“There has been a sharp decline in people applying for and being approved for the disability support pension Estimates has revealed.
“In 2012 the Labor Government reduced the number of people able to access the support, introducing changes to the eligibility criteria and forcing people to prove they can’t find work for 18 months.
“In 2015 the Abbott Government announced they would be reviewing DSP recipients under 35 and then started on those over 35.
“In 2016 the Coalition announced a further 90,000 medical reviews of existing recipients over three years, today we have heard at Estimates that process has been cancelled.
“I have been pursuing this punitive approach over a series of estimates and I’m glad to see that following a review of this process it has been cancelled” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said today.
“Here we are seeing the impacts of punitive policy approaches of the major parties to disabled people in our community.
“The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report released in February examined the factors underlying a recent decline in DSP expenditure, with new DSP participants declining from almost 89,000 in 2009-10 to around 32,000 in 2016-17.
“The report found that the tougher eligibility requirements introduced by the Gillard government in 2012 led to the decline.
“People whose conditions have not “stabilised” or who don’t meet the stricter eligibility criteria will be most likely be condemned to the lower Newstart payment. So here we have people with disability, needing medical treatments and support living on payments as low as $38 a day.
“This is major parties policies making savings out of those trying to access our social safety net."
Figures of those applying and who have been approved below.
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180