The NFAW report below gives details on how the Howard Govt expected people with a disability to work
We await to hear what the Government will do.
CLICK to read how carers of children with a disability are treated.
Carers of children with a disability
Disabled to work for $2.27 an hour.
Disabled people will be up to $122 a week worse off and could earn just $2.27 an hour under the government’s welfare-to-work regime, new figures show.
In a report prepared for the National Foundation for Australian Women, an economic modelling centre has found people with disabilities who do not work will be $46 a week worse off.
Under the current system, a jobless single disability pensioner has a $254 disposable weekly income, according to the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).
In the new regime, they would get just $208 in the hand. Meanwhile, disabled people who work the minimum 15 hours on the minimum wage will take home just $80 of the $191 they earn in private income. The effective return from 15 hours of work will be just $2.27 an hour, the NATSEM says.
The Howard Government’s welfare-to-work package, announced in the 2007 budget, will force new disability support pension (DSP) applicants to become jobseekers.
Instead of receiving a pension, those thought capable of between 15 and 29 hours of work a week will be pushed onto the lower Newstart Allowance, which the NATSEM has found will leave many disabled people worse off. The NATSEM has also found disabled people will face effective marginal tax rates of up to 75 per cent, which means they will keep just 25 cents of each additional dollar earned.
The difference between receiving the DSP and receiving Newstart Allowance could be up to $122 per week, according to the NATSEM. Less income will lead to greater isolation and a lower quality of life for disabled people, Women With Disabilities Australia spokeswoman Sue Salthouse said.
“The first thing to go is your life. You do not go out for entertainment. You can only afford one or two taxi trips per week,” she told reporters. “You cut down on food. You reduce the sort of food you buy. You exist in a wheelchair which is insufficient to your needs,” she said. “Basically, your life is one of isolation.”
Women will be particularly affected by income cuts because they are more likely to be in part time and casual work, she said. National Foundation for Australian Women spokeswoman Marie Coleman said the Government’s welfare-to-work package was wicked and unnecessary. “This is a wicked and inequitable, inappropriate and entirely unnecessary proposal,” she said.
The welfare system needed to take into account different needs. A sole parent with a child had very different needs from a teenager living at home and looking for work, she said.
“Different types of … income support systems have been designed around the fact that different groups of people have different life needs,” she said.” Labor has described the package as “demonstrably incompetent”. “You don’t make people go back to work by reducing their payments,” Labor’s workforce participation spokeswoman Penny Wong told reporters. “You don’t make people go back to work by making their life harder,” she said.
But the Government has described the NATSEM report as flawed and defended the philosophy behind the welfare-to-work package. Workforce Participation Minister Peter Dutton says current DSP recipients have nothing to fear.
“These changes don’t affect them,” he said. It was appropriate for people who could work to do so and NATSEM was comparing people who should not be on the DSP to those who should, he said. “If you have a capacity of 15 hours a week or more, you should be going onto Newstart Allowance and not onto DSP.”
Have you been affected by the Federal Government’s Welfare to Work changes? The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations is collecting stories about the impact of these changes on people with disability, and would love to hear your story.