Program of Support
You may need to participate in a Program of Support before you claim Disability Support Pension.
A Program of Support (POS) helps people with disability to prepare for, find and keep a job. It may include help with:
- job preparation and job search
- work experience and training
- injury management.
Who doesn’t have to participate
You don’t need to take part in a POS if we assess that you either:
- meet manifest medical rules
- have an impairment rating of 20 points or more on a single Impairment Table.
You can read more about Impairment Tables on the Department of Social Services website.
For example, we assess Kate’s impairment rating as 30 points from a single Impairment Table. This means Kate doesn’t need to do a POS.
Who has to participate
You need to participate if both:
- your total impairment rating is 20 points or more
- you have less than 20 points on a single Impairment Table.
For example, we assess Mike’s medical conditions as 10 points on 1 Impairment Table and 10 points on another Impairment Table.
Mike’s total impairment rating is 20 points, but less than 20 points on a single Impairment Table.
This means Mike needs to participate in a POS.
How to show you’ve participated
To show you’ve participated in a POS in the 3 years before you claim you must either:
- participate for at least 18 months
- complete the program if it went for less than 18 months.
- mutual obligation requirements
- participation requirements.
If you claim DSP we’ll check if your participation meets POS requirements.
What counts as participation
You need to actively participate in a POS for it to count. Any periods where you don’t participate won’t count.
Sometimes you may need an exemption from your mutual obligation or participation requirements. For example, when you give us a medical certificate showing you can’t work. You can talk to your provider about how they can support you to continue your POS during this time. This may help you complete your participation requirements for POS.
Your medical condition or disability may stop you from improving your ability to work by staying in a POS. In this case, a shorter period may count.
Example where Jess's POS stopped due to her condition
Jess is 32 and lives in a remote community. She worked as a tour guide until she suffered serious injuries in a car accident.
After her recovery, Jess found it hard to concentrate or remember things. She was unable to go back to her job. She looked for other work and took part in the Community Development Program for 11 months.
Her condition got worse over time and doctors told her she would be unable to return to work.
Jess submits a claim to get DSP. As part of her claim, she needs to go to a Job Capacity Assessment. The assessor uses 2 Impairment Tables to give Jess a combined impairment rating of 20 points.
Jess now needs to show she’s participated in a POS in the 3 years before her claim. Jess tells the assessor about her time in the Community Development Program.
The assessor accepts that Jess couldn’t improve her ability to work by staying in the program.
Jess meets the requirements. She can get DSP.
Example where Tony didn’t start a program
Tony has worked in a store for 35 years. Due to failing health, he has been finding it more difficult to do physical work, so he resigns.
He submits a claim for DSP a few months later. As part of his claim, Tony needs to go to a Job Capacity Assessment. The assessor uses 2 Impairment Tables to give Tony a total combined impairment rating of 20 points.
Tony now needs to show he participated in a POS in the 3 years before claiming DSP.
Tony never started a POS before he claimed DSP.
Tony can’t get DSP as he doesn’t meet the POS requirements.
Participation in a POS during COVID-19
In March 2020, we paused both mutual obligation and participation requirements due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
During this time you may have chosen to voluntarily participate with a provider. This participation will count towards your POS.
If you didn’t voluntarily participate during this time, it won’t count towards your POS. This means you may need to continue participating in a POS until you complete the program.
If you’ve started, but not completed a POS, a shorter participation period may count. This may occur where your medical condition or disability stops you from improving your ability to work by staying in a POS.
Claiming DSP again if you’ve participated in a POS
If we rejected your DSP claim because you didn’t meet POS requirements, we can reassess your participation in a POS. This applies if you’ve either:
- now completed a POS for the required period
- started a POS but your medical condition or disability stops you from improving your ability to work by staying in a POS.
To do this, you need to reclaim DSP again and provide evidence of your participation.
Who the POS providers are
The following POS providers can work with you to help you prepare for, find and keep a job. They may help you look for a job, study, or get work experience.
Disability Employment Services (DES) and Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE)
DES helps people with permanent disability find work and keep a job.
ADE provides supported employment to people with disability.
Read more about Supported Employment on the Department of Social Services website.
Visit the jobactive website to find employers who may help you find a job.
ParentsNext can help people prepare for getting a job when their youngest child goes to school.
Read more about ParentsNext on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
Community Development Program
The Community Development Program supports job seekers in remote Australia. It helps them to build skills, address barriers and contribute to their local community.
Read more about the Community Development Program on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.
Page last updated: 22 March 2021
This information was printed 15 April 2021 from https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/disability-support-pension/how-we-assess-your-claim/assessing-your-ability-work/program-support. It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/site-notices when using this material.