A report by Australian Federation of Disability Organisations According to the report it brings to light the systemic failures of the Government’s Disability Support Pension processes administered by Centrelink. It shows how these failures harm people with disability and why such harm constitutes institutional neglect and abuse.
The report highlights an alarming decrease of access to the Disability Support Pension, a burdensome application process, and a review process where people with disability have to fund their own legal supports.
The report gives the example of Centrelink’s treatment of John.
John had terminal bowel cancer and was given six months to live. When he was discharged from hospital, he had no income and was behind in rent payments as he waited for his DSP application to be processed. As John’s condition was considered a ‘Manifest impairment’, he should have received the DSP immediately. An advocate assisted John with an application for JobSeeker to ensure he had some income. When John was told it would take up to two months to process his DSP application, he attempted suicide.
Two months after being discharged, John was in a vegetative state. His Social Worker advised Centrelink and his advocate advised the Social Worker to insist on a Manifest grant of the DSP. The following week, there was a request from Centrelink for John to attend a Job Capacity Assessment. The Centrelink Social Worker advised the Manifest grant was still outstanding and that the Manager of DSP assessments had written a report and that it still lies with the Quality Team.
John passed away 54 days after his DSP application was first lodged. Unfortunately, the Centrelink processing issues continued following John’s death. Despite notifying Centrelink that he had died the DSP was approved and payments commenced. On receipt of the Death Notice Centrelink advised that John’s estate would now have a debt to Centrelink due to the overpayment.
Download the report here: Disability Support Pension, Impact of Institutional Abuse and Neglect