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Changes to Disability Support Pensioners Working Hours Introduced into Parliament

16 February 2012 at 9:39 am
Staff Reporter
The Federal Government has introduced further reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DPS) allowing people with disabilities to work twice as many hours.

Staff Reporter | 16 February 2012 at 9:39 am


Changes to Disability Support Pensioners Working Hours Introduced into Parliament
16 February 2012 at 9:39 am

The Federal Government has introduced further reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DPS) allowing people with disabilities to work twice as many hours.

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Bill 2012 introduces new participation requirements for Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients who have some capacity to work.

In November 2011, the Gillard Government introduced its controversial changes to the Social Security Act – which includes changes to the Impairment Tables used to determine eligibility for the Disability Support Pension – have passed through Parliament.

People who apply for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) from the 1st January 2012 are assessed under the new Impairment Tables. (The Impairment Tables are used in Disability Support Pension assessments to measure how a person's impairment affects their ability to work, and were last reviewed in 1993.)

The Government says the latest Bill introduces more generous rules to allow DSP recipients to work up to 30 hours a week and continue to receive a part-pension, subject to income and assets testing.

From 1 July this year:

  • DSP recipients aged under 35 years with some capacity to work will be required to attend regular participation interviews with Centrelink to develop participation plans, to help build their capacity and overcome barriers to work; and
  • All DSP recipients will be able to work up to 30 hours a week without their payment being suspended or cancelled, subject to the income test. Currently DSP recipients granted after 11 May 2005 can only work up to 15 hours a week before their payment is suspended or cancelled. These people find it difficult to find work that is limited to only 15 hours a week and many want to work more hours.

The government says that this is an important change that will give people with disability the security they need to test their ability to work more hours, without worrying about losing qualification for the disability pension.

It says this will encourage an estimated 4,000 DSP recipients to take up work, and an estimated 3,900 DSP recipients who are already employed to work extra hours.

In addition to these changes to the DSP, the Government says it is delivering extra support for people with disability, including more employment services and new financial incentives for employers to take on more people with disability.

The Government says it will also ensure the DSP continues to be an essential safety net for Australians who are unable to work.

The Bill also introduces new rules from 1 July that allow DSP recipients who have a severe and permanent disability and no future work capacity to travel overseas for more than 13 weeks while retaining access to their pension.


  • Anonymous says:

    The government has done something here that depends to a large extent on the willingness of the employer community to participate. People with a disability (like myself) may want to work more than 15 hrs, so that reform is good. Getting an employer to hire a PWD remains the problem.

    1- I worked for a federal governemnt agency that claimed they could not provide reasonable accommodations because it would take too long. they did not try to provide them, just said they cant.

    Obviously i no longer work there and am apparently being assisted by a job network provider who says “we can’t do anything for people at your skill level, but we can help you get a call centre job”.

    2- An advertised job with Legal Aid Victoria includes the statement “we will provide reasonable accommodations where possible”. ? nice, this where possible reflects the Federal departments view it seems, but is a new definition that is not included the Disability Discrimination Act (Cth).

    3- A County Court (Vic)Judges associate job requires the applicant to have a drivers license. Clearly even the Court recruiters (department of justice HR) can’t get the concept of inherent requirements of a job or even the reasonable adjustments provisions.

    4- Government agencies more and more are using recruitment firms that filter peope out. As these people do not offer a job, and because of this, the extent and reach of the legal protections afforded people with a disability when looking for employment are equally filterd by the person reading applications (ie- their is no legal protection by the Equal Oppertunity Act 2010 Vic).

    To press the point a little further, I met Mr Bill shorten at an equity law conference last July. I had interacted with him previously and we discussed the state of affairs with regard to Federal and State governments employing people with a disability. his aproximation was that 3% of the governemnt positions are filled with people identifying as having a disability.

    Confused at this staggeringly low figure, I suggested the government needed to take a leadership role in employing people with a disability, particularly since the AFL and Telstra came to the same conference to anounce their initiatives.

    Mr Shorten’s comment was “it’s not the governments responsibility, why don’t you do something about it?”. My understanding is that this was recorded on video… I take this oppertunity to thank the next prime ministerial candidate and ex-minister for disability.

    What this all amounts to is the government saying, not dooing. how long before it will be a requirement that DSP recipients are made to work this additional time? all while they themselves are actually, in some cases, actively discriminating against people with a disability. How then can the government expect the corporate/business community to act in accordence with legislation they don’t?

    i invite you to verify this information yourself by searching for a few governemnt jobs or websites. I also note, the reforms are a good thng, just not the quick fix approach to addressing only 1 part of the provlem.


  • William Black says:

    Im on a disability pension at 40 years of age. I want to work, found some part time work. I went to a disability employment provider for assistance. What do I get? Nothing but heart ache and arguments, Why? Because they have stated there is no money for them to help me. I have taken it up with the Minister several times and all she does is passes it on to Deweer whom confirm, THERE IS NO FUNDING TO HELP ME. I have gone back and asked Elliss’s office a few more time to please provide me with detail showing exactly what assistance is available to disable pensioners. Guess what? It never gets answered. I ring them again and they said it has been passed onto Deweer again. They again get back to me and tell me the same thing, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE FUNDING TO HELP ME. I ask them to put it in writing and they refuse. I do 8 hours a week and im now forced to give it up because I just can’t afford to keep going doing it and trying to rehab my self at the same time. Ive given up, I will sit back on the pension now till I die.

