Disability Support Pension
Financial support for people who have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working or people who are permanently blind.
- aged between 16 years of age and Age Pension age, and either
- permanently blind, or
- have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric impairment, and
- 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 2 years because of the impairment
- have been assessed as having a severe impairment or as having actively participated in a Program of Support
Eligibility & payment rates
You may receive Disability Support Pension if you:
- are aged between 16 years and age pension age
- meet the residency requirements
- meet the income and assets tests for your situation
- are permanently blind
or all of the following:
- are assessed as having a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment,
- are unable to work, or be retrained for work, for 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, or completed, a Program of Support if required
To assess your eligibility for Disability Support Pension, we need medical evidence to help us understand your disability, injury or illness. You may need to attend an assessment with a Job Capacity Assessor and government-contracted doctor. This helps us determine whether you can work, how much work you can do and how much help you need to find and keep a job.
Your medical condition must be fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised to be assessed for Disability Support Pension.
To determine whether your condition has been fully diagnosed and treated, we will consider:
- whether your condition was examined by a qualified medical practitioner
- whether there is supporting evidence of that condition
- what treatment or rehabilitation has occurred in relation to the condition, and
- whether treatment is continuing or is planned in the next 2 years
A condition is considered fully stabilised if you have:
- undertaken reasonable treatment for the condition and any further treatment is unlikely to result in significant functional improvement to a level enabling you to undertake work in the next 2 years, or
- not undertaken reasonable treatment and either:
- significant functional improvement to a level enabling you to work in the next 2 years is not expected, or
- there are medical or other compelling reasons for you not to undertake reasonable treatment
A Program of Support is a Commonwealth Government funded program to help you prepare for, find or maintain work.
Depending on your medical condition, we may require specific medical evidence to assess your eligibility for Disability Support Pension.
To help us work out the best employment services program or other assistance for you, we may refer you for an Employment Services Assessment or if claiming Disability Support Pension, a Job Capacity Assessment.
The payment rates for Disability Support Pension are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year for those 21 years of age and over or under 21 years of age with children.
The rates are updated on 1 January of each year for those under 21 years of age without children.
The rate of Disability Support Pension paid may be affected by your or your partner’s income and assets.
|Pension rates per fortnight||Single||Couple each||Couple combined||Couple each,
separated due to ill health
|Maximum basic rate||$788.40||$594.30||$1,188.60||$788.40|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$64.50||$48.60||$97.20||$64.50|
|If you are under 21 years of age with no children||Maximum rate per fortnight|
|single, under 18 years of age, at home||$360.60|
|single, under 18 years of age, independent||$556.70|
|single, 18-20 years of age, at home||$408.70|
|single, 18-20 years of age, independent||$556.70|
|a member of a couple, up to age 20 years of age||$556.70|
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 submit 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 10 years, with 1 of the periods being at least 5 years, unless:
- you are a refugee or former refugee
- your inability to work or permanent 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 permanent blindness happened and you became an Australian resident while you were a dependent child
You may need to meet the above residence requirements for the period you get this payment.
You may also meet the residence requirements if you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an International Social Security Agreement.
The amount of Disability Support Pension you receive will depend on your income and assets.
You can earn a certain amount of income before your Disability Support Pension payment is affected. Read more 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. Read more 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, or
- 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.
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 will remain on the transitional rate while it is higher than the rate you would be paid under the current income test.
Changes, such as losing a job or an extra day’s pay one fortnight, can result in your transitional rate of pension no longer being higher than the current rate.
While you receive the transitional rate, it is compared to the rate of pension you would receive under the current income test. You are no longer eligible for the transitional rate when the current rate of pension is the same or more than your transitional rate.
You cannot go back to your transitional rate if you start receiving the current rate.
A Service Officer or Financial Information Service officer can explain what effect a brief change may have on your pension, for example an increase or decrease in your employment income.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- contact the department to discuss claiming Disability Support Pension
- read the conditions for claiming and watch the video
- complete your forms
- obtain medical evidence
- complete the supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will then assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
If you do not tell us when your circumstances change, you may be doing the wrong thing.
For example, not telling us 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
Doing the right thing is easy:
- tell us about any changes to your circumstances within 14 days
- regularly check that your information is up to date through your myGov account
It is never too late to report a change. By telling us about any changes today, we can help make sure you receive the correct payment.
If you have received payments you are not eligible for, you may have to repay the amount plus a recovery fee. Having to repay a debt may be difficult but choosing not to tell us your circumstances change could lead to far more serious consequences.
If you deliberately do not tell us when your circumstances change, you could be committing fraud. Read more about how to avoid committing fraud.
We do regular reviews to make sure that you continue to be eligible for payments and that your rate of payment is correct.
If you receive Disability Support Pension, you 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 2 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 commence work, increase your hours or your income changes, you will need to let us know. We will assess your income and work out if your payment will change.
If you are under 35 years of age and receive Disability Support Pension, you will need to attend regular participation interviews with us.
You may be eligible to receive part of your income support payment in advance depending on how long you have been getting it and the amount that you get.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Disability Support Pension.
If you want someone else to handle your Centrelink, Child Support or Medicare business, you can authorise them to deal with us on your behalf.
You may be eligible to receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly, in certain circumstances.
Each year in August and February we may review your account-based pension, account-based annuity and market-linked income streams.
How much you earn affects your payment. We need to know what you have earned each fortnight so you are paid the right amount.
To help us determine if you are eligible for Disability Support Pension we may refer you for a Disability Medical Assessment conducted by a Government-contracted doctor.
Disability Support Pension can continue to be paid to people who are over age pension age.
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Watch videos featuring our Disability Champions who share their stories and achievements with us.
A program to help develop speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills to improve the chances of you getting and keeping a job.
Read more about Skills for Education and Employment.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
- Centrelink online accounts
- Child Dental Benefits Schedule
- Energy Supplement
- Mobility Allowance
- Pension Supplement
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Pensioner Education Supplement
- Pharmaceutical Allowance
- Rent Assistance
- Rent Deduction Scheme
- Schoolkids Bonus
- Skills for Education and Employment
- Telephone Allowance
- Utilities Allowance
- Youth Disability Supplement