Disability Support Pension 2023

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Disability Support Pension criteria, Payment Rates, Medical and non-medical rules to comply, Application form, New Pension Rates 2023

A guide to Disability Support Pension 

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a crucial social security program in Australia that provides financial assistance to individuals with a disability, injury, or illness that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful employment. Administered by the Australian government’s Department of Social Services, the DSP aims to support and enhance the quality of life for those who face significant barriers to participation in the workforce due to their disabilities.

To get DSP, you need to meet both non-medical rules and medical rules:

Non – Medical Rules

The non-medical rules you need to meet are:

Age Requirements
  • You must be at least 15 years and 9 months and under Age Pension Age which is calculated below –
  • 65 years and 6 months, if you were born between 1 July 1952 and 31 December 1953
  • 66 years, if you were born between 1 January 1954 and 30 June 1955
  • 66 years and 6 months, if you were born between 1 July 1955 and 31 December 1956
  • 67 years, if you were born on or after 1 January 1957.
Residency Requirements
  • On the day you claim , You must be residing in Australia and being physically present within the country as an Australian resident.
  • You generally need to have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years in total. For at least 5 of these years, there must be no break in your residence. 
  • If you’re a refugee or former refugee you are exempt from the 10 year rule.
  • If you’ve lived or worked in an agreement country, you may be able to get Disability Support Pension. Read about which countries have agreements with us.
Income and Assets Rules
  • Your and your partner’s income from all sources will be assessed. This includes wages, commissions, real estate income, superannuation and more. 
  • Normally your gross income will be asked. If you own a business or rental property, you will be asked for either income tax return or profit and loss statement or both.
  • Your assets include any property or possessions you own in full, in part, or have an interest in. This includes both assets held outside Australia and debts owed to you.
  • To work out how much income your financial assets produce, deeming is used. 
  • If your income in a fortnight goes over the cutoff point, you will be paid $0 for that fortnight.
Your situationIncome cut off point
21 or older, single$2,332.00
21 or older, couple living together$3,568.00 combined
21 or older, couple living apart due to ill health$4,616.00 combined
18 to 20, single, no children, at home$1,298.80
16 to 17, single, no children, at home$1,184.40
16 to 20, single, no children, independent$1,650.60
16 to 20, couple, no children$3,240.00 combined
If your income in a fortnight goes over above cutoff points, you will be paid $0.

Medical Rules

To get DSP, you need to meet either of the medical rules:

  • manifest medical rules
  • general medical rules.
Manifest Medical Rules

First, check if you meet any of the manifest medical rules. A condition will meet the manifest medical rules if any of the following apply:

  • you are permanently blind
  • you need nursing home level care.
  • you have a terminal illness with average life expectancy of less than 2 years
  • you have an intellectual disability with an IQ of less than 70
  • you have category 4 HIV/AIDS
  • you get a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Disability Compensation Payment at the Special Rate (totally and permanently incapacitated) paid under the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986.
General Medical Rules

The general medical rules are:

  • your condition is likely to persist for more than 2 years.
  • your condition is diagnosed, reasonably treated and stabilized. Your medical evidence will need to show both of the following:
    • details of any treatment
    • that a qualified health professional has diagnosed your condition.
  • you have an impairment rating of 20 points or more.
  • your condition will stop you working at least 15 hours a week in the next 2 years.

Payment Rates

Payment rates are updated for Disability Support Pension on 20 March and 20 September each year if you’re either:

  • 21 and older, with or without children
  • younger than 21 with a child in your care.
Maximum payment rates

If you’re 21 or older with or without children, or younger than 21 with a child in your care

Pension rates per fortnightSingleCouple eachCouple combinedCouple each
separated due to ill health
Maximum basic rate$971.50$732.30$1,464.60$971.50
Maximum Pension Supplement
Energy Supplement
Payment rates if you’re 21 or older with or without children, or younger than 21 with a child in your care

If you’re younger than 21 and don’t have any dependent children in your care, there are different rates. In this case, the amount of DSP you get depends on whether you are assessed as dependent or independent.

Your situationMaximum rate per fortnight
Single, younger than 18, and dependent
Single, younger than 18, and independent
Single, 18 to 20, and dependent
Single, 18 to 20, and independent
A couple, and younger than 21$707.60
Payment rates if you’re younger than 21 and don’t have any dependent child.

How to claim DSP

There are several ways to claim the DSP.

  • If you use myGov, you may make an application online via your myGov account.
  • If you do not use myGov, you may download the application form here.
  • You may also ask Centrelink for the application form, either in person or over the phone.

When you are ready to apply, you can submit your application online, in person, or using the post.

It is important you include all your supporting evidence with your application, including any medical evidence you have gathered.

Pension Increase from 20 March 2023

Disability Support Pension will increase by $37.50 a fortnight for singles and $56.40 a fortnight for couples combined.

The increase to the Disability Support Pension applies to customers who are either:

  • older than 21 years of age
  • younger than 21 and caring for a dependent child.

You don’t need to do anything, it will happen automatically.

The rates for these payments are reviewed in March and September each year.

If you’ve made it this far, don’t miss the opportunity to read about Australian government’s updated Disability Employment Services Quality Framework.

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