Assessment Processes for Job Seekers and Disability Support Pension Claimants - Budget 2010-11

Key Elements

  • The Government will improve assessments for disadvantaged jobseekers and people with disabilities to ensure that appropriate employment services and income support are provided.
  • Job Capacity Assessments for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) will be refined to have a greater focus on a person’s potential to work with appropriate capacity building and rehabilitation.  The assessments will also have greater consideration of the person’s transferrable skills, suitability for alternative employment with reasonable adjustment and their capacity to benefit from vocational training and rehabilitation.
  • This does not impact current recipients of the DSP.
  • As part of the new assessment process, DSP claimants will now be required to provide sufficient evidence that they are unable to participate in work, even with the appropriate employment assistance. This evidence will include demonstrating that they have participated in an open employment service or vocational rehabilitation.
  • DSP claimants who do not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they could not be assisted back to work will have their DSP claim rejected in the first instance and will instead be referred to an employment service to receive assistance.
  • Claimants with manifest or severe disabilities who are clearly unable to work will not be affected and will proceed directly onto the DSP.
  • These changes will be introduced from 1 January 2012 to coincide with the planned implementation of the revised Impairment Tables, which are currently being reviewed.
  • To support these changes, from 1 July 2011 responsibility for DSP assessments will transfer from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) so that all DSP related policy will be in the one place.
  • More needs to be done to encourage people with disability to participate in community life - and key to that is supporting those who can, to enter the workforce. This is especially important given the trend over the last decade which has seen the number of DSP recipients increase by over 31 per cent, reaching more than 757,000 in June 2009.
  • This measure will focus on keeping people with capacity connected to the workforce, thereby reducing their reliance on income support.
  • On 1 July 2011 new assessments for job seekers with disabilities and other disadvantaged job seekers will be introduced. 
  • The current Job Capacity Assessment service for job seekers will cease to operate. Disadvantaged job seekers will benefit from new assessments to refer them to the most appropriate employment service and identify the level of support that matches their needs.   
  • The new job seeker assessments will be completed by Centrelink with assistance from the Australian Government service provider, CRS. These assessments will be undertaken by allied health professionals, for example psychologists and rehabilitation counsellors.
  • The completion of assessments by Australian Government organisations will make the assessment process less complex for disadvantaged job seekers and provide greater consistency in determining their employment service needs. 
  • In addition to referring job seekers to the most suitable employment service, assessors will arrange for eligible job seekers to receive assistance such as psychological counselling, pain management and work conditioning to help them overcome their barriers to work. 

Background

  • Many new applications for the disability pension are not triggered by the acquisition of an impairment or disability, but by changes in an individual’s employment circumstances.  Around half of DSP entrants come onto payment from employment without having tested their capacity to be retrained for alternative work.  Timely intervention is essential in ensuring people with some capacity maintain their workforce attachment.

Implementation

  • These changes for the DSP will be introduced from 1 January 2012 to coincide with the planned implementation of the revised Impairment Tables, which are currently being reviewed.
  • This measure will be implemented by FaHCSIA in consultation with Centrelink, DEEWR and the Department of Human Services.

Total Government Funding

  • Saving of $383.4 million over four years from 2010-11 to 2013-14.

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