Statistics for recipients of the Disability Support Pension and Newstart Allowance

Julie Middleton made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Human Services

The request was partially successful.

From: Julie Middleton

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

Welfare Reforms were introduced to curb the cost to taxpayer by keeping Newstart Allowance (NSA) at a lower rate and restricting access to the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

There are numerous publications that refer to recipient numbers of the DSP and NSA but do not provide the definite statistics that I am seeking. For example:

The Department of Human Services only releases limited data in its Annual report. The current data is available from the link:
https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organis...

Archived reports from 1998-1999 up to 2010-2011 are available from the link: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organis...

The online reports have limited and ambiguous information. There is no consistency from year to year. For example: the Centrelink Annual Report 2003-04 has on page 8 Number of Customers under 2003-04, 6.5 million and under 2002-03 6.3 million.

The Department of Human Services 2012–13 Annual Report includes: We delivered Age Pension payments to 2.3 million Australians.

The Department's website contains the following:

"There are about 3.96 million people with a disability in Australia. Of these, around 750,000 get Disability Support Pension (DSP). There are strict medical and other eligibility criteria for DSP. Not everyone who has a disability will be eligible."

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organis...

Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Budget Office, Disability Support Pension, Historical and projected trends Report no. 01/2018 includes the following:

"From 1991-92 to 2016-17, expenditure on the DSP has grown by 145 per cent in real terms. Most of this growth has been driven by increased recipient numbers, which have contracted in recent years."

"At the end of 2001-2002 there were 657,000 people on the DSP. During 2002-03, there were 69,000 new recipients and 54,000 people who ceased receiving the payment, resulting in 672,000 people being on the payment at the end of 2002-2003 (i.e., a net increase of 14,000)."

"...up until the mid-2000s, growth in the number of people on the DSP was relatively stable and strong. There were increases in the number of both men and women on the DSP over this period. Strong growth in the number of women receiving the payment was influenced by the progressive increase in the Age Pension eligibility age for women from 60 to 65, which commenced in 1995 and finished in 2013. Growth in the number of men on the DSP over this period was largely comprised of men with physical impairments such as musculoskeletal conditions and age between 50 and 59."

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/...

This FOI request is seeking copies of "documents" that contain the following information:

1. The annual number of DSP recipients from 1992.

2. The annual number of DSP recipients for each state and territory from 1992. Totals for all eight States and Territories will reconcile with the figures in point 1.

3.The annual number of NSA recipients - who have a disability - from 1992.

4. The annual number of NSA recipients - who have a disability - for each state and territory from 1992. Totals for all eight States and Territories will reconcile with the figures in point 3.

The Department of Human Services would have the above information; it is just not being made available to the public.

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) section:

4 Interpretations

(1) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:
document includes:
(a) any of, or any part of any of, the following things:
(i) any paper or other material on which there is writing;
(ii) a map, plan, drawing or photograph;
(iii) any paper or other material on which there are marks, figures, symbols or perforations having a meaning for persons qualified to interpret them;
(iv) any article or material from which sounds, images or writings are capable of being reproduced with or without the aid of any other article or device;
(v) any article on which information has been stored or recorded, either mechanically or electronically;
(vi) any other record of information; or
(b) any copy, reproduction or duplicate of such a thing; or
(c) any part of such a copy, reproduction or duplicate;

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Julie Middleton

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 49333 Communication Transfer Notice.pdf
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Dear Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information Request.

 

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information Team

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

E: [1][email address]

 

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From: FOI

Dear Ms Middleton

 

Freedom of Information Request No. 19/20-073

 

I refer to your correspondence received by the Department of Human
Services on 21 November 2019, in which you requested access, under the
Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to:

 

“1.The annual number of DSP recipients from 1992.

 

2. The annual number of DSP recipients for each state and territory from
1992.  Totals for all eight States and Territories will reconcile with the
figures in point 1.

 

3.The annual number of NSA recipients - who have a disability - from 1992.

 

4. The annual number of NSA recipients - who have a disability - for each
state and territory from 1992.  Totals for all eight States and
Territories will reconcile with the figures in point 3.”

 

I note your request has been subsequently transferred to the Department of
Social Services (the department) as advised via email on 27 November 2019.

 

Unless you advise otherwise, drafts, duplicate documents and the names,
contact details and signatures of non-Senior Executive Service (SES)
staff, as well as mobile phone numbers and signatures of SES staff, will
be excluded from the scope of your request under s22(1)(b)(ii) of the FOI
Act. If you do require these details, please inform us within five days of
this email so that the decision maker can consider your request.

 

The statutory period for processing your request is 30-days commencing
from the day after your request was received. Accordingly, the deadline
for notifying you of the department’s decision on access is 21 December
2019. 

 

I note that the above mentioned due date is a Saturday. In accordance with
the FOI guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner, if
the last day for notifying a decision falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a
public holiday, the timeframe will expire on the first day following which
is none of those days. As such, the due date for you to receive a response
is 23 November 2019.

 

You will be notified as soon as possible if a charge is associated with
processing your request.

 

The department will correspond with you by email in relation to your FOI
request.  Should you have any queries about this matter, please do not
hesitate to contact me on 02 6146 0430. Alternatively, you may send
queries via email to [1][email address]

 

Kind regards

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Jessie Sargent-Smith

Strategic Coordination Section

Government and Executive Services

Department of Social Services
P: (02) 6146 0430 E: [2][email address]

 

The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of
country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land,
water and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and
to Elders both past and present.

 

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From: Julie Middleton

Delivered

Dear FOI,

My initial FOI request was delivered to the Department of Human Services on 14 November 2019.

The FOI request was transferred to the Department of Social Services via email on 27 November 2019 and the due date will now be 23 December 2019.

The Department of Social Services has not made contact with me to acknowledge the FOI application, that is now with them.

Considering the due date is one day before Christmas eve, could you please check if the Department of Social Services anticipates any charges.

Yours sincerely,

Julie Middleton

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From: FOI

 

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From: FOI


Attachment FOI Request 1920 073 Decision.pdf
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Attachment FOI Request 1920 073 Documents.PDF.pdf
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Good afternoon Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached decision and documents in relation to FOI Request
19/20-073.

 

Kind regards

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Judy Lamb

Assistant Director, Freedom of Information and Portfolio Appointments

Strategic Coordination Section

Government and Executive Services Branch

Department of Social Services
[1][email address]

 

The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of
country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land,
water and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and
to Elders both past and present.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 

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