It has never been tougher to make a successful claim for the Disability Support Pension (DSP), new Government figures suggest.
Hundreds of thousands of people who are unable to work more than 15 hours a week rely on the payment.
But statistics from the Department of Social Services obtained by the ABC indicate only about 15 per cent of current applicants are granted the DSP. The vast majority are rejected.
That is more than a 50 per cent drop in the so-called “grant rate”. In 2014-15, more than a third of claimants were granted the DSP.
On July 1, 2015, new rules for claiming the DSP came into effect. A two-stage process was introduced.
Claimants undergo a Job Capacity Assessment. If it is concluded they meet the DSP criteria, they move on to what is known as the Disability Medical Assessment.
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An email from the Department of Social Services states the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) finalised 51,691 DSP claims, which were lodged between July 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.
Of those claims, it said 5,199 (about 10 per cent) included a Disability Medical Assessment. Most DSP claims require a medical assessment before they are granted.
Historically, about 5 per cent of claimants were granted the DSP without a medical assessment because their disability was already clear — something the Government calls “manifest” cases.
Those figures, taken…