The following information can help you address some of the common questions and concerns raised by job seekers with disability.
Do people with disability need to seek work?
Obligations to find work relate to the type of payment a job seeker receives from Centrelink.
People in receipt of Newstart Allowance are obliged to seek work. For some job seekers this may be full time work although others with a partial work capacity will be required to look for part time work. Connection to an Australian Government employment service provider often occurs during the course of being granted a payment by Centrelink.
People in receipt of the Disability Support Pension are not obliged to seek work but can volunteer to find a job. Financially having a part time income along with a part pension can substantially raise a person’s living standard or capacity to save for a special item or holiday. It should be noted that in testing eligibility to receive funding for a specialist employment service, the person’s pension will also be reviewed. This assessment for service is called the Employment Services Assessment and is generally arranged through Centrelink.
If the person is not in receipt of a payment from Centrelink they are also not obliged to look for work but can still seek assistance from an Australian Government employment service provider, most commonly a Disability Employment Service. Direct approaches can be made to a Disability Employment Service, however the Employment Services Assessment process will still apply for most of these situations.
Does work affect payments from Centrelink?
You can assist people in receipt of any payment from Centrelink, such as Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or the Disability Support Pension, to understand how income from work may affect their payments.
Concern about the impact of work on Centrelink payments is often at the forefront of the minds of job seekers and their parents or carers. It is therefore important early in the job search process to offer information about income test-free thresholds, taper rates and cut-off points in relation to payments as well as providing information about the Centrelink earnings credit system. The online Centrelink Rate Estimator may be of assistance with estimating how earnings relate to payments (see Related Links).
You should also advise job seekers to discuss their exact circumstances with Centrelink when contemplating actual income and the impacts it may have on their payments and associated benefits such as pension card or health care card. Job seekers should be encouraged to contact Centrelink Employment Services on 132 850 or to visit their nearest Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Do people with disability need to inform employers about their disability?
Disclosure is a choice job seekers make and is not something providers can enforce. There are times when it is strongly advisable to encourage job seekers to disclose information about their disability so that you can put the right supports in place. In these circumstances it is vital to stress the importance of disclosure to the job seeker, however the person always retains the right to describe what is said to employers.
The only occasion where you can breach privacy and disclose without permission is in the event that there is an work health and safety risk to the job seeker or to others (see Related Links for more information on Privacy Principle no 2 section 2.1e). If the work health and safety risk is not an immediate threat you should discuss with the job seeker that obligation to disclose may arise if certain circumstances were to occur, rather than breaching privacy. Hopefully this will result in privacy being maintained as with the job seeker’s cooperation the triggering circumstances may be avoided.
The following link provides further information on your rights and responsibilities with disclosure of disability:
Information for job seekers
JobAccess has useful information that can help you prepare and assist job seekers to address any employer concerns. The pages on our website all print out in a user friendly format so that you can hand them to job seekers in hard copy:
- Addressing any employer concerns
- What can an employer ask?
- What do I need to tell my employer about my disability
- Disclosure of disability for the interview
It is also useful to talk to job seekers about the incentives that are available to their potential employer. If they know about these incentives they can discuss them with employers when addressing their concerns. The following page links you to fact sheets for employers about the help and financial incentives that may be available to them: