Reduced capacity

If you have a medical condition that affects your ability to work, you’ll need to tell us. You may have a reduced capacity to work but we’ll need to assess this.

A reduced capacity means you can’t work at least 30 hours a week. This may be due to an ongoing medical condition. This can result in you not being able to meet some or all of your mutual obligation requirements.

If you’re not able to work due to a medical condition, you’ll need to tell us. We may either:

  • give you an exemption, if you have a medical certificate
  • ask you to attend an assessment to determine your work capacity.

If you have medical evidence, you need to give that to us before your assessment. You’ll need to attend appointments and meet your compulsory requirements unless we give you an exemption.

During your assessment we’ll decide if your capacity is either a:

  • partial capacity to work
  • temporary reduced capacity to work.

This assessment will take place during an interview in either:

If you’ve already had an assessment to determine your capacity to work within the past 2 years, that assessment will be valid for 2 years. You won’t need to do a new one until the period of 2 years has expired unless your circumstances change. The assessment report will confirm what you need to do. It will also confirm if you’re exempt from some or all of your mutual obligation requirements.

What is a partial capacity to work

A partial capacity to work can result from either:

  • an ongoing but temporary medical condition, such as when you’re getting treatment for an injury or illness
  • a permanent medical condition.

This condition can prevent you from either:

  • working at or above the National Minimum wage of at least 30 hours per week
  • undertaking training for your work.

If we assess your work capacity to be between 0-29 hours per week, you’ll have a partial capacity to work.

What you need to do if you have a partial capacity to work

If we assess your work capacity to be between 0-14 hours per week, you’ll need to:

  • attend quarterly participation interview appointments
  • negotiate a Job Plan with us.

If we assess your work capacity to be between 15-29 hours per week you must:

  • meet your mutual obligation requirements by participating in the compulsory requirements set out in your Job Plan
  • connect regularly with your employment services provider, if you have one
  • go to any appointments we tell you to attend.

You can meet your requirements by participating in the approved activities in your Job Plan.

For example, approved activities for a young job seeker, up to 20 years old could include doing a combination of paid work and study. The combined time spent on these activities need to be at least 15 hours per week.

If you’re in paid employment, you need to:

  • work hours that match your assessed capacity
  • be earning income that is equal to, or above, the National Minimum Wage.

You can read more about the National Minimum Wage on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.

If we assess that you have a partial capacity to work, you’ll be eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card.

What is a temporary reduced work capacity

A temporary reduced work capacity means you:

  • have been assessed as being temporarily unable to work due to a medical condition
  • are unable to work at least 30 hours per week.

What you need to do if you have a temporary capacity to work

If your temporary reduced work capacity is between 0-14 hours per week and for a period longer than 12 weeks, you‘ll need to:

  • negotiate a Job Plan with us
  • attend any appointments we ask you to attend.

What other reduced capacity assessments may apply

In certain situations, an assessor may determine that you have both a partial and temporary reduced capacity. This could be a temporary reduced work capacity of 0-7 hours per week while you’re getting medical treatment. However, when you’re finished this treatment you may revert to having a partial capacity to work of 15-22 hours per week.

For example, you may be assessed as having a temporary reduced work capacity while you are undergoing and recovering from surgery. You may be assessed as having a partial capacity to work after this treatment. This is because your ongoing medical condition continues to limit your ability to work at least 30 hours per week.

What you need to do if you have both a partial and a temporary capacity to work

If your temporary reduced work capacity is between 0-14 hours per week and for a period longer than 12 weeks, you‘ll need to:

  • negotiate a Job Plan with us
  • go to any appointments we ask you to attend.

Once the period of your temporary reduced work capacity ends, your partial capacity to work assessment will affect what you need to do.

If we assess your work capacity to be between 0-14 hours per week, you’ll need to:

  • negotiate a Job Plan with us
  • attend quarterly participation interview appointments.

If we assess your work capacity to be between 15-29 hours per week you must:

  • meet your mutual obligation requirements by participating in the compulsory requirements set out in your Job Plan
  • connect regularly with your employment services provider, if you have one
  • go to any appointments we tell you to attend.

What is a quarterly participation interview

A quarterly participation interview is an appointment where we discuss how to improve your capacity to work.

Unless you have an exemption, you’ll need to attend these appointments if your assessed reduced capacity will:

  • last for more than 12 weeks
  • allow you to work less than 15 hours per week
  • prevent you from meeting all your requirements through paid work or self-employment.

At the appointment, we’ll discuss:

  • your current circumstances
  • support you to increase your capacity to take part in the workforce
  • any other activities you may want to do.

Together, we’ll review or renew your Job Plan to ensure your requirements are relevant for your current circumstances.

Page last updated: 23 May 2023.
QC 64898