Disability pensioners to work for benefits

SOME disability welfare recipients will be required to work for their payments under potential changes in next week’s federal budget.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews says the Abbott government wants to push disability support pensioners with an ability to work into the workforce.

Some of the 800,000 recipients have been on the “set and forget” benefit for too long.

“With the right sort of approach we could actually encourage them to be the workforce and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Mr Andrews told ABC radio on Friday.

He did not specify whether the change would be in Tuesday’s federal budget, or come after the release of a review into the welfare system later this year.

Mr Andrews also hinted the coalition government could simplify the welfare payments system by merging certain benefits.

“We’ve got 55 payment supplement allowances,” he said.

“If you look at it on a diagram, it’s a total mess and we want to try and simplify it.”

He was tight-lipped on speculation school leavers could be forced to wait six months before they could claim welfare benefits.

His comments came after former prime minister Paul Keating called for a longevity levy to deal with the nation’s growing ageing population and its effect on age pension welfare dependency.

Mr Keating has proposed a Commonwealth insurance scheme that would guarantee people income support, aged care and accommodation when they reach their 80s.