Before claiming

We can help you work out if you may be able to get Disability Support Pension (DSP).

1: Before you start a claim

This guide can help you understand the rules for DSP and decide whether to make a claim.

It will ask you a question and, based on your answer, show you another question or result.

2: Do you meet the age rules?

You must be aged from 16 up to Age Pension age.

If you don’t know what the Age Pension age is, read about who can get it.

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

3: You may not be able to get DSP

Your age means you may not be eligible.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes Age Pension when you reach Age Pension age.

If you're in severe financial hardship, read about Special Benefit.

4: Do you meet residence rules for DSP?

You must meet 1 of the following:

  • you lived in Australia for at least 10 years in total, including 5 years in a row
  • you are a refugee or former refugee
  • you lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Australia for DSP
  • you were living in Australia when you became unable to work more than 15 hours a week.

If you’re not sure, read more about residence rules for DSP and the countries we have social security agreements with.

These links will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

5: You may not be able to get DSP

You may not meet residence rules for DSP.

You can find out more about residence requirements for other payments. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

6: Is your income under the cut-off point?

You can earn income up to the cut-off point for your situation. If you have a partner, we assess you and your partner's combined income. Your income needs to be under the cut off point for your payment and situation.

7: You may not be able to get DSP

You won't be eligible if your income reaches the cut-off point.

You can use our Payment and Service Finder to help find payments you may be able to get.

8: Do you meet any of the following manifest medical rules?

These rules are:

  • 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 (VEA).

If you’re not sure, read more about manifest medical rules.

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

9: Do you have a disability or medical condition that is likely to persist for more than 2 years?

If you’re not sure, read more about the general medical rules.

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

10: You may not be able to get DSP

You aren't eligible if your disability or medical condition isn't likely to persist for more than 2 years.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

11: Is your condition diagnosed?

Your condition needs to be diagnosed by a qualified health professional.

Some conditions have specific diagnosis requirements. If you’re not sure, you can read more about:

These links will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

12: You may not be able to get DSP

If your condition is not diagnosed, you may not be eligible.

Talk to us about your options if you can't get a diagnosis. Call the disability and carers line.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

13: Will your condition stop you working in the next 2 years?

This means your condition will stop you working at least 15 hours a week in the next 2 years.

Consider if you may be able to work more with the help of:

  • medical treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • training
  • employment services.

You can read more about how we assess your ability to work.

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

14: You may not be able to get DSP

You may not be eligible if you can work at least 15 hours per week in the next 2 years.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

15: Can you get medical evidence?

You need to include medical evidence from your treating health professionals when you submit your claim.

Your medical evidence must tell us:

  • your diagnosed disability or medical conditions
  • past, current and planned treatment
  • if your condition will improve, stay the same, or get worse
  • how your condition impacts you day to day
  • the names and contact details of your treating doctors.

If you’re not sure, you can read more about medical evidence. This includes the conditions where you need to give us specific medical evidence.

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

16: You may not be able to get DSP

We may reject your claim if either:

  • you don't give us medical evidence with your claim
  • your evidence doesn't show the information we need.

Some conditions need specific medical evidence.

If you can't get evidence, talk to us about your options. Call us on the Disability, sickness and carers line or visit a service centre.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This may include:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

These links will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return to this screen by going back in your browser.

17: Have you claimed DSP before?

This may be because:

  • we rejected your claim
  • your DSP payment was cancelled.

This doesn't include a DSP claim that you started but didn't submit.

18: You may be eligible

If we rejected your DSP claim in the last 13 weeks, you can contact us to discuss.

If your situation has changed, you may want to claim again. For any new claim, we assess your current circumstances and the evidence you submit.

Before you start another claim, check the eligibility and evidence requirements. These include:

  • non-medical rules
  • medical rules
  • how we assess your claim
  • impairment rating
  • medical evidence
  • Program of Support.

If you think you may be able to get DSP now, read more about claiming DSP again.

19: You may be eligible

Before you claim, check the eligibility and evidence requirements. These include:

  • non-medical rules
  • medical rules
  • how we assess your claim
  • impairment rating
  • medical evidence
  • Program of Support.

If you think you may be able to get DSP, you can start your claim.

Keep in mind, this doesn't guarantee your claim will be successful.

Contact numbers available on this page.

Disability, sickness and carers line

Use this line if you need help with your Disability Support Pension, Mobility Allowance, Carer Payment or Carer Allowance.

Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm

There are other ways you may want to contact us.

Page last updated: 20 December 2022.
QC 51858