The facts about Mental Illness and the Disability Support Pension

The Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) has today released a Key Issues Brief containing key facts about people on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) to address a range of misconceptions in relation to mental illness.

“This important brief outlines some of the current challenges faced by people with mental illness and psychosocial disability on income support,” MHCA CEO Frank Quinlan said.

“Contrary to some recent commentary, DSP recipients with mental illness are most likely to be people who want to work, but due to stigma and discrimination, and a range of significant and debilitating conditions, can’t.

“Our Brief also provides some context around the possible impacts of changes to the DSP in the recent Federal Budget, such as indexing of payments and compulsory participation requirements, as well as other issues that need to be addressed.

“The reality of the experience of severe and persistent mental illness is that it can have a profoundly disabling impact on day-to-day living and social functioning, leaving some Australians requiring ongoing financial assistance despite their eagerness to work independently.

“While around 31% of DSP recipients have a psychosocial disability, this is less than 10% of the total number of people living with mental illness in Australia.

“Despite some reports in the media, accessing the DSP is by no means a straightforward process.  Significant checks of medical history, documentary evidence, multiple assessments and consultation with doctors are required. 

“Changes to the assessment of eligibility for the DSP is something that greatly interests the MHCA and its members – as any changes will have a significant impact on people living with psychosocial disability and those who care for them.”

The Key Issues Brief can be downloaded here.

The MHCA is the peak non-government body representing the mental health sector in Australia. Our vision is for mentally healthy people and mentally healthy communities.

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