This is a series of comments I made recently on Facebook which I wanted to share (lucky old you!). The context is the Daily Telegraph's recent "Slouchhats and Slackers" front page regarding the Disability Support Pension.
"Look, and I have to make this comparison - during World War II Australians actually fought against a regime that killed people with disabilities claiming they were useless people and a drain on the public purse and it is a great insult to Australia's veterans to be making those kinds of comparisons at this particular time." - Craig Wallace, President, People With Disabilities Australia
in today's SMH goes into more detail about what advocates say is the main reason disabled people go on the pension - the difficulty they have in finding employment.
On a personal note, that opinion piece links to the original Daily Telegraph article and the attached editorials. The Tele claims, with no evidence, that people are faking mental illness so they can receive the disability pension, which is higher than the dole.
Half of disabled Australians live in poverty. If I didn't have the extraordinary good fortune of a supportive husband and family, I would probably be one of them, as my physical and mental illnesses make it difficult for me to work. We spend hundreds on my many medications, and next year meds, doctor visits, and medical tests will all cost more.
The Tele is basically saying that people like me deserve to starve. I felt a bit badly about posting that quote yesterday, reminding us of just who Australia's "slouchhats" fought during WWII, since it's pretty provocative, but tbh I am so furious at the attitude of the newspaper and the party they serve that I can barely express my rage. The quote will have to do it for me.
Some other useful links which were posted during the discussion:Just How Wrong Is Conventional Wisdom About Government Fraud?
: "Entitlement programs, from food stamps to Medicare, don't see unusually high cheating rates -- and the culprits are usually managers and executives, not 'welfare queens.'"
"It is sometimes suggested that many people on the DSP [Disability Support Pension] do not have genuine disabilities... However, Centrelink [the government agency which handles welfare] has put in place increasingly sophisticated measures for detecting fraud and undisclosed changes of circumstances for all welfare benefits. There have been relatively few cases of convictions for fraud involving the DSP (though it is a difficult task if impairments have no easily observable physical manifestations)... It therefore appears that most people on DSP have significant impairments that genuinely affect their employment prospects." That comes from a 2011 inquiry
by the Australian government's Productivity Commission (Appendix K).
I found a very interesting opinion piece
which gives some of the reasons the number of disability pensioners (ie people on welfare for disability) has risen: our ageing population, plus "the inaccessibility of services for people with a disability; improved identification of disabilities such as mental illness; lower mortality rates after accidents; a decline in number of low-skilled jobs and a lack of employer support for people with disabilities."