Getting help to find work

There’s support available if you want to work while getting Disability Support Pension (DSP) and need help to find or keep a job.

If you’re getting DSP, you can choose to do paid work. Working can give you opportunities to gain and develop new skills. If you do work, make sure that you’re aware of the rules if you work while getting DSP.

Employment Services Assessment

People with disability can experience barriers to work. You may be facing challenges in getting or keeping a job.

You can ask for an Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) if you either:

  • need extra help to find work
  • have had a change in your medical conditions or work capacity.

This assessment helps us understand all of the following:

  • your barriers to work
  • your capacity to work due to disability, illness or injury
  • what type of employment services provider is best for you.

Your employment services provider can refer you for an ESAt or you can ask us to refer you.

You won’t lose your DSP as a result of this assessment. It’s to help you find work and to voluntarily connect with an employment services provider.

Employment Services Providers

If you’re looking for work, there are 3 main types of employment help available:

  • Disability Employment Services (DES)
  • Workforce Australia
  • Community Development Program.

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services providers can help you find and keep a job. We can refer you to a provider if you’re eligible. The provider may ask if you need to attend an Employment Services Assessment with us.

Work Assist

Disability Employment Services also has a free program called Work Assist. It can help if you’re at risk of losing your job due to illness, injury or disability. The program will help you with things like special equipment or workplace adjustments.

Workforce Australia

You can look for work by registering on the Workforce Australia website. It provides access to a range of tools and resources to assist with online learning and job matching.

Community Development Program

If you live in a remote area, the Community Development Program (CDP) may be able to help you. It supports job seekers in remote areas to build skills, address barriers and contribute to their communities. Read more about the Community Development Program on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

Help and referrals

The type of help you’ll get from a Disability Employment Service, Workforce Australia or CDP provider, depends on your circumstances. The provider will review how much support you need to increase your ability to get and keep a job. We can assess this with an Employment Services Assessment.

If you’re with a provider, they may refer you to other structured programs of employment support.

You may benefit from a Program of Support through an employment services provider. This helps people with disability to prepare for, find and keep a job, including any of the following:

  • job preparation and job search
  • work experience, training and study
  • injury management.

You can increase your ability to work through participation activities such as:

  • working in supported employment
  • reskilling, retraining or studying
  • volunteer work.

DSP participation requirements for under 35s

If you’re under 35 years of age, you may need to take part in study, work or volunteer activities. You’ll have a compulsory work-focused activity designed to help you prepare for and find work. You’ll meet regularly with your employment services provider to track your progress and get help and support. Read more about what you need to do to meet participation requirements if you’re under 35.

Supported employment

Supported employment can help people with disability participate in the workforce. This includes the Supported Wage System, Australian Disability Enterprises and Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support.

Supported Wage System (SWS)

Most people with disability who work do so in open employment at full rates of pay. However, some people may be unable to find or keep a job at full wage rates. SWS is a special workplace arrangement. It allows employers to pay wages to a person with disability, based on how productive they are in their job.

If you have an employment services provider, ask them if a potential employer is part of the Supported Wage System. Read about the Supported Wage System on the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Australian Disability Enterprises

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) offers supported employment for people with disability. You can get support to work, develop new skills and participate in your community.

Some jobs that might be available under the ADE include any of the following:

  • scanning
  • packaging
  • recycling
  • plant nursery, gardening or landscaping
  • cleaning
  • food services.

You can find more information on ADEs on the BuyAbility website and you can search for ADEs by name, location, or business type.

Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support

The Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support Program assists employers who employ apprentices with disability.

Read more about Supported Employment on the Department of Social Services website.

Job search and financial help

There’s a range of services to help you with your job search. This includes JobAccess, Employment Assistance Fund, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Self-Employment Assistance can help you set up a new business or support an existing micro-business.

Read more about Self-Employment Assistance on the Workforce Australia website.

You can also read more about job search and financial help while you look for a job.

Training and reskilling

Further study or volunteer work can help you change your job or gain new skills. Read more about training and reskilling.

Other support and advice

There’s other support and advice available if you need help to find work while getting DSP. You can also get advice about your employment rights.

Page last updated: 3 January 2024.
QC 61759