What is the Disability Support Pension (DSP)?
The Disability Support Pension (DSP) aims to provide a level of support to people whose physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment prevents them from working. This pension is also payable to people who are permanently blind. The rate of DSP and the income and assets tests are the same as for the Age Pension; and likewise, the benefit payment is administered by Centrelink.
Recipients of DSP will also be eligible to receive the pharmaceutical allowance, unless they are located overseas.
What eligibility conditions apply?
You may get Disability Support Pension if you:
- are between 16 and age pension age
- meet residency requirements
- meet income and assets tests, and
- have a permanent and diagnosed disability or medical condition, or
- get a Department of Veterans’ Affairs special rate disability pension due to total and permanent incapacity
You may need to show you:
- have done a Program of Support, and
- can’t work, or retrain to work, for at least 15 hours a week in the next 2 years
The same general Australian residency requirements apply as are required to be eligible for the Age Pension. Payments can commence immediately if incapacitated while an Australian resident or during temporary absence. DSP may also be paid for up to 26 weeks of temporary overseas absence or indefinitely if severely disabled.
Where the DSP recipient continues to live with their parents, the parents’ assets and income levels do not impact the DSP payment amounts.
Consequences of partial eligibility:
In order to claim Disability Support Pension a person must broadly be incapable of 15 hours of work at award wages.
Individuals assessed as being capable of between 15 and 30 hours of work will only be eligible for Newstart Allowance. They will be obliged to seek part-time work of at least 15 hours per week. People on Disability Support Pension as at 10 May 2005 will be subject to periodic reviews based on the old criteria of 30 hours per week.
People claiming Disability Support Pension after 30 June 2006 will be based on the criteria of 15 hours. If they are assessed as being capable of at least 15 hours of work they will be transferred to Newstart and be obliged to seek part-time work.
Enquiries regarding the possibility of eligibility for the DSP and/ or initiating a claim for this benefit should be raised through this Services Australia web page.
We acknowledge the resources of Securitor Financial Group Limited in drafting the majority of the detail in the above article: it has been extracted from the Support Information to advice documents.
(This article was originally posted in January 2010: it has been occasionally refreshed or updated, most recently in December 2021.)