Disability advocates say expanding Centrelink’s debt recovery system to people on disability support will push clients who are already suicidal over the edge and “inundate” overstretched mental health services.
Grampians Disability Advocacy’s Fiona Tipping said she already has a caseload of people in Ballarat who are suicidal as a result of their disability support pensions being rejected or cancelled.
On Tuesday it was revealed the government plans to extend its controversial debt collection system to people on aged pensions and disability support pensions later this year.
The department intends to issue 900,000 debt notices by the end of the year and had “fully anticipated” a deluge of appeals before the system swung into action in July last year, a Centrelink insider told The Courier.
The government has earmarked $1.1 billion to come from over payments of the aged pension and a further $400 million from the disability support pension, its mid-year economic forecast shows.