DSP eligibility rules for health professionals

Eligibility rules to help you advise your patient about Disability Support Pension (DSP). These rules are based on social security laws.

To get Disability Support Pension (DSP), your patient must meet both non-medical and medical rules. Non-medical rules include age, residence and income and assets. Medical rules relate to how your patient’s medical condition affects their ability to work.

To get DSP, your patient needs to meet either manifest medical rules or general medical rules.

They need to provide DSP medical evidence to support their claim.

Non-medical rules

To get DSP, the patient must meet these non-medical rules. They must:

  • be at least 15 years and 9 months and under Age Pension age when they claim
  • meet the residence rules
  • meet the income and assets tests.

If they don’t meet all the non-medical rules, they can’t get DSP.

Your patient can read how to meet all the non-medical rules.

Manifest medical rules

Your patient may get DSP if they have a condition that meets manifest medical rules. They also need to meet non-medical rules.

A condition will meet the manifest medical rules if any of the following apply:

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

We’ll first assess your patient for DSP under the manifest grant guidelines. You can read the definition of manifest grants for the purposes of DSP in the Social Security guide on the Department of Social Services website.

Your patient can read about manifest medical rules.

General medical rules

To get DSP, if your patient’s condition doesn’t meet manifest medical rules, it must meet the general medical rules. Your patient also needs to meet non-medical rules.

To meet general medical rules, your patient must have a disability or medical condition that meets all the following:

  • It’s likely to persist for more than 2 years.
  • They’re diagnosed, reasonably treated and stabilised.
  • They result in an impairment rating of 20 points or more.
  • It’ll stop them working at least 15 hours a week in the next 2 years.

For your patient’s condition to be diagnosed their treating doctor or health professional must have both:

  • examined and diagnosed the condition
  • detailed this in medical evidence.

For your patient’s condition to be reasonably treated, they’ll need to have had appropriate treatment from a treating doctor or health professional. We’ll also check their current treatment and if any further treatment is planned for them.

For your patient’s condition to be stabilised, we’ll assess both:

  • their medical evidence
  • whether their ability to work will get better or stay the same with more treatment or rehabilitation.

They may also need to complete a Program of Support before they can get DSP.

A Program of Support helps people with disability to prepare for, find and keep a job. It may help your patient with any of the following:

  • Job preparation and job search.
  • Work experience and training.
  • Management of their medical condition.

This doesn’t apply if their conditions have at least 20 points under a single Impairment Table. If they do need to meet this requirement, they must have actively participated in the Program of Support.

Read about how we assess your patient’s claim and how we use Impairment Tables to relate to the general medical rules.

If your patient doesn’t meet medical rules, they can’t get DSP. They may be able to get other payments.

Your patient can read about:

Page last updated: 15 June 2024.
QC 74037