The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a financial payment available from the Department of Human Services to people who have an impairment which impacts on their ability to find and keep work.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be aged between 16 years old to pension age;
  • Meet the residency requirements and income and assets test; and
  • Be permanently blind; or
  • Have a diagnosed impairment, and
  • Be unable to work for more than 15 hours per week over the next 2 years, and
  • Your impairment is seen as severe OR you have participated in a Program of Support.

Intent to Claim
You will be required to lodge an ‘Intent to Claim.’ This is your way of informing Centrelink that you wish to apply. You will be given a set time to complete the “Claim for Disability Support Pension” form. If you complete the forms in the given time and are eligible, you will get back paid to that date.

The form can be found on Centrelink’s web site at – https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/claiming-disability-support-pension

If you need some assistance, someone at a Centrelink office will be able to help you get the forms or you can lodge the request through your Centrelink online account.

There may be other forms you will need to hand in e.g. information about your income and assets.

What information should you provide?
Along with the form it is beneficial to provide more information about your impairment and how it affects you in your daily life from your doctors and specialists.

The information that may be helpful to include:

  • Time you have spent in hospital;
  • Reports from specialists;
  • Past treatment you have received;
  • Future treatment you may require

Job Capacity Assessment                                                                                                                                      

In most cases once you have handed in your DSP forms and any medical information, you will be contacted by Centrelink to attend a Job Capacity Assessment.

You will meet with someone called an assessor. They work for Centrelink and have an allied health background. This means they will be someone like a psychologist, occupational therapist or social worker. You are able to bring someone with you to the Assessment for support. If you do not have support from a family member, friend or carer you can be assisted by a Disability Advocate.

The assessor will have a discussion with you about your impairment/s and how it impacts your day-to-day living. It is good to have a think of the assistance you receive or need from other people e.g. your family, carers and paid supports with activities like self-care, looking after your home and how you get around your home and community.

It is your opportunity to discuss the reasons why due to your impairment/s you cannot work 15 hours or more per week.

Impairment Points                                                                                                                                                 

Your impairment needs to be seen as permanent. To have a permanent impairment the assessor must consider whether it has been Fully Diagnosed, Treated and Stabilised:

  • Fully Diagnosed: this means you have provided sufficient evidence from qualified medical practitioner/s to confirm your impairment.
  • Fully Treated: this means all reasonable treatment has been explored and there is no new treatment that will improve your condition.
  • Fully Stabilised: this means you have undergone all treatment options and it is unlikely that your condition will improve within the next 2 years.

If Centrelink need more information about your impairment/s they may contact your medical professionals. Centrelink may also refer you to a government-contracted doctor for a Disability Medical Assessment.

If your condition meets the requirements for fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised, the assessor will then use something called the Impairment Tables. The tables look at different areas of impact that your impairment has on your life. This is called the level of functional impact.  Different tables look at different areas. The assessor will determine which table your impairment fits with and assign a rating between 0 – 30 points. If you have 2 impairments e.g. heart condition and depression, the assessor will assess against 2 tables.

You can view the Impairment Tables by visiting https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2011L02716

Program of support                                                                                                                                                  

If you do not get 20 points or more in one table, you may need to meet other criteria. This may include involvement in a program of support. Programs of support include Disability Employment Services, jobactive services or an Australian Disability Enterprise. These programs are to assist you to build your skills to find and keep a job.

DSP Decision                                                                                                                                                               

Once you have attended the Job Capacity Assessment, the assessor will write a report. The assessor will look at whether they believe you could, with the right type of support, build your employment skills to be able to work 15 years or more within the next 2 years. The report will form the decision as to whether or not you are eligible for DSP. You will be notified in a letter as to whether or not you were successful.

If you would like assistance with the process for DSP please call Midlas on 9250 2123 and book an appointment with a Disability Advocate.

 Midlas Mission: We partner with individuals and organisations to promote independence, strength and wellbeing in our community through support, advocacy and education.