Disability Support Pension applicants ‘forced into poverty’

A Senate committee yesterday heard that the system is failing those who need it the most. (Bigstock)

A complex and “humiliating” application process is making it difficult for people to access the Disability Support Pension, forcing them into poverty, federal politicians have heard. Source: SBS News.

A Senate committee looking into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the DSP yesterday heard a range of longstanding concerns from people with disability and advocacy groups that the system is failing those who need it the most.

Speakers said people who should be eligible for the DSP are often shunted onto much lower payments with job-seeking requirements, applicants” have to “jump through hoops” to get support, the process does not “understand” certain conditions, and eligibility requirements are too bureaucratic and focused on the medical model of disability.

Similar concerns have been raised about the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The committee also heard calls for the scrapping of “programs of support” – such as work preparation plans – and for a review of the “impairment tables” used by the Government to assess the severity of someone’s disability or illness.

The DSP provides up to $868.30 per fortnight per individual with “a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment” that prevents them from working more than 15 hours each week.

The recipient’s condition must also be “fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised”.

The rate of the DSP was not lifted at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, unlike other government payments.

In a written submission to the Senate committee, the Department of Social Services said the DSP eligibility criteria seek to “encourage and support people to re-enter and remain in the workforce where they are able, complemented by a range of employment services and programs”.


Disability Support Pension applicants are being forced into poverty, inquiry hears (By Evan Young, SBS News)

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