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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2014-15

Budget 2014-15
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2014-15

Changes to the Disability Support Pension

The Government is changing the DSP to encourage people with a disability to participate in the workforce

We want to support those who most need assistance, but we also want to be a Government that helps people work. That's why we're making some changes to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). Currently, over 800,000 Australians are on the DSP. Australia has lower rates of workforce participation among people with disability than other OECD countries.

Expenditure on DSP is currently more than $16 billion per year, and is projected to grow by 27 per cent by the end of the decade. To improve the sustainability of the DSP, the Government is announcing reforms to encourage people with disability to participate in the workforce where they have capacity to work. The reforms will help target the DSP to those most in need.

Review of DSP recipients

Some DSP recipients aged under 35 who were previously granted DSP between 2008 and 2011 will now be assessed under the current DSP Impairment Tables. People with a severe or manifest disability will not be reassessed.

People who have some capacity to work now or in the future will be helped to do this through programmes, services and activities.

Compulsory activities for recipients, aged under 35

The Government wants to ensure that people with some work capacity are supported to take steps to seek employment.

Under this reform, recipients under 35 will have a participation plan which includes activities that will genuinely assist in labour market participation. These activities could include Work for the Dole, job search, work experience, education and training, and connection with Disability Employment Services.

New portability requirements

The Government is tightening DSP portability requirements, but DSP recipients will still be able to leave Australia for up to four weeks in a 12 month period and be paid DSP while overseas.

Some exceptions will remain, such as for terminally ill people and those assessed as having a severe impairment.

Growth in DSP recipients since 2004
This chart shows the movement in numbers of Disability Support Pension recipients from 2004 to 2013.  Broadly, the number has increased steadily over time.  In 2004 there were around 659,000 recipients, which increased to a peak of around 827,000 in 2012.

Disability Employment Services

The Government will continue to provide employment support to people with disability through Disability Employment Services, which offer a range of services including helping people with disability to prepare for work, providing job search support and providing support once placed into a job.