Any news-following person with a disability must cringe every time the Disability Support Pension is mentioned in the mainstream media. Sadly today is no exception.
The Brisbane Times (amongst many others) states the first report of the McClure review was officially released today, suggesting the current system could be streamlined from 75 different payments to just four.
It also suggested the Disability Support Pension be restricted to only people with a permanent disability (we thought it basically did that already).
The Brisbane Times reports:
A key suggestion of the 171-page report is that the Disability Support Pension should only only be people with a permanent impairment and no capacity to work. (emphasis ours)
It adds that “people with disability who have current or future capacity to work could be assisted through the tiered working age payment to better reflect different work capacities”.
The above “no capacity to work” statement is particularly concerning because, regardless of previous work history or theoretical capacity, people with a profound disability also have profound levels of out-of-pocket expenses. Those costs are what the Disability Support Pension is meant to address.
The second quote about assisting people with “capacity” through the “tiered working age payment” sounds like a lot more people in genuine need will be moved to inappropriate and unfair payments.
A final quote:
“I am sick of opening the Sunday paper every week and seeing Mr Andrews demonising disabled people,” Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen told ABC’s Insiders program.
So are we, Mr Bowen, so are we…