Australians living with a disability are missing out on pension changes that allow people to work without losing their benefits, advocates say.
Following a jobs and skills summit, the federal government announced people on the aged and veterans pensions would receive a one-off income credit to earn an extra $4000 this financial year without being penalised.
The measure seeks to help address worker shortages that businesses across Australia are experiencing.
While the credit also applies to people on the disability support pension, it is only for those aged over 65 years.
This means 85 per cent of people on the support pension will miss out, the peak body for disability services says.
"This is a missed opportunity by the government," National Disability Services head Laurie Leigh told AAP on Wednesday.
"We were very excited about the announcement but when we checked the details and discovered who it applied to we feel that is insufficient."
Currently, people on the disability support pension can work a small number of hours before their benefits are penalised, creating a disincentive to seek employment.
A person on the pension can currently earn $95 per week, but every dollar over this amount is then reduced by 50 cents.
"It's not just the potential loss of income that acts as a penalty, it's also the loss of the benefits that come with the DSP such as access to healthcare and rental assistance," Ms Leigh said.
With labour shortages across Australia, Ms Leigh called on the government to extend the credit to people under 65 years old to remove a barrier to employment.
There are more than 760,000 Australians on the disability support pension, 85 per cent of whom are working age, Ms Leigh said.
Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott told last week's summit people living with a disability were ready for employment opportunities.
"There's no reason why people on the disability support pension couldn't get out and have a crack and do a little bit of work to try and help our economy grow," he said.
"People with a disability deserve that same choice, to get out there and be the people that we want to be."
The social, physical and mental health benefits of work, in addition to the financial advantages, should not be underestimated, he said.
"(There are) so many benefits that we often get left out of, through absolutely no fault of our own," Mr Alcott said.
Australian Associated Press
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