Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

No Threat to Disability Pension

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today reassured people who receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP) that their payments were not under threat by the proposed Job Network pilot.

Senator Patterson said the pilot, which is completely voluntary, would simply provide the opportunity for those people on the pension who have the capacity to work to get into the workforce.

“Volunteering to be a part of this pilot does not mean people will not be eligible for DSP. People will continue to receive their DSP while they are being assisted to find employment.

“People receiving the DSP have to earn more that $633.25 per week, or need to be able to work over 30 hours per week at full award wages before they lose their payments.

“Therefore, it is unlikely that even those people who do find work will lose their full pension. Those working part time may receive a reduced payment, but, importantly, retain their Pension Concession Card and all the concessions associated with it.

“A person will still keep their concession card even if they receive one dollar of DSP, and can still keep their card for an extra 12 months if their DSP stops because they earn over the allowable limit.

“I also want to reassure people who take up the opportunity to work that if their pension is suspended and they have to leave work, or reduce their hours because of their disability, they can easily return to the DSP if this happens within two years from when their payments stopped.”

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government was keen to encourage people with disabilities to participate actively as much as they are able, this included both in work and in their community. The pilot would give the Job Network providers an extra incentive to help people to find a job.

“Too often, people with disabilities face a number of barriers to gaining work – this is a positive move to remove those barriers. The Australian Government is keen to help people on the DSP to voluntarily participate in work and the community to the extent that they are able,” she said.

“The Australian Government funds a range of programs to assist people with disabilities to participate, including disability employment assistance services, vocational rehabilitation, the Personal Support Program and Job Network.

“This Government wants to give Australians the opportunity to reach their full potential. If this pilot provides people with disabilities the chance to get a job it will have a positive impact on the individual, their family and their local community.”