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Welfare to Work in Australia: Disability Income Support, Housing Affordability and Employment Incentives

By Tony Dalton and Rachel Ong


Internationally, considerable policy attention is being paid to increasing the employment participation of disabled working-age people. Like other OECD countries, Australia has experienced growth in the number of Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients due to changes in industry structure and increases in precarious employment. This history is well-rehearsed in policy debates. However, little research attention has been given to the housing circumstances of DSP recipients. This is important, particularly when we note the increasing incidence of working-age DSP recipients in the private rental market and public housing. For public renters the incidence has more than tripled to 27 per cent over the period 1982-2002. This paper addresses two questions: 'What are the housing circumstances of DSP recipients?' and 'What are the likely consequences of programme changes aimed at increasing employment participation of DSP recipients?' Using Australia as an example, this article considers interactions between the new disability payment system being implemented through Welfare to Work, housing costs and employment income.Housing, disability, income support, employment,

DOI identifier: 10.1080/14616710701477904
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