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FAIR GO: What it’s like living on disability support pension

JUST an extra $50 a week could make a world of difference for those on the disability support pension (DSP), said Toowoomba man Steven Woolridge.

Mr Woolridge, 53, is saving to attend the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as a volunteer. It is a process he expects to take two years.

FAIR GO: Steven Woolridge talks about life on the disability support pension.
FAIR GO: Steven Woolridge talks about life on the disability support pension. Nev Madsen

DSP is financial support for people who have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working.

It is the only income Mr Woolridge has ever known and he said some people were struggling to survive on it.

"I volunteer at the Toowoomba Clubhouse, Depression Support Network and at Queensland Health two times a week." he said.

"I take my volunteering very seriously. It is work that I am proud of but (when I'm not volunteering) I have to live within my means.

"Some people are struggling day-to-day. Sometimes it's barely enough for the essentials."

Birra Riethmuller says regional areas need to be better supported.
Birra Riethmuller says regional areas need to be better supported.

Plainland woman Birra Riethmuller was diagnosed with autism two years ago and receives DSP.

She said regional areas could benefit from more social workers within the Department of Human Services.

"A lot of people either don't know their options or feel rejected by their community and some are taking advantage of the system," she said.

"Someone like a social worker, if they had a role in Centrelink, could safeguard that. A person who is there from the application to assessment process and checks-in from time to time.

"Unless you're a high needs sort of person, you fall through the cracks and suddenly you're homeless or addicted."

Topics:  disability support pension fair go for regional australia campaign fair go for toowoomba toowoomba


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