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Wednesday, 24 November 1965

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - My colleague, the Postmaster-General, has already referred to the employment within the Post Office of persons who are subject to epileptic fits. Within private industry, quite a number of such persons have been placed through the Commonwealth rehabilitation service. For the 12 months ended 30th June 1965, 44 persons who were subject to epilepsy were retrained and readmitted to employment. Many of these unfortunate people, due to the advances made by medical science. can now be helped. Epilepsy is a complaint about which far more is now known and it is possible to prescribe treatment. Consequently, epilepsy need no longer prevent a person from entering employment.

As to the eligibility of sufferers from epilepsy for social service benefits, the basic requirement for eligibility for the invalid pension is that a person shall be incapacitated to the extent of 85 per cent, of the norm for the particular type of work in which he engages. As it is practicable in most instances to train persons subject to epilepsy so that they have a lesser degree of incapacity, it has been possible to bring such persons into the work force rather than put them permanently on the invalid pension. It is hoped that, through the Commonwealth rehabilitation service, more of these people will be able to enter the work force in the future.

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