Kymberly Martin

Call for review of Disability Support Pension

Disability advocates and researchers are calling for urgent reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) with a new report showing people with disability spend $107 a week more on basic living costs, such as transport and healthcare, than Australians without disability.

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The NATSEM report into the standard of living for people with disability is one of three new studies by Australian universities that will be launched at Parliament House today to highlight the economic and health impacts of disability, particularly for Indigenous Australians.

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, (AFDO) and its partners are concerned that successive governments have made meeting the eligibility threshold so burdensome and difficult that many people with disability, who may have been eligible in the past, can no longer access the DSP.

More than 200,000 Australians with disability now receiving the lower Newstart allowance and tens of thousands of people are not receiving any support at all.

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The NATSEM report also found that found that to close the gap in household income to provide the same standard of living, families already receiving the DSP would need $183 more per week on average, and $343 for 200,000 people with disability receiving Newstart. Also, if the government spent an additional $3.1 billion a year on the DSP then the gap in the standard of living of households already on the DSP would nearly halve.

AFDO CEO, Ross Joyce said the financial cost of living with disability and the declining access to the DSP is causing significant economic, social, psychological stress and unnecessary hardship for people with disability. “There are a lot of additional costs of living with disability including accessible housing, transport and access to health services. These costs are particularly acute for people with disability living in regional and remote areas of Australia,” Joyce said.

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