Social Security Rights Victoria: Fighting for a fair and just social security system

September 11, 2023 |

In 1987, the Welfare Rights Unit, now Social Security Rights Victoria, was founded to meet demand for a Community Legal Centre that specialised in issues relating to social security legislation and its impact on Victorians experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage. Informed by the experience of the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Unemployment Rights Service, funding was sought from government and philanthropy to establish a service that provided assistance for individuals in need, educated the community on their rights, and advocated for systemic change.

Thirty-six years later, Social Security Rights Victoria continues to fight for a fair and just social security system.  

Social Security Rights Victoria work is the provision of support for people seeking to access the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and challenge Centrelink decisions.  

Demonstrating eligibility for the DSP can be challenging, as the eligibility criteria is strict and complicated to navigate. In response, in 2020 Social Security Rights Victoria launched DSP Help. DSP Help is a free online resource to help DSP applicants and the people who support them to access payments. It helps people understand payments and eligibility criteria, while providing guidance on how to approach an application and obtain suitable medical evidence. Funded by Victorian Legal Services Board Grants Program, the DSP Help program drew on Social Security Rights Victoria specialist legal expertise and uses human-centred design and technology to improve access to justice. 

Since its launch, more than 80,000 people have accessed the DSP Help website, 8,000 people have used the medical evidence chatbot, and more than 5,000 people have created customised medical evidence kits to support their application or appeal. In addition to developing and promoting the online resource, SSRV delivered legal services to individuals, contributed to related law reform and policy activities, and offered secondary consultation services and training opportunities to other professionals to help build their knowledge and confidence in this area. 

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