Disability pension claimants must be treated with dignity, says rights commissioner


DSP requests have been rejected at much higher rates than other government payments in recent years, with 59% of requests denied in 2020-2021.

The survey also heard concerns about applicants plunged into poverty with much lower payments with job search requirements, forced to drain their retirement pensions to survive financially, and that ministries do not understand the nature handicap complex.

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Dr Gauntlett said on Monday there had to be an “appreciation of respect for the human rights” of DSP candidates, especially those of certain population cohorts.

“[We need to make] ensure that the tests are of a non-discriminatory nature and take into account elements such as when individuals are culturally and linguistically diverse or come from remote areas … and that arrangements are made for people with a psychosocial disability or an impairment underlying intellectual rights are treated with dignity and respect throughout the process, ”he said.

The DSP offers up to $ 868.30 per fortnight to a person if “a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment” prevents them from working more than 15 hours per week.

Applicants must assemble many pages of medical evidence, which can be expensive and costly, and prove that their condition is “fully diagnosed, treated and stabilized” – a prerequisite that may prevent people with conditions such as cancer from ” access payment.

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Department of Social Services spokesman Troy Sloan said during Monday’s hearing that he understands those found ineligible for DSP would likely be frustrated with the system.

“But there has to be a process to determine eligibility. We try to make it as simple as possible, but it still has to be very rigorous,” he said.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said last week that there were “other arrangements” within the welfare system to support people who do not meet PSD requirements.

“Magic six languages”

Advocates for culturally and linguistically diverse people with disabilities have told hearing people that people from multicultural backgrounds may find it particularly difficult to navigate the system.

“Asking for the DSP is very difficult for our people with disabilities of various cultures and languages, as they may not understand the type of doctor’s report and the information they are required to collect,” said Siyat Abdi, lawyer at Kin, formerly the Center for the Defense of Ethnic Handicapped People.

Residence conditions also affect people from CALD, according to the survey.

To gain access to the DSP, applicants must have been Australian residents for at least 10 consecutive years, or a total of 10 years without interruption of residence for five of those years.

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Dr Abdi said Kin would like to see this aspect changed, “so as not to expose [migrants] to vulnerability and financial hardship.

“This was actually a very serious situation during COVID where migrants who have to wait 10 years were not given any consideration. We see this as one aspect of discrimination.

Under another residency rule, a DSP recipient’s payments will stop if they leave Australia for more than four weeks.

“You can only leave for a certain number of weeks, you cannot live abroad and there are other issues around that which prevent CALD people from maintaining close and important relationships within their family. and their extended family, ”said National Dwayne Cranfield, CEO of the Ethnic Disability Alliance.

Mr Cranfeld also told the hearing that NEDA was concerned about the lack of data and awareness for emerging CALD communities in Australia, given the “over-reliance” on resources in the “six magic languages ​​that ministries want. To do”.

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“There will be Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese… but the reality is that a lot of people who needed translations into Greek, they all speak English now,” he said.

“We have to do things in Farsi. We have to do things in Urdu. This is what we need to examine. Diversity has changed in this country.

Services Australia spokesperson Brendan Moon said the language services provided by the origin were “fairly decent”.

“We have a fairly strong network of interpreters available in the organization,” he said. “In terms of translation for the general public, it’s a really solid, mature and well-established service. I understand that there are less common languages ​​which can be somewhat difficult.

Mr Moon said Services Australia captures a range of CALD-related information from applicants including whether someone needs an interpreter, preferred spoken and written languages, country of birth, citizenship and others. countries in which he lived.


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