to be reassessed by an independent doctor to see if they are still eligible. Reassessment would not apply to everyone on the DSP, but would be targeted to people who have been assessed as eligible over the past couple of years. It is still unclear to what year the reassessments would be backdated.
We know this announcement has caused alarm among people with disability and their families, and many members and supporters are contacting PWDA about their concerns. For many people with disability in receipt of the DSP, reassessment will mean being forced onto the lower Newstart payment which is around $160 less.
PWDA is strongly opposed to reassessments of people who have already been assessed as eligible for the DSP, and
believes that no one should be forced off the DSP and onto Newstart
. As PWDA President, Craig Wallace has stated, "Moving people with disability onto Newstart and lower payments signals a move into poverty and only makes it more difficult for people with disability to stabilise their lives and engage in work, training and volunteering. It means making impossible choices between paying rent, electricity, medication or food, or having to choose between essential disability support and equipment. We note that people with psychosocial and episodic disability will be especially vulnerable to these changes.”
PWDA calls for an open and transparent welfare reform process
. "It is a worry to me," said Mr Wallace, "that the Government seems to be conducting reform discussions around the DSP in an ad hoc way, which is the opposite of the approach people with disability were promised after the September election. The McClure Review on welfare is still ongoing and there is yet to be a public consultation or public submission process. There needs to be a more evidence based discussion that includes public hearings and forums for people who are on the DSP to participate in the debate."
PWDA conducted its own member and supporters consultation on income support on 8 February 2014
, which was provided to the McClure Review Panel. The views expressed in this forum underpin our position on meaningful employment, poverty eradication and the retention of a fair safety net
for people with disability.
The Government says that its plan to reassess people who are already on the pension aims to encourage people who can work to be able to get jobs. PWDA disagrees.
We seek to work in partnership with the Government to address the issue of economic participation for people with disability
. “We want a fresh start on jobs using the ideas in PWDA’s Get Real on Jobs policy position
, rather than attacks on people on the DSP," says Mr Wallace.