People with disability who receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP) urgently need access to the increased Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight, consistent with the Jobseeker Payment and other payments recently announced.
People with disability who are in receipt of DSP are experiencing and facing additional, unforeseen costs in this time of crisis, which is causing significant levels of distress and anxiety, and only serving to further entrench DSP recipients into poverty.
It is well recognised that 50% of people with disability already live in poverty so additional costs at this time are ‘tipping people with disability over the edge.’
Currently, less than 10% of the population of people with disability in Australia are supported by the NDIS and are therefore unable to access and pay for the additional supports and services they may require during this unprecedented crisis.
Our organisations are receiving large volumes of calls and contacts from people with disability who are confused and distressed by the exclusion of DSP recipients from the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight.
We urgently ask that the Australian Government act swiftly to include DSP recipients in the Coronavirus Supplement to ensure that people with disability are not further disadvantaged by the impact of the Coronavirus.
We also take this opportunity to reiterate that the Australian Government must immediately suspend all mutual obligation and work for the dole requirements, particularly for people with disability.
We are also concerned at the ongoing lack of access to the My Gov website (and NDIS portal) and strongly recommend that the Australian Government urgently address this issue, which is having a serious impact on people with disability, their families, and support persons.
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
Blind Citizens Australia
Children and Young People with Disability
Disability Advocacy Network Australia
Every Australian Counts
First People Disability Network
National Ethnic Disability Alliance
People with Disability Australia
Women with Disabilities Australia
Disabled people & Carers need the $550 COVID-19 supplement
'Australian Greens disability spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called on Minister Ruston to urgently extend the COVID-19 supplement payment, announced as part of the government’s second round of stimulus, to disabled people receiving the disability support pension and to carers who receive the carer support payment.
“Minister Ruston has been given extraordinary powers up until the end of this year which enable her to introduce measures to ensure that Australians who receive income support can get through this crisis.
“The poverty rate amongst disabled people is extremely high compared to the rate amongst the rest of the population and we face significant barriers to entering the workforce. Now we are also dealing with extra costs for transport and medical supplies, as well as personal protective equipment to keep us safe.
"That’s why I’m imploring Minister Ruston to use those powers immediately to extend the coronavirus supplement to Australians who receive the disability support pension and the carer support payment.
“On Monday we saw government acknowledge they had left students on Youth Allowance, AuStudy and ABStudy out of their stimulus package and rectify it immediately. They need to do the same with the DSP and the carers support payment.
“Australia's peak disability organisations have called on the Minister to urgently reconsider this decision because many services disabled people rely on are being closed or withdrawn, adding to the expenses people are already facing.
"It is unacceptable that disabled people have been excluded from this stimulus package and the Greens are calling on Minister Ruston to act urgently to ensure that people in our community who are at risk can access the COVID-19 supplement to help them get through this crisis."