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Migrants With Disability And Social Security

Migrants with Disability and the 10 Year Qualifying Residence Period for the Disability Support Pension

This report addresses a key equity issue for migrants with disability in Australia: namely, the ten year qualifying residence period that applies to the Disability Support Pension.

Migrants with disability granted visa status (except for those immigrating on humanitarian grounds) must wait ten years before being eligible for the Disability Support Pension (DSP). Eligibility for DSP affects eligibility for other programs, such as essential disability services and equipment. As a result, migrants with disability are unable to access appropriate financial support, or a range of services and support that are available to other Australian residents with disability.

Legal advice released by NEDA in July 2008 suggests that the ten year qualifying period for the Disability Support Pension is at odds with the obligations of the recently ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In NEDA’s view, the ten year qualifying period for the DSP is both unfair and discriminatory.

Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, NEDA estimates that there is unlikely to be more than 5000 migrants with disability in Australia who have been excluded from DSP entitlement as a result of the 10 year eligibility period. This is a small number of people, and the  cost of change for the removal of discrimination is likely to bea small proportion of the total expenditure by the Australian Government on the more than 700,000 Australians who currently receive the DSP.

NEDA calls on the Australian Government to abolish the ten year qualifying period for the Disability Support Pension.

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