Should people on disability pensions be allowed to travel? 383



View Profile

A woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis is petitioning the Australian government to end travel restrictions placed on recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

People who receive the DPS are only permitted 28 days to travel internationally per year, however Rachael Thomas say this restriction infringes on human rights.

She argues that Australians who aren’t on the disability pension (or age pension, for that matter) are allowed to travel without a visa to Europe and can stay for six months. But if Ms Thomas did this, her DSP would be cancelled.

“This is inequality at its finest,” she writes in her petition.

“The DSP is a nightmare to get in the first place; it is really a bit of a soul-destroying process. It does major damage due to the stress it causes and, as I have MS, the process and restrictions in place impact my condition badly and markedly.

“Those who have disabilities generally need longer to see a location than the ‘able-bodied.’ The travel restriction and threat of financial punishment for staying outside of Australia for more than 28 days per year causes stress and uncertainty in the disabled community. How does one with close family overseas: a) afford to get to them, b) relax with them once there, and c) be carefree on their holiday?

“The government justifies this rule by painting ALL DSP recipients as welfare cheaters who are living overseas while receiving payments from Australia. In reality, we are simply human beings who do not deserve to have our mobility further limited by arbitrary standards set by the government.”

Ms Thomas wishes to travel to Europe to see her boyfriend.

According to the Human Services website, when it comes to the age pension, the pension supplement reduces to the basic rate and the energy supplement stops when you leave Australia to live in another country, or after six weeks if you go temporarily.

If you have been absent from Australia for longer than six weeks, or you are not living in Australia, your pension will be paid at an “outside Australia” rate.

Do you think it is unfair that people on the disability pension lose their entitlements if they are outside the country for more than 28 days? Has your age pension been affected by travel?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I think it is unfare to everyone people receiving unemployment benefits, student help, centerlink payments, if family want to take them away overseas with them they loose payments. It stinks ! even the young if they do without other things to save up too go overseas they are punished should be encouraged . People complain if money is gambled or used on drink or drugs but when people do something amazing with the money they are punished I guess only the rich can travel or dream.

    1 REPLY
    • Yeah, at 60 now, worked since 13 b4+after school six days week, I didnt know I was poor, that was life. Worked hard and travelled all my life, in Oz+OS. At 43 sum Rsol put me in a coma and left me disabled. I lost my modest bisiness and lifestyle. Much later I got Dsp and even travelled again Now I have a young son and lady overseas, w/o me, and a cancelled Dsp for being there for them too often. I am attempting a Dsp restart but I’m drained by the process. One thing I see in Oz now is the deterioration of the family bond, the priority of material wealth is given too much importance, obviously driven by the monsters who control this country. In Asia, where my son is, people have very little, but they have large structured happy families with strong bonds. Nobody goes hungry. If I dont get my Dsp I’ll be workn 4 the dole and living in a cardboard box so I can send em money. I wont be alone. Whatz happened to this great country that my father and grandfather both served in World Wars to protect?

  2. Why shouldn’t they travel, The politicians seem to travel all the time and they are probably our biggest disability !!!!

    15 REPLY
    • I agree with Maryanne. Even on age pension I was told I had to let them know if I went To see my Mum in NZ even if it was only for a week. They know without me telling them.Centrelink cot my daughters parenting payment a few years ago because they said she left her baby in NZ. Once they checked records, they could tell her what time she landed in Sydney, what time they boarded their flight back to Brisbane oh and yes she had her baby with her. Big brother knows everything!!

    • This story is total crap – check the facts yourself

      2 REPLY
      • It is not crap – I am on a Disability Pension and I cannot travel outside Australia for more than 28 days or it is cut off and I have to start my application again from scratch.

      • Temporary travel overseas

        Transcript [docx, 15kb] | Watch on YouTube | Watch in Auslan

        When travelling overseas temporarily, you will generally only be paid DSP for up to 28 days in any 12 month period.

        On the day you depart Australia, we count the number of days you have been paid DSP while outside Australia in the preceding 12 months.

        We count any day you have been paid DSP while outside Australia on or after 1 January 2015 until the 12 month anniversary of that day.

        This assessment is made each day until 28 days overseas is reached and DSP ceases to be payable.

        If you have been paid DSP for more than 28 days overseas in the preceding 12 month period, DSP is not payable.

        The day you return to Australia is counted as a day inside Australia.

        You may continue to be paid DSP for longer than 28 days overseas if you:

        are studying outside Australia as part of a full time Australian course
        are severely disabled and dependent on and living with, a family member who has been temporarily posted to work outside Australia, or
        have been assessed in Australia prior to departure as having a permanent, severe impairment and no future work capacity. Assessment involves a review of your DSP qualification and a Job Capacity Assessment

        If you have already been paid DSP outside Australia for 28 days in a 12 month period, you may still be able to be paid if we assess that your reason for travel is one of the following approved reasons:

        to attend an acute family crisis; for example, to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill
        for humanitarian reasons; for example, to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings, or
        to receive eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

        If you booked and paid for travel before 14 May 2014, you will be able to receive a 6 week payment period as long as the travel is completed and you have returned to Australia before 1 January 2016.

        If you have returned to live in Australia within the last 2 years and you have started receiving DSP during this period, you will not be paid for any departures until the 2 year waiting period has passed.

        However, if you travel to a country with which Australia has a international social security agreement, you may be able to continue to get your payment under that social security agreement.

    • I did Bruce Weston and the story is right, if you travel for longer than the allotted time, you lose your pension, it is stopped

    • That’s correct you have to advise Centrelink two weeks prior to your trip and you are only allowed 4 weeks away for dsp customers.

  3. People with disability need longer to recover after a long haul flight so it puts extra pressure and stress knowing you have only limited time with family due to time restrictions and makes it hard for any quality time with visiting your family.

    2 REPLY
  4. Very unfair people with disabilities are discriminated against in many ways. This is yet another. It just makes disabled pensioners less human than the rest of Australians. Just not the Aussie fair go.

  5. Of course people with a disability should travel. Why not. There are a lot of modes of travel n beautiful places to visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *