Endeavour Foundation CEO David Barbagallo.
Endeavour Foundation CEO David Barbagallo. Inga Williams ISENDEAVOUR

People with disabilities face pressure from budget

GLADSTONE disability services expressed concern about some of the budget changes but were relieved that the National Disability Insurance Scheme would remain the same.

From September 2017, all pensions, including the Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment, will be indexed against consumer price index rather than the male total average weekly earnings, meaning a lower annual rate of income growth for people whose financial means are already very limited.

Also proposed is that those under 35 will have their eligibility for the disability pension reassessed and may be forced to work for a minimum of eight hours in order to receive payments.

The Endeavour Foundation and Cerebral Palsy League offer support to those with disabilities in Gladstone and see both negative and positive outcomes.

"We expect people on the disability support pension will face increasing financial pressure," said Endeavour Foundation CEO David Barbagallo.

"It is particularly distressing for people who have a permanent disability to be consistently questioned regarding their eligibility for a support pension. We consider employment to be a positive option for people with a disability, however we need to see a lot of support and development opportunities built in around this."

Cerebral Palsy CEO Angela Tillmanns said more employment for people with disabilities is beneficial but the extra GP costs will hit them hard.

"The very people who can least afford it will be forced to find extra money to access basic healthcare services, and we are concerned it will mean they don't seek timely medical advice," she said.

Both the CPL and Endeavour Foundation said the budget won't change the way services are delivered in Gladstone.



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