An estimated 2,200 people each year are expected to feel the brunt of the recent crackdown on prisoners receiving disability support pension.

Prisoners that are receiving pensions would only be able to have their payments deferred for 13 weeks – which is down from two years – before the benefits are halted.

The new budget measure was put in place to potentially save $5.2 million over the next five years.

The government is projecting that 10% of people – or 220 per year – would no longer be qualified for the payments after being re-tested after they are freed from incarceration.

Department officials said that people who spend over 13 weeks on remand, but are eventually found not guilty of crimes that they were accused of, could still lose their disability payments.

The government explained that the changes were just aligning the disability support pension to other welfare payments.

However, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert opposed the measure.

“It doesn’t make it right,” Siewert said during a budget estimates hearing on Thursday.

Senator Siewert later labelled the plan as “a continuation of an endless stream of heartless measures.”

“People with disability are disproportionately represented in the justice system. To remove supports when they may not even be found guilty of a crime will make life more difficult for those people. This is all just to scrape back meagre savings,” she added.

Learn more about superannuation and its importance.

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