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To: Scott Morrison
Align both Disability Support Pensions
The disability support pension (DSP) is a minimal payment made by the Australian government to persons who have a permanent disability. It is often also necessary to supplement this income by working in paid employment to ensure economic security as well as physical and mental health benefits.
However, there are 2 distinct categories of DSP payments. There is a standard DSP, and then there’s another category for people who are legally blind. This second category was introduced in 1952 and has NOT been afforded to all DSP recipients. The difference is that legally blind recipients have no income or asset test applied and as such get to keep their entire wage.
The standard DSP effectively puts a ceiling on the amount earned, meaning there’s little incentive to gain employment for a disabled person. Disabled workers are also often restricted to only work part-time due to limitations of their disability, further limiting their earning capacity.
This disparity is discriminatory, demeaning and divisive. That's why we're calling on Scott Morrison to increase the standard disability support payment to align with the ‘legally blind’ category immediately.
Why is this important?
Standard DSP only has a $174 per fortnight allowance for earning beyond the DSP payment. For every dollar after that, the recipient loses 50c in every $1.
The effect of this is to reduce the hourly wage in earnings to around $10 per hour.
This legislation, which creates a two class disability payment system, is discriminatory. We need to join together and demand that the Government provide all DSP recipients with the same level of benefits. This must be addressed immediately.
If you also want a copy and paste letter to forward to your local minister, please feel free to use the following…
To minister <name>,
I have recently become aware of an unfair and unjust practice of the Australian government paying 2 different disability support payments (DSP).
The standard DSP is income and asset tested and restricts recipients to being renumerated for their employment to around $10 gross/hour maximum. The second category is reserved for those classified as ‘legally blind’. As this payment has no income or asset restriction, all money earned from employment is retained.
As disabled people face enormous struggles in their day to day life, whether their particular disability is legal blindness, or some other disability type, all should have the same set of access to a fair pay for work undertaken.
As a society we have long ago moved toward equity and as such all should be granted the second DSP.
This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.