B. Summary of ANAO Audit Report

Qualifying for the Disability Support Pension


7. Changes to the DSP eligibility assessment processes introduced in January 2012 aimed to taper DSP growth and reduce new grants. The proportion of DSP claims granted by Human Services since has decreased from around 53 per cent in July 2011 (six months before the changes came into effect) to 39 per cent of total claims in June 2014 (leading to an increase in the number of requests for reviews and appeals of decisions). The ANAO has found that, to date, DSS has not undertaken any formal review or evaluation of the eligibility changes. A focus on evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of the changes would provide assurance of whether the current results are in keeping with legislation. It would also assist in informing government about the cost/benefit of the eligibility processes and the likely impact of any further changes to the impairment tables.
8. The ANAO also found that, at a day-to-day level, while the eligibility processes for DSP applied by Human Services were in keeping with legislation, eligibility decisions could be better documented. There was also a risk that the vast majority of DSP recipients will remain on DSP for long periods without any review of continued entitlement. While reviewing the entire stock of DSP recipients would be expensive and ineffective for some groups, Human Services could improve the level and targeting of medical review activity for DSP recipients (not covered by the 2014–15 Budget measure for under 35 year olds1), including through drawing on medical and impairment risks identified during the claims processes.


Recommendation No.1
Paragraph 2.19
To provide full documentation of eligibility decisions, the ANAO recommends that Human Services:
(a) review the guidance it provides to assessors on the level of detail to be included in Job Capacity Assessment reports, particularly for assessments of impairment ratings, a person’s inability to work and program of support obligations; and
(b) require delegates to clearly specify any changes they make to the Job Capacity Assessment reports.
Response from audited entities: Agreed.
Recommendation No.2
Paragraph 4.22
To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the current review process, the ANAO recommends that Human Services, in cooperation with DSS, include options in its risk profiling to better identify recipients whose medical conditions have a greater prospect of improvement.
Response from audited entities: Agreed.
Recommendation No.3
Paragraph 5.16
The ANAO recommends that DSS and Human Services:
(a) develop a more complete set of external and internal performance measures for the effective delivery of DSP; and
(b) agree on a consistent approach to the collection and publication of income support recipient data.
Response from audited entities: Agreed.
Recommendation No.4
Paragraph 5.23
To help identify further opportunities for improvement in the administration of DSP, the ANAO recommends that DSS, in cooperation with Human Services:
(a) analyse the results of reviews of continuing eligibility for DSP, review and appeal data and quality control information; and
(b) evaluate the effectiveness of the revised impairment tables.
Response from audited entities: Agreed.

  • 1
    At Budget 2014–15 the Government provided a total of $46.4 million over five years from 2013–14 to review, against current eligibility criteria, Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients aged under 35 years who were granted DSP between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2011. Of this funding, $21.5 million was allocated to Human Services to review 28 000 DSP recipients against the revised impairment tables.

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