Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting people with a disability to find work

From today, Australians with disability will receive even greater support from the Australian Government to find and keep a job.

All Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients will be able to work up to 30 hours a week without their payment being suspended or cancelled, subject to an income test.

This means that people granted DSP on or after 11 May 2005 will now be able to work the same number of hours as people granted the DSP before this date.

This important change will give people with disability the security they need to test their ability to work more hours, without worrying about losing qualification for the disability pension.

It will encourage an estimated 4,000 DSP recipients to get a job, and an estimated 3,900 DSP recipients who are already employed to work extra hours.

Also, for the first time DSP recipients aged under 35 years with some capacity to work will be required to attend regular participation interviews with Centrelink to develop participation plans, to help build their capacity and overcome barriers to work.

These plans will help people improve job readiness, search for employment, get training, volunteer or undertake rehabilitation.

The Australian Government believes we can do better than a lifetime spent on income support for Australians who have some capacity to work.

We know that a job provides more than just a pay packet-it gives people dignity and purpose, provides security for the future and connects people to their community.

That’s why we are providing financial incentives to businesses to make it easier for to employ people with disability.

The $2,000 Supported Wage System Employer Payment will be available to eligible employers after they have employed a person with disability for a minimum of 15 hours a week over six months.

These measures complement the new and improved Impairment Tables that were introduced earlier this year, which focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t do, when they apply for the DSP.

Today we are also introducing more generous rules that allow DSP recipients who have a severe impairment and no future work capacity to travel overseas for more than 13 weeks while keeping access to their pension.

The Government will ensure the DSP continues to be an essential safety net for Australians who are unable to work.