- aged 16 years or more and under Age Pension age
- permanently blind or have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric impairment
- unable to work, or to be retrained for work, for 15 hours or more per week at or above the relevant minimum wage within the next two years because of your impairment
- have been assessed as having a severe impairment or as having actively participated in a program of support
If you have a hearing or speech impairment, call the TTY service on Freecall 1800 810 586. A TTY phone is required in order to use this service.
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Disability Support Pension
You may receive Disability Support Pension if you have a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition that stops you from working or being retrained for work within the next two years or if you are permanently blind and meet the eligibility requirements.
You may receive Disability Support Pension if you:
- are over 16 years of age and under Age Pension age; and
- meet residence requirements; and
- are permanently blind or have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric impairment of at least 20 points under the impairment tables; and
- are participating in the Supported Wage System, or
- are unable to work or to be retained to work 15 hours or more per week at or above the relevant minimum wage within the next 2 years because of your impairment; and
- have actively participated in a program of support, (not required if you have a severe impairment), and
- meet the income and assets tests for your situation
To assess your eligibility for Disability Support Pension, we usually need a report from your doctor or specialist about your disability, injury or illness. You may also need to have a Job Capacity Assessment. This helps us to determine whether you can work, how much work you can do and how much help you need in order to find and keep a job.
Program of support
A program of support helps you to prepare for, find and keep work, and can include activities such as job search, work experience, rehabilitation or education and training. Depending on your circumstances, we may need evidence about whether you have participated in a program of support such as Disability Employment Services to support your claim.
Payment rates for Disability Support Pension
The payment rates for Disability Support Pension are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year for those over 21 or under 21 with children. The rates are updated on 1 January of each year for those under 21 without children.
The rate of Disability Support Pension may be affected by your or your partner’s income and assets.
|Maximum payment rates of the Disability Support Pension if you are over 21, or under 21 with children||Maximum rate per fortnight|
|A member of a couple||$577.40 each or
|Couple separated due to ill health||$766.00 each|
|If you are under 21 with no children||Maximum rate per fortnight|
|single, under 18, at home||$345.00|
|single, under 18, independent||$532.60|
|single, 18–20 years, at home||$391.00|
|single, 18–20 years, independent||$532.60|
|A member of a couple, up to age 20||$532.60|
These amounts exclude the Pension Supplement, a fortnightly payment additional to the base pension. The maximum rates of Pension Supplement for singles over 21 and for each member of a couple over 21 separated due to ill health is $62.90 a fortnight, and for couples both over 21 is $94.80 a fortnight combined.
These amounts include the Youth Disability Supplement, a fortnightly payment additional to the base pension for persons under 21. The maximum rate of Youth Disability Supplement is $118.20 a fortnight.
Transitional rate of pension
The transitional rate of pension is a special rate for people who would have received a lower pension because of income test changes in 2009.
You are automatically paid the transitional rate of pension if your rate has always been higher than the rate introduced in 2009.
Calculating the transitional rate
Your transitional pension rate is compared to the rate of the pension you would receive under the current income test. You will keep receiving the transitional rate while it is more than the current rate. As soon as the current rate is the same or more than your transitional rate, you will be paid under the current means test. You will no longer be eligible for the transitional rate.
Losing the transitional rate
Changes like having more or less income can alter the amount of your pension payment. You cannot go back to your transitional rate if you start receiving the current rate because of a change in your circumstances.
It is important to understand what effect a brief change, like earning more or less employment income, may have on your pension. A Customer Service Officer or Financial Information Service Officer can explain the likely outcomes to you.
Income and assets tests for Disability Support Pension
You can earn a certain amount of income before your Disability Support Pension payment is affected. Read information about the Income test for pensions.
An asset is any property or possession you partly or fully own. It includes assets held outside Australia and debts owing to you. See information about the Assets test for pensions.
If you are in severe financial hardship but do not meet the eligibility criteria, we will help you by assessing your financial situation and assets differently. Read more about hardship provisions.
If you are permanently blind
If you are permanently blind, you may not be subject to the income or assets test unless:
- you are claiming Rent Assistance
- your partner claims an income support payment
Your parents’ income and assets do not affect payment rates. If you get Worker’s Compensation or Third Party damages, it may affect your payment.
Residence requirements for Disability Support Pension
To be eligible for Disability Support Pension you must satisfy residence requirements. You must:
- be an Australian resident, and
- be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim
You also need to have been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 10 years, or for a number of periods that total more than ten years, with one of the periods being at least five years, unless:
- you are a refugee or former refugee, or
- your inability to work or blindness happened while you were an Australian resident, or
- you were a dependent child of an Australian resident at the time your inability to work or blindness happened and you became an Australian resident while you were a dependent child
You may need to meet the above residence requirements for as long as you get this payment.
If you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, it may help you meet these residence requirements.
Other benefits while receiving Disability Support Pension
If you have a disability, illness or injury and you receive Disability Support Pension, you may also qualify for other payments and services such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- complete your forms
- complete the supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Disability Support Pension
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
We do regular reviews to make sure that you continue to be eligible for payments and that your rate of payment is correct.
Allowable working hours while receiving Disability Support Pension
Disability Support Pension customers can work for up to 30 hours a week and continue to receive a part pension, as long as you still meet the income test.
If you work for 30 hours or more, your payments will be stopped. If you reduce your work hours within two years, contact us, and we can check whether your payment can start again.
Pensioner Concession Card
While you are receiving Disability Support Pension, you are automatically entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card. You can still use your Pensioner Concession Card for up to 12 months even if your income reduces your Disability Support Pension payment to zero.
If you return to work, you need to let us know
If you are not working at the moment and you start working, you will need to contact us. If you are working and you increase your hours or your income changes, you need to let us know.
If your Disability Support Pension is currently suspended or cancelled due to a return to work, but you are working less than 30 hours per week, contact us, and we will check whether you are eligible for a part pension.
If you start work or increase your working hours we will carry out an income test. This will allow us to work out if your payment will change.
If your circumstances stay the same, you do not need to do anything.
Participation requirements for Disability Support Pension
Disability Support Pension customers who are under 35 years of age and have been assessed as having some capacity for activities may need to meet with us for regular participation interviews.
Advance payment options
You may be eligible to receive part of your Centrelink payment in advance. Accessing an advance payment depends on the type of payment you receive, how long you have been receiving it and the amount that you receive.
Payments paid while outside Australia
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for that payment.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
If you would prefer to have someone else handle your business with us, you can authorise a person or an organisation to deal with us on your behalf.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly in certain circumstances.
News for people with disability
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Disability Champion videos
Watch videos featuring our Disability Champions who share their stories and achievements with us. These Disability Champions talk about the inspiring things they have done with their lives, and how they have managed their disability while achieving their goals.
Skills for Education and Employment
A program to help develop speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills to improve the chances of getting and keeping a job.
Read more about Skills for Education and Employment.