How the government is helping Disability Support Pensioners amid Covid-19

Apr 15, 2020
The Disability Support Pension is for anyone who has their income affected due to a permanent disability. Source: Getty.

The Covid-19 assistance the government has offered pensioners and people who’ve lost income has been well flagged, and you can read more about assistance for retirees and those who’re unemployed here. But there’s been less attention paid to how recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) will be helped through the coronavirus upheaval.

The DSP pension can be claimed by any Australian resident who has a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that prevents them from working and therefore impacts their ability to earn an income.

Regular fortnightly DSP payments

During the Covid-19 period, the government announced that there will be no changes to the fortnightly payments currently received by those on DSP – meaning everything stays the same with the supplemented income.

However, like most government payments, there will be several changes to claims and obligations during this time that will make it easier for people to adjust if they’re new to the DSP. The most notable change for those on the DSP will be the temporary suspension of participation requirements.

Although the participation requirements don’t apply to anyone over 35 who receives this pension, those under 35 won’t have to complete certain job-seeking requirements during this time in order to receive their full payment. Suspended participation requirements include activities such as attending interviews, doing work experience, training or agreeing to a participation plan.

More information on what the government is doing for those with disabilities and their relevant payments during the Covid-19 period is available here.

Economic Support Payments

According to the Department of Social Services, those who are exisiting DSP recipients or who have lodged a claim and are eligible as of April 13, 2020 (inclusive) will receive the first Economic Support Payment of $750, that will also be made to Age Pensioners and Jobseeker recipients. These payments started arriving in recipients’ bank accounts from March 31 but it should be noted that they won’t necessarily be paid at the same time as the regular pension, DSP or Jobseeker payment.

On March 22, the government announced a second Economic Support payment of $750, with the same eligibility criteria as the first. This means anyone who was eligible for the DSP on July 10 will receive an additional, one-off payment of $750 that will be paid out from July 13 onwards.

Recipients of the DSP will not be eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, however, which provides a temporary payment of $550 a fortnight from April 27 along with usual payments. Those who are eligible for the supplement include recipients of JobSeeker, Sickness Allowance or Special Benefit (those in financial hardship who cannot get other income support from the government).

Additional information for those with disabilities, their supporters and their carers during Covid-19 can be found here. This handy government-run webpage is a hub of information including the number for the Disability Information Hotline, a symptom-checker for the virus, referrals to counsellors and general information on the coronavirus itself.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.

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Do you receive a DSP or know someone who does? Is the current assistance sufficient?

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