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.



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