Budget 2011-12: Indefinite portability for permanently disabled Disability Support Pension recipients who have no work capacity
Description of the measure
From 1 July 2012, people with a permanent disability who receive Disability Support Pension (DSP) and have no future work capacity and who wish to leave Australia to be with friends and family will remain payable outside Australia indefinitely.
DSP customers who leave Australia and wish to remain payable under this new measure for more than 13 weeks will be required to have a new work capacity assessment before their departure. This measure acknowledges that DSP customers should be able to continue receiving income support outside Australia where there is no expectation of workforce participation.
Currently, DSP is generally only payable for the first 13 weeks of a temporary absence from Australia. After 13 weeks, DSP is suspended and subsequently cancelled if the customer has not returned to Australia.
Questions and answers
Who will be affected by this Budget measure?
People who receive Disability Support Pension (DSP) and who have a permanent disability and who have no future work capacity will be affected if they wish to leave Australia for more than 13 weeks.
To be eligible, a DSP customer must be assessed as having a permanent disability and also assessed as having no future work capacity. These assessments must be completed in Australia, prior to departure and may involve a medical review.
Who will not be affected by this Budget measure?
Any DSP customer not meeting the eligibility criteria will be unaffected and remain subject to existing portability rules.
Is it a new measure that will affect existing Portfolio customers or people? If so, how will they be affected?
Yes. Existing DSP customers who are assessed as having a permanent disability and no future work capacity will be payable overseas indefinitely.
When will the changes be implemented?
Answer: The measure is expected to commence from 1 July 2012.
When will the changes end?
How will I know if I am eligible for this Budget measure?
If you think you may be eligible, contact Centrelink and ask for advice. From 1 July 2012, Centrelink will assess your eligibility as part of a pre-departure interview and will advise you of your eligibility.
Do I need to do anything?
It is in your interest to notify Centrelink as early as possible of your travel plans. This will allow time for Centrelink to assess your entitlements, organise a work capacity assessment and any necessary medical reviews. The work capacity assessment, including any medical review, must be conducted in Australia before departure.
If I am eligible for this Budget measure, will there be changes to my obligations or reporting requirements?
Generally, normal DSP obligations and reporting requirements will remain unchanged. Customers who depart Australia will be required to update their contact details with Centrelink.
If the Budget measure involves a payment, when/how will it be paid?
The basic rate of DSP will not change under this measure. Some supplementary payments, such as Pension Supplement, will be affected if DSP customers remain outside Australia for more than 13 weeks.
For extended periods outside Australia, the frequency of DSP payments will change from fortnightly to every four weeks. Payments will continue to be made directly to customers’ nominated bank account.
What does ‘no work capacity’ mean?
Eligibility criteria for meeting the ‘no work capacity’ test are yet to be defined. Centrelink will provide information once they become available.