The federal government has scrapped a policy to review the medical condition of 90,000 people on the disability support pension (DSP) after less than 2% people were found to be ineligible, The Guardian reports.
During the 2016-17 budget, the government said plans to conduct a medical review of 30,000 DSP recipients a year for three years would result in 2,300 people having their benefits cancelled each year, with 1,800 moved onto a lower Newstart allowance payment.
The measure was forecast to save the budget $61.2m over five years but amid worse-than-expected initial results a government-controlled parliamentary committee last year said the reviews could end up costing more than it saved.
On Thursday, the Department of Social Services revealed the crackdown had been scrapped – but did not reveal if the review had incurred a net loss.
Officials said of the 30,056 reviews that had begun, 28,784 had been finalised, and only 555 people were found to be no longer eligible for the DSP – a success rate of less than 2%.
“In May, I indicated that the department was monitoring that process … and the government has decided not to continue with that measure,” the department secretary, Kathryn Campbell, told the hearing.
The decision was made earlier this month.
Campbell said assessments were still ongoing that tested DSP recipients’ income and assets.
The number of DSP recipients has fallen dramatically in recent years after the eligibility requirements were tightened under the Gillard government in 2012. In 2011-12, the successful claim rate was 69%. By 2014-15, it had fallen to 40.6%.
Government scraps crackdown on disability support pensioners (The Guardian)
Kathryn Campbell, Secretary, Department of Human Services / AusGovDPMC / YouTube