Pain and mythology: Disability support pension recipients and work

Alan Morris, University of New South Wales


The Australian Government recently reformed policy on disability and work to make people who are assessed as capable of working at least fifteen hours a week ineligible for the Disability Support Pension (DSP). This article reports on a study based on six focus groups with DSP recipients, illustrating that the new policy could have dire implications for the people subject to it. Focus group participants were sceptical about the possibility of finding employment and some expressed the belief that discrimination by potential employers against people with a disability was common. The perceptions and experiences of the participants suggest that to increase the employment of current recipients of the DSP would require a major shift towards policy informed by the social model of disability, and that the idea that current policies can increase workforce participation is in the realm of mythology.

Alan Morris <> teaches in the School of Social Science and Policy at the University of New South Wales. He has published widely in the area of urban studies focusing mainly on issues of marginality. At present he is working on the worlds of older private renters in Sydney.

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