Why extended time on newstart is unsuitable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living with a disability

Fitts, Michelle S., and Soldatic, Karen (2019) Why extended time on newstart is unsuitable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living with a disability. Australian Social Work, 73 (2). pp. 191-203.

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Abstract

Many Australians living with a disability find themselves recipients of Newstart Allowance when applying for the Disability Support Pension (DSP). Newstart Allowance is designed as a short-term payment for people looking for work, with a lower fortnightly payment and limited medical and transport subsidies compared to the DSP. This paper describes the financial challenges of living with a disability while on Newstart Allowance. With a focus on the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians from two regional towns, qualitative semistructured interviews and focus groups documented experiences of 39 community members and 21 medical and nonmedical service providers supporting clients living with a disability on Newstart Allowance. Four themes were identified: (i) living with severe financial hardship, (ii) challenges complying with the DSP application, (iii) being financially penalised for not complying with Newstart Allowance conditions, and (iv) supporting community members to manage severe financial stress. Although people living with a disability on Newstart were experiencing severe hardship and poverty, there was limited participation of Centrelink-employed social workers within their described experiences with Centrelink. We argue that social workers can work to humanise human service settings and potentially help to mitigate these financial challenges.

Item ID: 61140
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1447-0748
Keywords: Disability Policy Reform, Disability Support Pension, Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Newstart, Income Support
Copyright Information: © 2019 Australian Association of Social Workers.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant number DE160100478
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2019 07:40
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 1
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