  • I went to CRS because I am on the DSP and adjusting to living with bipolar disorder. At the initial interview the lady was peachy, keen to get me working and sugesting they would provide training if required.
    My next interview was with a real piece of work, I told him I wanted an entry level job in banking he retorts back with “i could want to be the CEO of Macquarie bank but we have to be realistic here” then he tells me to get a job as a cleaner, it will be good because I can get some money, mind you, I am studying my bachelor of business and my grades are quite well, and no offense to tellers but it is the most basic position, however I would of been happy with it for the time being.
    I had another job network place do the same thing as well, basically if you have a mental disorder get a job as a cleaner or handing out leaflets because thats all you are good for. These are government funded agencies too mind you.
    State Government is a joke too, discussing working with my psychiatrist and social worker and told them I am optimistic and it is in employers benifits to employ me because of grants they can access and they look at me with no idea of what I am talking about, I had to explain it and still they were unsure and had not heard of this, these are people with doctorates and specialists in the field suposidly.

    Jokes on them, I dropped my meds, got a cash job where I make $1400 a week in the hand for a full week and I still get the pension. I really cant feel an ounce of remorse, basically the experts gave up on me, did not care and would not give a bit of help.

    If you think the government is there to help you, then you are a fool and will get punished day by day. I found out either you are getting pumped or doing the pumping, id rather pump everyone haha.

    • michelle says:

      Wouldnt you lose your DSP if you working fulltime and earning that amount? Working more than 15 hrs pw would mean u are no longer eligible…as the requirements for you being granted it in the firsr place is an inability to work more than 15hours per week for the next 2 years. Am i missing something here? Im genuinely interested as i am on dsp and looking for employment

  • Anonymous says:

    I suffer from heart disease and fighting against cancer, and I can’t work much anyway..walking buggers me up after 50 yards

  • Karyn says:

    I am on Disability Support Pension. The reality is that the Australian Government cannot financially support everyone who receives this benefit. And individuals like myself who have no capacity to work cannot depend on just this Centrelink benefit alone paid fortnightly. I experience this as living in poverty and I am financially destitute. The Australian Government wants people who are on benefits to stop being on the benefit and go out and work; because the government is struggling to support pensioners. The benefit system is failing as it cannot cope with such a large responsibility. The bottom lineis get a job any kind of a job because the Australian government does not want to supyport people. They will do anything they can or find any excuse or reason not to give you any kind of benefit. If the Australian Goverment can find that any pensioner can be take off the benefit – they will do just that no matter how severe your disability is. The Australian Government does have the power to do anything it wants to with the plight of pensioners. We live on poverty line and both the pensioners and the Australian benefit system are struggling to support them selves. The government wants to eliviate this struggle by getting people back to work. The government needs money to spend on people to find them jobs through employment agencies. Of course if Centrelink do not find you feasible to spend money on you to help you get a job than they will not approve you for employment assistance. Centrelink willnot investmoney for individuals who are not promising or show little capacity for employment. You will need to ask Centrelink for a Referral to their Employment Agencies to help you geta job. You need to be a customer of Centrelink to do this though. I hope the pensioner situation improves for everyone.

    • Eugenio P. says:

      Could you imagine if the Australian Government stopped paying out DSP, how many jobs would be lost, how much taxs would be lost, how many people would take to unemployment benefit from such an action. It’s obvious that the unemployed, those on DSP etc… create jobs and income for the Government. The Australian Government is NOT struggling, it is just always in a transition phase that they find opportunistic to complain about…The problem is that there is too much corruption, especially in Government appointed service contractors, especially Job Network providers etc…

      Take for example the FACS housing crisis. Government can easily borrow against existing owned properties and build new ones, and it would not cost a cent. The truth is that we are just pawns in their game of chess, and they use our statistics to line the pockets of unethical people. Back when John Howard was prime minister, the FACS housing system received 400 million dollars in assistance to build additional housing. Not one cent went into building housing, most of it was absorbed by the administration as “management costs”. Big Charities do the same thing with donations. Hardly any of the money reaches those people it was intended for.

  • Michelle Cannon says:

    I am on disability and im bloody grateful there is one to be had. If we were in another country we would be totally stoofed.
    I do bits and pieces and work when i can. I feel sorry for myself amd wish i was well. But its noones fault. Its so easy to get i to the blaming the governmemt. I know theyre arseholes sometimes but we are bloody lucky.

    • Eugenio P. says:

      We are not exactly lucky my friend. Australians work bloody hard to keep what we have and to build new. At the very least we should be proud of what we have accomplished. I don’t think luck has anything to do with it. Back around 1987, a huge asteroid crossed Earth’s orbit path where the Earth had been in space only hours earlier. If it would have hit Earth it would have been finito la fiesta! Nothing was said until after the fact. Now that’s LUCK!!!! Totally natural and out of our control. Human engineered situations don’t have the luxury of blaming luck. Corruption is a big problem though…


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