Fast-tracking Disability Support Pension claims for severe disability and cancer
As part of the Australian Government’s package of Disability Support Pension (DSP) reforms, more people with a severe and profound permanent disability will be granted the payment more quickly.
The DSP is an essential element of Australia’s safety net and it is vital that it supports the people who need it – those Australians who, through no fault of their own, are unable to work to fully support themselves.
People with severe and profound disability should not be made to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops in order to qualify for the payment.
The changes will cut bureaucracy and remove the requirement for referral to a Job Capacity Assessment in more cases of severe and profound disability.
From 1 July 2010, DSP assessment will be simplified to fast-track more claimants who are clearly or manifestly eligible due to a catastrophic, severe congenital disability or cancer, so they can receive financial support more quickly.
Under the new arrangements, Centrelink will check the claimant’s medical report to see whether the person can be granted on the basis of diagnosis alone. In cases where the prognosis is unclear, Centrelink will contact the claimant’s treating doctor and/or the new Centrelink Health Professional Advice Unit to discuss the person’s condition, treatment regime and likely prognosis.
Where the person is clearly eligible for DSP, Centrelink will grant the payment without the claimant undergoing a rigorous Job Capacity Assessment.
This measure will help cut red tape for people with a severe disability, or who have been diagnosed with certain cancers who are clearly eligible, so they can receive financial support more quickly.
Currently there are a limited number of circumstances where the DSP can be granted on the basis of diagnosis alone, without the Job Capacity Assessment.
These are known as manifest grants of DSP, and include situations where a person has been diagnosed with:
- a terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than two years
- permanent blindness
- severe intellectual disability
- severe disability that requires high level daily care
- category 4 HIV/AIDS
With the help of expert professionals, the Government has developed a further list (list one) of conditions such as rare diseases, neurodegenerative conditions and cancers which will be eligible for the DSP on the basis of diagnosis alone, such as:
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- small cell cancer of the large intestine, prostate, lung, uterus and ovary
- liver cancer
- Angelman syndrome (a neurological disorder that causes severe learning difficulties)
- Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (a catastrophic disease characterised by neurological dysfunction and cognitive and behavioural disturbances)
The Government has also developed a second list (list two) of medical conditions which may, upon further investigation, be terminal or catastrophic, such as:
- Rett syndrome (a neurodevelopmental disorder involving severe intellectual and physical disability)
- chronic lung disease
- bone cancer
Centrelink will contact the claimant’s treating doctor and/or the new Centrelink Health Professional Advice Unit to discuss the person’s condition, treatment regime and likely prognosis.
These new arrangements will help respond to the 2009 report from the Commonwealth Ombudsman: Assessment of Claims for Disability Support Pension from people with acute or terminal illness.
For medical conditions on the lists please visit Fast-Tracking Disability Support Pension Claims for People with Profound Disability or Terminal Illness.