This week is Mental Health Week, a time when we reflect on our clients’ experience with mental health and the social security system.
Here’s what we know:
- Many of our clients report difficulties with their mental health.
- Many report that interacting with Centrelink exacerbates or contributes to their difficulties with mental health.
- Mental health related conditions are the reason why the majority of people are receiving the DSP.
- Having a mental health condition considered for the DSP is challenging as there are special requirements for this category of disability.
Mental health and the DSP
So what are those special DSP requirements for people with mental health conditions? For the DSP, mental health conditions need to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, or a doctor with evidence from a clinical psychologist.
In practice, without a report from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist it is incredibly difficult to get the DSP.
Our clients tell us this creates difficulties. Some, particularly those reliant on JobSeeker, don’t have the means to pay for the consultations. Others find themselves stuck on waiting lists. And still others don’t realise this is a requirement, and their lack of supporting evidence hampers their DSP application.
SSRV are advocating for change in this space and we’ll continue to do so, as ultimately the changes that will benefit people living with mental health difficulties must be systemic.
In the meantime, we have resources available that can help make this process smoother. Our DSP Help enables DSP applicants and those supporting them to better understand how the DSP works and what is being assessed, and provides resources to help gather appropriate medical evidence to support a claim.
We also now have resources aimed directly at health professionals including information and sample letters. Our hope is we can make it simpler and easier to provide evidence in support of a DSP application, and to make that evidence as relevant as possible. For those with no experience with the DSP this is a great starting point as the criteria can definitely be overwhelming. For others, we hope this will save you time by focussing in on exactly what Centrelink are assessing.
If you’d like to find out more about this or about the DSP Help Project generally, please call us on 03 9481 0299 and ask to speak to the DSP Help Lawyer. If you or your client/patient needs assistance with the DSP, please get in touch with our legal assistance services.