The Australian Government is implementing improved assessment processes for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) as part of the DSP Better and Fairer Assessments 2009-10 Budget Measure.
The DSP Better and Fairer Assessments Measure includes:
- improvements to DSP assessments to fast track decisions for claimants who are clearly or manifestly eligible;
- a review of the Impairment Tables;
- enhanced Job Capacity Assessments undertaken by suitably qualified DSP assessors;
- a new Health Professional Advice Unit in Centrelink;
- improved information on employment assistance for people receiving DSP; and
- a workforce re-engagement contact pilot.
From 1 July 2010, the DSP assessment process was simplified to fast-track decisions for claimants who are clearly, or manifestly eligible due to a congenital disability, catastrophic injury or illness. This will help them receive financial support more quickly.
People who claim DSP will have their work capacity assessed by a suitably qualified DSP Assessor. DSP Assessors will have access to clearer guidelines on the assessment of work capacity. In determining a claimant’s current work capacity, DSP Assessors will take into account a person’s prior work history, their previous access to employment services, and their treating doctor’s report as well as any other available medical evidence.
In complex cases a new Health Professional Advice Unit (HPAU) in Centrelink may provide medical advice to DSP Assessors.
There will always be some people on DSP who are unable to work. However others may have a partial capacity to work, or to be reskilled to help them get work in a different field. DSP recipients will be provided with information about the range of Government programs available to support people with disability prepare for, find and maintain employment.
Centrelink is conducting a voluntary workforce re-engagement contact pilot in selected areas over a three year period. The pilot targets new DSP recipients when they are first granted DSP, again at three months and after 12 months. Pilot participants are provided with information on the assistance and incentives available to help those who may be able to work.
Centrelink is writing to people who receive DSP and who are working to provide information on the Government programs and services available that may help them at some time. These include the Job in Jeopardy Assistance and an Employment Assistance Fund which can help people who have difficulty staying at work because of their disability.
The Government is updating the Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension, to make sure they are consistent with contemporary medical and rehabilitation practice. More information on the Impairment Tables review is available on this website.
A factsheet on the HPAU is available on the Centrelink website.
Other factsheets can be found at Disability Support Pension factsheets.