Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Do You Know Someone Who Is Faking A Disability To Receive Financial Benefits?

11 Nov 2010An article in the Australian, has brought up a very interesting point that I would like to share.

Due to reports, it has been documented that apparently, more Australians are unable to work due to disabilities now, more than ever. There are over 770,000 Australians receiving the Disability Support Pension.

Statistics show that as a nation, Australia has become healthier over the years and we are living happier, longer lives. Despite this, since 1980, the amount of Australians who are on the DSP has risen from one in 40, to one in 20. It seems that it is getting easier for people to be placed on the DSP.

And instead of helping those who have been injured or are suffering from mild or short term disabilities to return to work, they are just getting tax payers money thrown at them. When the amount of jobs goes down, the claims for the DSP goes up. A lot of people with disabilities can work just as well as the next person, but while they are receiving benefits, they don’t have enough encouragement to get back into or join the workforce.

The article mentions that according to a new study by Hugo Benitez-Silva, there is nothing to differentiate between "health disability" and "work disability". It’s explained as; while health disability tends to be a steady, predictable and measurable state, work disability fluctuates with changes in the job market, and community and employer attitudes towards people with a disability in the workplace.

In my experience from working with NOVA Employment, I have come across many potential jobseekers who, when asked what their barrier to employment is, (barrier being something that makes it more difficult for them with their disability compared to someone without a disability to find employment without assistance), they often tell me that they don’t have any barriers. To me, this shows that the majority of these people, are quite capable of looking for a job themselves, and have no need to be receiving hand outs from taxpayers in the way of the DSP and making it more difficult for those who do truly need financial assistance from the Government.

Personally, I have been on the DSP for 10 years now, and I have always worked, regardless of having what would be categorized as a severe disability. Despite this, I have been occasionally asked to prove the status of my disability to Centrelink. I believe this is because there are too many people falsely claiming that they are disabled.

Whilst people are receiving disability benefits from the Government, most recipients are allowed to work up to 15 hours a week and still receive payments, but if they go over this, their payments are cut. I think that this is another cause of why people aren’t getting off the pension and getting a job. They are too scared to lose their financial security blanket. I can relate to this feeling, I have only ever worked part time, in fear of not having my ‘benefits’ to back me up if I need them.

Now that I have a partner that I am living with, we are almost over the maximum amount of what can be earned between us whilst I receive part of the DSP. My partner is about to go full time, when this happens, I will no longer be eligible for the DSP, and I can’t wait! Besides the fact that I will no longer be using up tax payers money, it will be so good to feel free and not have to rely on the Government to support me. Sure it’s scary, but I think it will be the best thing for me in the long run.

I believe everyone who can type on a computer, or talk on a phone, or follow even the simplest of instructions, should be given a fair go to work and feel as though they are contributing to society. The DSP should have stricter guidelines for recipients to qualify for it, so it leaves the benefits for those with disabilities who truly need it.

The Government needs to introduce a rewards scheme for those who get off the disability pension and into work. There are so many people out there that don’t realize that they will be better off in a job, than not working and just receiving the DSP, there needs to be more encouragement!

To view the original article from the Australian, click here - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/disability-payment-should-not-be-de-facto-dole/story-e6frg6zo-1225949634714


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Previous Comments

Martin from St Marys posted on 15 Nov 2010
Jodie - really proud that you have chosen to be part of our team and you are quite right - there's one disability that effects each person's ability to succeed and that's 'attitude' - we've never been able to get over a bad one!

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