Release type: Media Release

Date:

Helping more Australians with disability into work

New Australian Government changes that make it easier for people on a Disability Support Pension find work come into effect today.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, and the Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, welcomed the changes during a visit to the Acquired Brain Injury specialist team at the Brisbane City CRS Australia today.

Minister O’Connor said the changes removed one of the biggest disincentives for DSP recipients to enter the workforce.

“People with disability who want to work should be encouraged and supported to join the workforce,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The Rudd Government has consistently heard from people who receive a Disability Support Pension, from disability advocates and from employment and Job Capacity Assessment providers that, while there are people who want to work, they are afraid of losing access to their benefits.

Minister Ludwig said that from today, DSP recipients will only need a simple ‘pre-employment referral’ assessment to receive help to look for work.

“This is a great example of mutual obligation working – helping people who want to help themselves. It’s Labor's approach to social inclusion working in practice to improve the wellbeing and participation of some of the most marginalised in the community,” Minister Ludwig said.

This new assessment will only collect information to determine the most appropriate services for the individual. It will not affect their eligibility for DSP.

Up until today, DSP recipients who wanted to look for work automatically had their benefit reviewed, which could result in a reduction of their payments.

Today’s announcement is part of a broader Government strategy to encourage more people with disability or mental illness into employment.

The Government is currently developing a National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy.

It will outline clear and practical steps the Government can take to overcome the barriers that make it harder for people with disability and mental illness to gain and keep work.