price Index (CPI)

When: 1 September 2017

All pension payments and pension equivalent payments will be indexed by the Consumer Price Index only, reduced from the higher indexation rate of the Male Wage. This is a considerable lower rate of indexation: While the CPI rose by 17 per cent between 2005 and 2011, average wages rose by 23 per cent.

Effect: This change will cut $2.4 billion from DSP welfare over the first four years. Everyone on DSP payment will be affected. This change will also be implemented to all pensions, including Age PensionCarer Payment,Wife PensionWidow B Pension and Bereavement Allowance.




  1. I’m in my late 20’s and disabled.
    I was given a work capacity assessment, and told I had to work at least 8 hours.

    In theory it doesn’t sound so bad, but in practice, it’s incredibly difficult.

    Firstly, Job Providers are not interested in spending the time to help disabled people to find a job. I’m constantly at odds with my job provider, because they keep trying to push me in to any job they can find, regardless of if it’s outside of my capabilities.
    I do empathize with them to a degree, because the second biggest issue is I am greatly limited in what I can do. Physical health problems means I can’t move around much, and there aren’t many job available that don’t require you to be constantly on your feet. It’s hard looking for work, but finding suitable work with a disability is even worse.
    And the third issue, my illness is unpredictable. One of the reasons I went on the DSP in the first-place is because obtaining work when I was having to take so many sick days off was impossible. There’s no guessing when my health gets worse, when I’ll need to go to the doctor, to a specialist, or to hospital. It makes me unreliable, and no employer will keep me because of that.

    I mean I can understand if the government don’t want people on benefits for the rest of their lives, but people on DSP are on it for a reason. I do find it rather ironic that I still have to get medical certificates to prove I’m too ill, when I’m already on the DSP for a permanent disability.

    And targeting people under 35? What’s the deal with that? Does the government not believe young people can get sick? If anything it’s harder for us, because we haven’t been able to set ourselves up at all. I don’t have my own home, or any savings. I’ve been ill since I was 16, which means I haven’t been able to earn barely any money. I’m also unlucky because I don’t have parents I can rely on or ask for help. I’m on my own.

    Basically these changes have been very hard on me. I feel like I am being punished for being ill, that the government do not care about me.
    It was difficult enough getting the DSP to begin with, and I see so many stories of people who are very ill who were rejected.
    But even when you get the DSP, the government try to kick you off it again. You constantly have to prove how sick you are, that you’re not “faking it.” It’s very dehumanizing.

    Sometimes I feel like they don’t want me to be alive, because they see me as a waste of money. They treat me like a criminal, because I can’t contribute to society like other people can.
    I hope every single day that one day there will be a cure for my illness. So I can stop relying on the government, and being hated by them. So I can be free from all the judgement and stigma. I just want to be well. I hate being sick. I hate how people treat me because I am sick. I didn’t want any of this, but they treat me like it’s all my fault. Now I have to look for work, and it’s even worse. Because every time I tell them I can’t do the job, they tell me I’m awful and how I don’t deserve my income. That I don’t deserve to have a roof over my head, or food on my table, because I’m not good enough. Because I’m sick.

    1. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I know how it feels to think you are hated. The government is just callously indifferent, I don’t think they put energy in to hate you. But the effect on your life is similar. There are some a**holes that work at centrelink, and there are also some lovely people, who have to work within a dreadful system. Striking a good one can make things so much better. Sometimes asking around and travelling to an office that has a reputation for kindness is worth the expense & energy, not to walk out of there demoralised and traumatised.
      Good luck. Get good medical support behind you, someone who’s in your corner. It’s too hard alone. Keep looking til you find that person who will back you. I know everything you say is true. Take care.

    2. I am 31 years old and I’ve been the same for 11 years injured both physically and mentally I under what you’re going thru I can’t wait til I reach age 35 I won’t constantly feel pressure to work when I spend all day in bed hurting fuck them seriously I’m loosing hair stressing about when are they going to cut me off cause I refuse this job plan shit cause I’m disabled I’m currently on a year exemption but I don’t feel any better I know once dates over they will start there bull shit again

  2. I am furious. Thanks to the LIberal Government, the dsp has been cut from $725 a fortnight to a mere $658 a fortnight. This is outrageous. They need to be booted out and dignity restored to australians whoo cannot work.

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