SCOTT MORRISON’S (MP) DISABILITY PENSION CHANGES (c)

SCOTT MORRISON’S CHANGES TO DISABILITY SUPPORT PENSION

GEROWYN HANSON (c)

Today, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Social Services and a senior member of Prime Minister Abbott’s Cabinet and Expenditure Review Committee, announced changes to Australia’s welfare system. Some of these proposals are very concerning for people receiving a Disability Support Pension (DSP).

As my followers would know, I have spoken and written about how certain members of large ‘L’ Liberal-democratic governments erroneously presume that work = self esteem. Moreover, their remedy is to give the handicapped a job. The presumption is that somehow, employment rehabilitates a person with a disability. As discussed previously, being forced to seek employment can actually be immensely soul-destroying.

Firstly, rejections from job interviews, failures on the job, and the inability to attend work on a regular basis, for example, can cause a disabled person with lowered self-seteem to have their confidence eroded even further. Mr. Morrison, these new proposals to the DSP are harsh and unrealistic even for non-injured, able-bodied job-seekers, let alone the disabled.

Secondly, not all employers are willing to engage a person whose disability is episodic. As examined in my other publications, time = money and businesses cannot afford to employ people whose conditions are unstable, or whose ability is fluctuating. This makes some people, by virtue of the symptoms of their disabling ailments, unreliable employees. Already, I have pointed out on numerous occasions, an “unreliable employee” has nothing to do with irresponsibility. It is a medical term used by health professionals assessing the stability of a clinical disorder which could render a person’s ability to attend work on a regular basis unlikely. It is not derrogatory. In a shrinking job market with rising unemployment for able-bodied and un-impaired persons, the likelihood of a disabled individual finding work in this competitive environment is slim. Mr Morrison, your proposals are unrealistic and unfair.

Thirdly, work does not in itself, nor by itself cause a person with an impairment to automatically see an improvement in his or her chronic or episodic disability. In fact, cases of people with a mental health disorder, neuro-psychological damage, chronic pain, or a degenerative illness, for example, it is unlikely to expect them to either get better or feel better. Mr Morrison, your statement that it does, is an opinoin: an un-informed opionion.

Fourthly, under current legislation, if a person on the DSP enters the workforce, they automatically lose their pension. Whilst this is neither surprising nor unreasonable, it assumes that the person is “cured” and will not be needing to go back on welfare. If, however, the condition flares up again and the employee is unable go to continue working, they are not entitled to go back on to the DSP. They will have lost the right to have their pension re-instated under the present system. This, too, Mr Morrison, is unfair and anxiety-provoking.

Morrison’s proposal is to allow the “flexibility” of working disabled persons whose conditons flare up, to receive one of 5 tiers of new welfare. This is not only absurd, it is also unfair and cruel. It results in a loss of income. As Morrison has stated, it would be equivalent to the unemployment benefit, known as the Newstart Allowance. This means the disabled person returning to welfare will receive less than half of what they would have on the Disabiity Pension. Mr. Morrison, your new 5-tiered welfare payment system unfairly promotes poverty amongst some of society’s most vulnerable.

Scott Morrison is entirely out of touch with the realities of the lives of people living with a disability. It is unfair, punitive, promotes poverty and anxiety. Moreover, it creates an underclass of people to blame for the woes of society by vilifying their inability to find work through implying that they are malingers and a drain on hard-working Australian tax-payers. The Abbott Government needs a scapegoat to deflect their short-comings from media scrutiny by re-focusing attention on blaming people most at risk in society.

This method of shifting the blame to an underclass has been done before in history. Notably, certain groups of Nazi German society were made scapegoats for the economic woes of the 1930’s. Mr Morrison, let’s hope this systematic vilification of an unprotected underclass in the making, does not happen in 21st Century Australia. Your responsiblity is to protect the powerless, not vilify them by holding them responsible for the supposed drain on Government coffers.

Please, Mr. Morrison, do not force people on the Disability Support Pension into the workforce, only to have them revert to a welfare level even lower than the present impecunious pension payments which are already below the poverty line. It will cause undue hardship, loss of self-esteem, loss of income, increased anxiety, exacerbation of existing symptoms, and ultimately result in even more money being spent to repair the damage to vulnerable individuals.

2 responses to “SCOTT MORRISON’S (MP) DISABILITY PENSION CHANGES (c)”

  1. Caroline Young @carolin_young says :

    I feel really sick and desperately worried about this. I’m alone, a grandmother and carer but afraid that very soon my DSP will be removed. My disability isn’t physical but my ‘condition’ is such that I’m afraid to be in public, sweat profusely (I mean rivers of sweat, not perspiration) have panic attacks, anxiety problems, severe depression etc. And Scott Morrison would put me into the workforce where I’d quite literally be a laughing stock. Its bad enough for me already.

    • gerowynhanson says :

      Hello Carline,
      Thank you so much for your reply. It is so good to hear from other people with invisible disabilities who could be seriously affected by Morrison’s cruel & unsympathetic changes to the DSP. I hear what you say, Caroline, my conditions would make me lose any job I was forced into in a very short period of time, too. I have very similar symptoms to yours, along with a range of other neuro-psychological conditions such as short-term memory loss, lack of facial recognition, inability to process conversations and respond appropriately, to name a few. As you say, being forced back into work would make us a laughing stock, emabarrassing & result in further loss of self-esteem, in addition to exacerbating our disabilities making us even more dysfunctional than now. We must not let them get away with this. All the best & fingers crossed.

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