Participation requirements

There are participation requirements for some people getting Disability Support Pension (DSP). This is to help you find and keep suitable work.

Participation requirements include activities to help you prepare for and find work. These requirements are flexible. We take into account your ability to work and individual circumstances. We’ll help you address any barriers to work you may have.

What the current arrangements are

You need to meet your participation requirements unless you live in an area where these have been temporarily suspended due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We may contact you about your participation plan that lists:

  • agreed activities such as work experience or training
  • regular participation interviews.

As participation has restarted, we may suspend your payment if you don’t do these things.

If you’ve been in an active COVID-19 hotspot

Call us on the Disability, Sickness and Carers line if you’re concerned about meeting your participation requirements and you either:

  • live in an active COVID-19 hotspot
  • were in one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the past 14 days.

You can find a list of active COVID-19 hotspots on your state or territory governments’ website:

When you must participate

You usually need to attend interviews and agree to a participation plan if all of the following apply:

  • you’re younger than 35
  • you can work at least 8 hours per week
  • you don’t have a dependent child younger than 6.

You may need to attend appointments with your employment services provider. Your provider will contact you about this.

You should stay connected with your provider to access support and assistance. If you haven’t been in contact with your provider for a while, you should reconnect with them.

Face-to-face servicing

Face-to-face servicing with providers started again in early March 2021. This may vary in response to local health advice and state and territory COVID-19 requirements.

This applies if you’re with any of the following providers:

  • jobactive
  • Disability Employment Services.

Read about what happens at interviews and how to manage your requirements.

When you don’t need to participate

You don’t need to participate if you’re 35 or older.

If you’re younger than 35, you don’t need to participate if any of the following apply:

  • your condition meets the manifest medical rules
  • you can’t work at least 8 hours per week
  • you work under the Supported Wage System or in an Australian Disability Enterprise.

Temporary exemption from participation requirements

You may get a temporary exemption from your requirements if any of these apply to you:

  • you have a temporary incapacity with a medical certificate
  • you’re impacted by a major disruption like natural disaster such as a bushfire or flood
  • you’re experiencing a major personal crisis such as family and domestic violence
  • you’re pregnant and it’s 6 weeks before the expected date of birth or 6 weeks after birth
  • you’re overseas
  • you’re in psychiatric confinement.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) temporary suspensions

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve suspended participation requirements for the following areas only:

State Location Duration of suspension period

Metropolitan Melbourne

Metropolitan Melbourne LGAs:

Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra Ranges, Yarra

6 October 2021 to 28 October 2021
Mitchell Shire Local Government Area 6 October 2021 to 28 October 2021
Mildura Rural City Council Local Government Area 9 October 2021 to 19 October 2021
Australian Capital Territory ACT, except Jervis Bay 12 August 2021 to 19 October 2021

During this period, no payment penalties will apply if you don’t meet your participation requirements.

You still need to report your income. To avoid late payment, report by 5 pm local time on your reporting date.

You should continue to check when your participation requirements will restart after the temporary pause ends.

If you live in NSW

Participation requirements in NSW are resuming from 14 October 2021 after an extended period in lockdown.

Greater Sydney

NSW Regional Local Government Areas of:
Bathurst Regional, Broken Hill, Central Coast, City of Cessnock, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Lithgow, City of Maitland, City of Newcastle, City of Shellharbour, City of Shoalhaven, Dubbo, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Jervis Bay, Kiama, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang regional and Wingecarribee.

For more information, you can speak to your provider or Services Australia.

If you live in other Australian states and territories

You must meet all of your participation requirements.

Maximum exemption period

Generally, you can get an exemption of up to 13 weeks if you have a temporary illness or injury. The exemption starts from the date on the medical certificate.

Number of exemptions you can get

You may get further exemptions if you’re still unable to participate when your medical certificate ends.

When you can choose to participate

If you’re 35 or older, you can ask us about voluntary participation to help you find and keep work. You may still get DSP if you work less than 30 hours a week.

Read more about:

Page last updated: 15 October 2021