Disability consultation urged

PEOPLE living with disability should be consulted before any changes to the Disability Support Pension, according to Tasmanian disability advocates.

Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has flagged that independent doctors may be used to examine disability pensioners and assess whether they should continue to receive payments, following a review of Australia's welfare system.

The comments by Mr Andrews on Easter Sunday sparked concern within disability groups.

Tasmanian Disability Lobby convenor Jane Wardlaw had a message for those behind the review.

"Make sure you actually consult with people living with disabilities," Ms Wardlaw said.

"Our perspectives will help you form fair policy."

Ms Wardlaw said any reviews should be conducted with a view to making the system fairer, and not discriminating against those living with severe disability.

Mr Andrews said the reassessments would be part of a targeted program to get people living with disabilities back to work, saying "the best form of welfare is work".

"Make sure you actually consult with people living with disabilities" - Jane Wardlaw

But Ms Wardlaw said for that to happen, there needed to be more resources and tools to help people get into the workforce.

"The National Disability Insurance Scheme will provide the tools people need so they can participate in the workforce," she said.

"Let's continue to invest in the NDIS and get full scheme implementation here in Tasmania on time and on budget."

An interim report on the welfare review, conducted by former Mission Australia chief executive Patrick McClure, is due to be released publicly in the next few weeks.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy said assessment by independent doctors was not warranted.

"There are already hurdles for people to overcome in order to qualify for the DSP - it seems odd to target people who are genuinely in need," Mr Reidy said.

"Introducing another level of compliance is unjust and not warranted.

"It shows the government has an attitude of tackling budget shortfalls by targeting those who are the most needy in our society."

Mr Reidy said recipients of the DSP peaked in the mid 2000s and had fallen in each of the past two years as eligibility was tightened.

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