If you’re having the impact of your hearing impairment assessed for social security purposes, you’d expect that assessment to incorporate how much you rely on a hearing aid, and whether the thing is doing you good, right? So why would a similar assessment for a person with visual impairment not take their spectacles into account? It’s the type of unevenness that dogs the way the Disability Support Pension is allocated in Australia.
It bares a slightly scary similarity to the way health insurance works in places like Oregon, where, some patients have been refused financial help for medical treatments, but were offered aid to cover their assisted suicides instead.
Hopefully it never comes to that here in Australia, but reading this article worries me. Reporting that the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is to be allocated on the basis of recipients capability, not inability, it misses the point that all of us are worthy of support because of who we are, not what we can or cannot do. Can ways be found to distribute social security on this basis?
It is now assessed for the utilitarian purpose of simply getting everyone into work – any kind of work – making the disabled less of a financial burden on society.
To be sure, the DSP does need reform, to stop the widespread abuse that’s dogged it for a long time, giving worthy recipients a bad name. To wit, many who have failed to meet criteria for other social security payments have found it easier to get the DSP and stay on it for a long time, as a prime source of income.
The last review happened 18 years ago.
Now, the public largely doesn’t understand that the pension can be legitimately drawn to help cover the considerable costs arising from managing disabilities. Well tageted financial help should encourage we people with disabilities to enjoy our lives with fewer costs increasing the risk of us believing that life is all too much, a burden. In a world that permits euthanasia, real financial hardship could have tragic consequences.
This is especially true for those with depression and anxiety disorders, the fastest growing group of claimants of the DSP – and the ones most vulnerable to legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide
Watch this space to see how the changes are progressing, and add tell us your experiences and thoughts on the impact of social security on the dignity of life