In Our Own Words: Submission To The Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension.

PWDA also made a submission to the Department of Social Services’ Review of the Disability Support Pension Impairment Tables which can be found here.

The supports made available to people with disability in this country are bare and being stripped back. This does not have to be the case. It is a choice. Australia’s social security system should be designed to ensure that every person who relies on it is supported to advance their life. Currently, the Disability Support Pension (DSP) does not do this. Instead it is part of a structure that actively disables us further.

People with disability in this country experience extraordinary rates of poverty. 38% per cent of us have an income of less than $384 per week, which is about 33% below the poverty line. About 42% of working age people with disability rely on a government payment as our main source of income, compared to 8% of those without disability. [1]

Like all social security payments, the DSP should guarantee that every person with disability is protected by a genuinely safe safety net, and not excluded or penalised. The system of income support payments needs to be part of a much broader ecosystem of supports to address the higher rates of poverty and social and economic exclusion we experience.

PWDA’s recommendations to ensure the DSP is a gateway to greater support can be found in the position statement below.

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Data tables: Income supplementary data tables’, People with disability in Australia, 2 October 2020,, accessed 12 August 2021