Media Alert: Disability Advocates To Condemn Widespread Failings Of Disability Support Pension At Parliamentary Inquiry

Today representatives from People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and the Antipoverty Centre will be giving evidence at a federal parliamentary inquiry to detail how the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is failing people with disability.
PWDA Senior Manager of Policy Giancarlo de Vera will outline a range of issues raised in two recent submissions made by PWDA and the Antipoverty Centre to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the Disability Support Pension.

270 community members shared their stories with us for this inquiry and their voices are included in the submissions.

  • Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
  • Monday 6 September 2021, 11.30am – 1:00pm AEST
  • Watch Here


Over the past decade successive changes from both Labor and Coalition governments have made the DSP harder to access and less supportive. As a result, the number of people receiving the DSP has dropped dramatically. The design of the DSP and the income support system more broadly means that people with disability are being hurt and killed by poverty, dangerous mutual obligations, and unsuitable jobs we are forced to take under threat of losing our social security payments.

The Government has designed the DSP to coerce people with disability into work. It should not be used as an unemployment payment for people with disability. It should instead provide a lifelong guaranteed income that ensures day-to-day costs are met, and that our living standards are not eroded through a lifetime of living at or below the poverty line. It must act as a gateway to greater supports.

People with disability in Australia experience extraordinary rates of poverty. 38% per cent of people with disability 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]

The primary purpose of the DSP must be to ensure that all people with disability in Australia have the financial capacity to meet our needs and be supported to fully participate in society on an equal basis; and to do so, to the greatest extent possible, in the way we choose. It must uphold our rights as people with disability.

[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

Media enquires:

People with Disability Australia
Media and Communications | 0491 034 479

Research and Policy at the Antipoverty Centre
Kristin O’Connell | +61 413 261 362