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New restrictions on disability pensioners travelling overseas

In the midst of heated debate over the Budget’s welfare reforms some significant measures have escaped the headlines, including new restrictions on Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients travelling overseas. The measures, proposed by the Social Services and Other Legislation (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014, will reduce the time disability pensioners can spend overseas from six-weeks at a time to four weeks in a 12-month period. A number of submissions to the Senate committee inquiry into the Bill, from individual DSP recipients and from welfare groups, took issue with the changes suggesting that DSP was being unfairly targeted and that the measures would increase red tape. Read more...

Pension indexation: a brief history

In the lead-up to the Coalition Government’s first Budget, speculation has focused on possible changes to the age pension, including adjusting the way pension rates are indexed. Indexation is a complex and important component of the Australian social security system but one that is often misunderstood. The following provides an explanation and brief history of indexation. How pension rates are adjusted Currently, pensions (including the Age Pension, Service Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment) are indexed twice each year by the greater of the movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI). They are then ‘b... Read more...

How much does working until 70 save the budget bottom line?

Last week, the Productivity Commission released a research paper on the ‘economic issues raised by population ageing’, which included a recommendation to raise the age for eligibility for the Age Pension to 70. This proposal has been widely condemned by interest groups including the ACTU and National Seniors Australia, with one group claiming that implementing the policy would ‘see grandmothers and grandfathers joining the dole queue’. A Grattan Institute report released yesterday also includes this proposal as one of the ‘tough choices’ that may be required to balance the budget.The Productivity Commission’s proposal is that once the current legislated increase to 67 for the age of eligibil... Read more...

Disability Support Pension Customers: Statistical Summary

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a means tested payment for people with a disability. To be eligible for the DSP a person must be permanently blind or have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment. To qualify for the DSP, a person must be aged 16 years or over but have not reached pension age at the time of claiming (for more information on eligibility see the Centrelink website). As at June 2010, there were 792 581 DSP customers, this is an increase of 35 463 (4.7 per cent change) from the previous year. As a proportion of the total Australian working age population, DSP customers (aged 15 to 64) made up 5.2 per cent. Of the 792 581, only 20 per cent (158 714) did... Read more...

History of Australian pensions

 The long running Parliamentary Library publication Social Security Payments for the Aged, People with Disabilities and Carers 1901 to 2010 has been updated to include policy changes since 2006.At federation in 1901 the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia gave power to the Commonwealth Government to legislate for invalid and old-age pensions. A Royal Commission on Old-Age Pensions was conducted during 1905‐6 and legislation for both age and invalid pensions was passed in 1908 during the Deakin administration.These pensions were unusual compared with other countries in that they were non-contributory (paid for through general revenue, rather than social insurance contributions), non... Read more...

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