Appendix A: Australian Federation Of Disability Organisations Eight Key Principles For A Sustainable Disability Support Pension
Mary Sayers, Chief Executive Officer
We Assess Manifest Medical Rules
We may talk to your treating doctors and other health professionals about your medical evidence.
If you meet manifest medical rules, there is no further medical assessment.
Understanding If You Are Eligiblenon Medical Rules
To claim the DSP you must meet several non-medical rules.
You must be 16 or older. You must be below Age Pension age.
Your income and assets must fall within certain limits.
You must be an Australian Resident. In most cases, you must have been in Australia for 10 years
If you are unsure whether you meet the residency rules, you should call Social Security Rights Victoria.
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Working Credit Balance Prevents Loss Of Qualification
A DSP recipient who has a working credit balance and commences employment on a long term basis which means they no longer meet the CITW criterion, is treated as still being qualified for DSP for the period it takes to run down their working credit balance. This allows the recipient to benefit from their working credit balance – providing encouragement to recipients to take up a job.
This treatment will continue until the earliest of:
- their working credit balance is reduced to nil, or
- qualification is lost, or
- payability is lost.
- DSP-permanent blindness recipients can accrue and deplete working credits if their income details are obtained for the purpose of paying RA.
- Australian Disability Enterprise wages are employment income and any available working credits will be used to offset this employment income under the income test.
Act reference:SSAct section 1073J Working credit balance prevents loss of qualification in certain cases
Policy reference: SS Guide 126.96.36.199 Working credit depletion
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How Do Centrelink Assess Your Eligibility
There are many Centrelink payment types, and generally, there is an eligibility criteria for the payment you may be eligible for. However, Centrelink also assesses whether you have adequate funds to support yourself. This can be in a form savings or income you regularly receive. Most of the payment types attract this type of assessment, and this is called means testing
Centrelink Wrongly Denies Disability Support Pension To Severely Ill Woman
Trish Geidel, who has one lung and cannot leave the house without a mobility scooter, was placed on the lower Newstart payment
A severely ill woman in her 60s who cannot leave the house without a mobility scooter was wrongly judged as fit for work by Centrelink and denied the disability support pension.
Trish Geidel, of Adelaide, lives with osteoarthritis in her back and knees, a separate spinal problem, and struggles to physically exert herself due to a heart condition and the loss of one of her lungs about 20 years ago.
The 64-year-old has also lived with long-standing depression and said she could not walk much further than the length of passageway of the unit she had shared with her husband.
And I have walked up to the letter box, she said. So thats a little bit further, thats about 15 feet.
But Centrelink rejected her claim for the disability support pension, saying she was fit to work for 15 hours a week. She was instead placed on the lower jobseekers payment, Newstart, after the death of her husband in 2017.
Considering its $255 lower that the disability pension, it was extremely hard, Geidel told Guardian Australia. I didnt go anywhere. I didnt do anything. I just stayed home. As far as food goes, I was eating baked beans, cheese, yoghurt. Just trying to survive really.
Successive governments have sought to cut the welfare spend by making it harder for applicants to get onto the disability pension.
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The Dsp And Other Social Security Payment Rates Are Insufficient
People with disability are more likely to be reliant on income support payments, inclusive of the DSP, as their main source of income. Nearly half of young people with disability aged 15 to 24 years rely on income support payments, compared to 14 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 years without a disability. By no coincidence people with disability are also more likely to experience poverty, with 37 per cent adults experiencing poverty having disability. More specifically, 41 per cent of households whose reference person receives the DSP are living below the poverty line. These figures are also modest and do not factor in the increased costs incurred with living with disability.
CYDA believes that the DSP rate must be raised to ensure people with disability are not living in poverty and have the ability to live independently, in a safe environment of their choosing. However, as outlined in the previous section, many young people with disability are also living on alternative payments with offer even less income and are provided on the basis on more ongoing conditionality.
We advocate that these payments must also be raised so that all people, inclusive of young people with disability who experience increased barriers to gaining employment, are receiving support that provides a dignified standard of living. ‘
Young People With Disability Are Being Denied Access To The Dsp
With the harsh and rigid access requirements that have been introduced by the Australian Government over the last decade, there is an increasing divide between young people with disability who are considered to be deserving of receiving the DSP, and those who are not. As result, many young people are driven instead to access the JobSeeker or Youth Allowance Payments, which provide significantly lower rates of pay than the DSP. ,, Data obtained by CYDA from the Department of Social Services shows that:
- The number of Jobseeker recipients aged between 20 and 25 years with partial capacity to work has increased by 372.8 per cent in the decade from 2009, growing from 5,308 in 2009 to 25,096 in 2020
- The number of Youth Allowance recipients under 19 years old with partial capacity to work has increased by 174.9 per cent, from 2,299 in 2009 to 6,319 in 2020
- The number of Youth Allowance recipients aged between 20 and 25 years with partial capacity to work has increased by 970.3 per cent, from 936 in 2009 to 10,018 in 2020
- The number of DSP recipients under 19 years old has decreased by 20.4 per cent, from 18,414 in 2009 to 14,662 in 2020
- The number of DSP recipients aged between 20 and 25 years has increased by 12.6 per cent, from 36,128 in 2009 compared to 40,690 in 2020.
