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

Participation requirements were suspended in some areas due to COVID-19 but have now resumed in all states and territories.

You must meet all your participation requirements.

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.

Generally, you can get an exemption of up to 13 weeks. You may get further exemptions if you’re still unable to participate.

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.

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Page last updated: 10 November 2021