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Tuesday, 12 October 1999
Page: 11407


Mr Latham asked the Minister representing the Minister for Family and Community Services, upon notice, on 30 June 1999:

(1) How many persons received the Disability Support Pension (DSP) in each year since 1990.

(2) What was the total cost of the DSP in each year since 1990.

(3) What are the eligibility requirements for the DSP.

(4) Do DSP entitlements differ from other forms of income support in (a) payment rates, (b) indexation arrangements, (c) taxation arrangements, (d) income and asset testing, (e) eligibility for concession cards and (f) mutual responsibility arrangements; if so, in each case, how.

(5) Are job seekers receiving DSP counted in the official unemployment figures.

(6) Do job seekers receiving DSP receive job placement training and assistance.

(7) What other measures does the Government take to ensure that persons with disabilities maximise their participation in the (a) workforce and (b) education and training system.


Mr Anthony (Community Services) —The Minister for Family and Community Services has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) and (2)

Year

DSP customer numbers at June (000's)

DSP costs $(`000) (a)

1989-90

316.7

N/A

1990-91

334.2

N/A

1991-92

378.6

N/A

1992-93

406.6

N/A

1993-94

436.2

N/A

1994-95

464.4

N/A

1995-96

499.2

N/A

1996-97

527.5

N/A

1997-98

553.3

4,599,452

1998-99

577.7

5,094,334(b)

Notes: (a) Prior to 1997-98 the cost of DSP is not available. Expenditure prior to that date was combined with Wife Pensions and Carer Pensions.

Note: Invalid Pension and Sheltered Employment Allowance were replaced by DSP from 12 November 1991.

(b) Actual expenses for period 1/7/98 to 30/6/99.

Note: the 98/99 figure relates to actual expenditure incurred during the period (accrual-based) while the 97/98 represents a cash figure paid out in that year. Therefore the two figures cannot be directly compared.

(3) Eligibility requirements for the Disability Support Pension are set out in Centrelink publications:

. Guide to Commonwealth Government Payments

. Centrelink Information—A guide to payments and services.

(4) (a), (c), (d) and (e) Yes. Differences are set out in the publications mentioned in the answer to question 3.

(4) (b) Pensions including the DSP are indexed twice yearly in line with increases in the CPI and adjustments to Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). Social security benefits are indexed twice yearly in line with movements in the CPI, or annually in the case of Youth Allowance and relevant DSP youth rates.

(4) (f) DSP is not currently subject to "mutual responsibility arrangements".

(5) DSP customers are included in the official unemployment figures where they have indicated, as part of the relevant monthly ABS survey, that they are seeking work.

(6) Job placement, training and assistance are available to DSP recipients.

(7) (a) and (b) The Government assists people with disabilities to maximise their participation in the workforce, education and training in many ways including the provision of pre-vocational assistance, rehabilitation, employment preparation, job search and placement, workplace modifications, wage subsidies and on-the-job support, the Employer Incentive Program, Mobility Allowance, the Pensioner Education Supplement and the Continence Aids Assistance Scheme.