Figure 2: Trends from 2009 to 2020 of Youth Allowance with partial capacity to work and Disability Support Pension recipients aged 19 years and under Source: Department of Social Services data provided to CYDA
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Centrelink Pensions And Allowances
Most Centrelink benefits have similar means testing. Centrelink will apply their Income Test and Assets Test and whichever results in the lower payment is the test that is applied.
With these payments, your actual withdrawal from super does not have any impact on your payment it is what you do with the funds that Centrelink will assess. For example, if you withdraw TPD/Super money to pay bills, pay down your mortgage, go on a trip, etc Centrelink will not assess these amounts. However, if you withdraw funds and put them in a bank account, Centrelink will assess this additional amount in your bank account and apply their Income & Assets Test.
The following information explains Centrelink Income & Assets testing & thresholds. There are different thresholds depending whether you are single or a couple, or whether or not you own your home.
Australias Income Support System Is Too Rigid And Forces Young People Into Poverty
As young people with disability experience complex barriers in the workforce, it is essential that the government provides an adequate safety net for young people who cannot secure work, so they are not forced to live in poverty.
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Myths About The Disability Support Pension
The DSP exists to help Australians who have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working. It is a critical part of our welfare model and is often a lifeline for the 760,000 people who receive it.
Unfortunately, some myths are going around about the Disability Support Pension . In this blog, we will go through some of those myths, and in doing so, hopefully, clear the air.
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Getting The Application Form
There are several ways to claim the DSP.
If you use myGov, you may make an application online via your myGov account.
If you do not use myGov, you may .
You may also ask Centrelink for the application form, either in person or over the phone.
The application form is a long document with many questions. Many of the questions asked are about your income and assets.
It is important to remember that completing this form is only one part of applying for the DSP. The most important part of the application process is showing you are medically qualified for the DSP. To do this you need to support your application with medical evidence.
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Which Income Is Not Assessable
Broadly speaking, income you receive is assessable except:
- A qualified medical professional has examined you
You have medical evidence for your condition
- You have received treatment or rehabilitation
- Treatment will continue or you have a medical plan for the next 2 years
To decide if your condition is fully managed/treated, we assess if:
To decide if your condition is fully stabilised, we assess if:
- Treatment will help you work 15 hours or more a week in the next 2 years
- There are medical or other reasons why you cannot receive treatment
Before you apply, we recommend you check other eligibility criteria, such as residency requirements and points in more detail.
Additional Disability Support Available To Australians
If youâre not eligible for a Disability Support Pension payment, you may still qualify for other services or another type of disability support payment.
Other types of disability payments apply to job seekers. If youâre between the ages of 22 and Age Pension age and youâre temporarily unable to work due to an illness or injury, then you may be eligible for a JobSeeker payment. This payment is also available to people who are looking for work. Like the DSP, to be eligible for JobSeeker you must be a resident of Australia and meet an income and assets test. The maximum JobSeeker payments you can receive are lower than the maximum DSP, and the maximum income limit to qualify is also lower. A JobSeeker isnât intended to support you for a long time itâs temporary while you look for work or recover from a short-term condition.
You may also qualify for another type of disability support allowance. If someone you love has a disability and you provide regular care for them, then you may be eligible for a Carer Payment or a Carer Allowance. A Carer Payment is for someone who is unable to work because they provide constant care for a person with a disability or who is elderly and frail, and a Carer Allowance is for a person who provides additional care. Both of these income support payments require that both the carer and the person who is disabled meets eligibility requirements, and both require an income test.
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How Do I Apply For A Disability Support Pension
If you meet the eligibility requirements for a Disability Support Pension, applying for DSP occurs online through your myGov account, over the phone by calling Centrelink, or in person at a service center.
In order to submit a disability pension application, youâll need to provide supporting documents. What documents you need will depend on the information you provide as you go through the process of submitting your claim. If you apply online, then the website will tell you as you fill out the claim what documents you need to provide. Some supporting documents will be required, and others will be supplementary. Youâll need all required documents before you can submit your claim, but supplementary documents can be submitted up to 14 days after the claim.
To find out what documents your claim will need, before you begin your claim. Explain your situation and how you believe you meet eligibility criteria for DSP, and theyâll be able to tell you what supporting documents youâll need.
To apply online, first set up a myGov account, then link Centrelink to your account. This will give you access to apply and manage your disability services online.
If you are unsure what documents you need to include, or if you donât have access to a printer, call the Centrelink Disability, Sickness, and Carers Line to ask questions or apply by phone.