Impairment Tables Impair Our Access to Supports: Submission To The Department of Social Services

30 August 2021

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) made a submission to the Department of Social Services’ Review of the Disability Support Pension Impairment Tables.

PWDA also made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension which can be found here.

Changes introduced to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) from 2011 were made to focus on a person’s capacity to work, reducing the significance of our condition in the assessment process and diminishing our value to our productive potential in the workforce, rather than people who deserve care and support.

There are hundreds of thousands of people with disability on unemployment payments, and countless others on low incomes who don’t receive government support at all.

The application process for the Disability Support Pension (DSP), and the
impairment tables specifically, works in concert with extraordinary cost barriers to getting the right paperwork to lock us out of the system the community believes is there to help us.

Changes made to the impairment tables since their introduction have seen the nature of the DSP change to be a strictly targeted payment for those who are completely excluded from the mainstream workforce, rather than a universal payment to assist any people with disability who need it by providing extra support to help manage our life and health needs.

The impairment tables in their current form actively deter people from applying for the DSP, and exclude many who do apply, and clearly need support, for the simple reason that our disabilities fit in the “wrong” table or do not tick the “correct” box.

The impairment tables must be abolished so the DSP can be a gateway to greater support, guarantee that every person with disability is protected by a genuinely safe safety net, and not excluded or penalised.

Further information on PWDA’s recommendations can be found in the position statement below.