Media Release by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Disability support payment rules tighten

Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison announced the number of people being granted a Disability Support Pension (DSP) has now dropped below the levels experienced under Labor, with application rejection rates at the highest level in more than a decade.

“The Abbott Government is serious about ensuring the integrity of our welfare safety net. This means ensuring it is focused on those most in need of support, while cracking down on those who want to game the system,” Minister Morrison said.

“Last financial year, there were 41,832 applicants granted a DSP, compared to Labor’s peak of 91,131 grants, in 2009-10.

“Under the Labor government the grant rate for the payments spiked to 64.5 per cent in 2008-09, on average more than 7,000 a month. Under the Coalition government the approval rate in 2014-15 has dropped to 36.9 per cent, which is on average less than 4,000 a month.

“The DSP is not a set and forget payment, and we have tightened compliance and enforcement measures so taxpayers can have greater confidence in our welfare safety net. More than eight of ten income taxpayers are needed to pay for our annual social services bill. The contribution of these taxpayers must be respected by ensuring that welfare system focuses on those most in need.

“As part of the suite of measures applied to the DSP, applicants are now required to have their claims assessed by a Government Contracted Doctor.

“Further, the total number of recipients claiming the DSP has fallen from 827,460 in 2011-12 to 814,391 last financial year.

“We are aware that people’s conditions can change over time and as such reviews are being conducted.

“The DSP payments cost taxpayers $17 billion annually and this measure will provide an additional level of assurance to the DSP claim process.

“The requirement for a Commonwealth doctor to assess DSP claims has been in place since January this year for applicants under 35 and living in capital cities, and is now being rolled out to all applicants.

“Treating Doctor’s Reports will no longer be required for new DSP claims.

“The Abbott Government is committed to getting our welfare budget under control, by reigning in the expansion of the welfare system that occurred under previous Governments to ensure we have a sustainable safety net for the future,” Minister Morrison said.

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