Addicts, alcoholics on disability pension
THOUSANDS of booze bingers and junkies are using their addiction to help claim and remain on the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
As the Morrison Government moves to drug test welfare recipients - but those only on Newstart and Youth Allowance - it can be revealed today the number of those on DSP naming alcohol or drug use as one of their medical conditions has increased in the past seven years.
Shockingly, there are 1277 DSP recipients whose only medical condition is drug or alcohol dependence.
It comes as City of Logan interim administrators have argued that those on Newstart and Youth Allowance should be provided incentives to finish rehab programs and stop taking drugs.
In June 2012, there were 21,081 DSP recipients with multiple listed conditions that were drug and alcohol related.
In June this year, it grew to 26,248, an increase of almost 25 per cent.
Singles on the DSP receive $850 a fortnight, more than Newstart, and have been assessed as having a "persistent permanent" disability that prevents them from working more than 15 hours a week.
Twenty points under the impairment table are needed to be considered to have a "persistent permanent" disability. An individual's alcohol or drug-related medical condition can count towards the 20 points.
Families Minister Anne Ruston said the figures revealed the devastating impact drug use could have on people's lives. "While the number of people on the Disability Support Pension with their sole medical condition listed as drug or alcohol dependence is reducing, we know there is more to do,'' Senator Ruston said.
"The Morrison Government's drug-testing trials will be another tool in our arsenal to deal with the scourge of substance abuse.
"We don't think that anybody should be taking an illegal substance because we understand it has a significant impact on their capacity to be able to function and to get a job, which is very important to their health and wellbeing.
"We hope that the risk of being tested will encourage people to think twice about taking drugs. For those who may be just meddling around the edges of taking drugs, being put on the Basics Card after one positive test might give them a wake-up call to say to themselves, 'this really isn't a smart thing to be doing', and hopefully prevent them from heading off down the path of drug addiction.
One of the drug test trials will be in Logan, which is not supported by Logan Council.