Australian Government Proposes Taking Welfare from Psychiatric Patients


Green Party Senator Rachel Siewert calls “insidious” an Australian government plan to take income support away from anyone undergoing confinement in a psychiatric facility.

“We must be clear, the people who will be affected by this measure are not prisoners, or criminals, they are patients,” writes Siewert on Pro Bono Australia. “They are not in confinement for punishment and have not been convicted of a crime, for [Liberal Minister for Social Services] Scott Morrison to paint this group as a hideous group deserving of stripped down support, is incredibly cruel and reverses centuries of law.”

Update: Other media in Australia have reported that, contrary to Siewart’s assertion, the proposal is to take welfare payments away only from forensic psychiatric patients, not all psychiatric patients.

Changes to Psychiatric Confinement Payments ÔÇśInsidiousÔÇÖ (Pro Bono Australia, June 2, 2015)

Mental health, legal aid groups alarmed by proposed welfare cuts for psychiatric patients accused of serious crimes (ABC News, May 21, 2015)

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  1. Wow, they let psychiatric prisoners collect welfare checks over there? Are you telling me they can be in the “hospital” for 6 months, get out, go to the bank and have thousands of dollars waiting for them in back-pay? In the U.S., SSI gets taken away all the time. Go a penny over the $2,000 resource limit: No SSI for this month. Spend a night in the county jail: No SSI for this month. Fail to report a change in your living situation: Lose your SSI for 5 years.

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