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Barriers to Work for Disability Support Pensioners


Thursday, 2nd June 2011 at 12:00 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor
A new report on disability support pensioners shows that there are continuing barriers to work for people with a disability as the number of recipients continues to rise.

Thursday, 2nd June 2011
at 12:00 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Barriers to Work for Disability Support Pensioners
Thursday, 2nd June 2011 at 12:00 pm

 

A new report on disability support pensioners shows that there are continuing barriers to work for people with a disability as the number of recipients continues to rise.

The report, Characteristics of Disability Support Pension Recipients 2010, profiles the 792,581 receiving the DSP at 30 June 2010.

The report found that at June 2010, the DSP population was 792,581, an increase of 4.7 percent over the June 2009 population of 757,118.

As at June 2010 there were 433,456 male and 359,125 female DSP recipients.  Between June 2009 and June 2010, females showed a greater percentage growth between than males.  

Female recipient numbers increased by 7.3 percent over that year, while the number of men receiving DSP rose by 2.6 percent.

The report says the trend for the population of women receiving DSP to grow at a faster rate than men has emerged over the last fifteen years.  

Since the 1990s there have been a number of policy changes that have affected women including:

  • a gradual increase in the qualifying age for Age Pension;
  • the closure to new entrants of alternative payments received primarily or solely by women (for example, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension and Partner Allowance); and
  • a tightening of the eligibility criteria for Parenting Payment as part of the Welfare to Work changes.

The primary medical conditions of the DSP population are primarily represented by three main categories:

  • Musculo-skeletal and connective tissue – 29.2 percent;
  • Psychological/psychiatric – 28.7 percent; and
  • Intellectual/learning – 11.6 percent.

The report says that since 2004 the proportion of recipients reporting against the Musculo-skeletal and connective tissue category has been falling while the proportions for Psychological/psychiatric and Intellectual/learning have been rising since 2001.
 
There were 142,709 DSP claims processed between 27 June 2009 and 25 June 2010, with 91,131 grants (63.9 percent) and 51,578 rejections (36.1 percent).  The overall grant rate[1] rose from 63.0 percent in 2006-07 to 64.5 percent in 2008-09, but has fallen to 63.9 percent in 2009-10.

In 2009-10 rejections on medical grounds accounted for 71.4 percent of rejections and rejections for non-medical reasons were 28.6 percent of rejections.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin says  the report highlights the need for the Australian Government's newly announced reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) to get more people into the workforce.

The reforms announced in the 2011-12 Budget will:

  • Introduce new participation requirements for disability support pensioners under the age of 35 with some capacity to work;

  • Additional provisions for existing disability pensioners to encourage them to work more hours; and

  • Support employers to take on more disability pensioners through new financial incentives.

The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/disability/pubs/policy/2010_DSP/Pages/default.aspx


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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