Travel limits unfair: Narelle

Living with a disability can’t be easy and when it’s compounded by what seems to be discrimination, it makes people angry. Here, Narelle has her say on pension portability rules.

Narelle

I am upset about the restrictive travel rules that are in place for those of us on a Disability Support Pension. They state that while overseas, we can only receive four weeks of our pension over a 12-month period. I asked Centrelink why they were so restrictive, and it stated that as it’s a support pension, I shouldn’t be able to travel overseas on it. In fact, they said I should be too incapacitated to travel. But I’m hearing impaired.

According to the Human Rights Anti-Discrimination Legislation, this practice is discriminatory, as it affects the quality of life, freedom of movement and choices. It’s one rule for those with a disability and another for those without. That is discrimination in itself – and it’s demeaning. 

I have no super but I’m a good saver, so I am able to do a little bit of travel. People who have mobility problems can still fly or cruise and are encouraged to do so, but Centrelink’s pension portability rules of 28 days only per 12 months places restrictions on us. Surely this isn’t right. I know of no other country that has this restriction in place.

Response provided by a Department of Human Services spokesperson

Since 1 January 2015, Disability Support Pension recipients are generally able to receive their payment overseas for temporary absences for up to four weeks in a 12-month rolling period.

These portability arrangements are compatible with relevant Australian human rights and anti-discrimination legislation that protects a person’s right to social security, freedom of movement and an adequate standard of living.

What do you think? Are such restrictions discriminatory?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

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