Impairment rating

We assess your impairment as part of the general medical rules for Disability Support Pension (DSP).

Your impairment is how your disability or medical condition affects your ability to function each day.

How we use Impairment Tables

We assess your impairment using the Impairment Tables. These Tables are part of social security law for DSP and available on the Department of Social Services website.

We use the Tables to:

  • assess any conditions you have that are fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised  
  • assess the effect those conditions have on your ability to work
  • assign impairment ratings.

Some Impairment Tables have specific diagnosis and specialist medical evidence requirements.

How the impairment rating affects your claim

The impairment rating helps us assess if you meet the general medical rules for DSP.

To meet these rules, you need to have either:

  • an impairment rating of 20 points or more on a single Impairment Table
  • 20 points or more in total from across more than 1 Impairment Table and meet the Program of Support rules.

If you meet the impairment rating for DSP, we also assess your ability to work.

If we assess your total impairment rating is less than 20 points, you won’t be eligible for DSP.

Example of not meeting the 20 point impairment rating

Following a boating accident, Anne’s leg was amputated. During her rehabilitation, Anne was fitted with a prosthetic limb. Anne can walk without help from another person, though sometimes she uses a walking stick when she gets tired. Anne applies for DSP after she loses her job.

Our assessor uses Anne’s medical evidence to determine that Anne’s condition is fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised. The assessor then considers the impact of Anne’s condition against the descriptions in the Impairment Tables.

Anne can walk independently and use public transport without help from another person. As a result, she doesn’t get 20 points under the Impairment Tables. Anne can’t get DSP.

Anne can get help to find or retrain for a suitable job. We refer Anne to Disability Employment Services, which helps people with disability, illness or injury find and keep a job.

Page last updated: 28 February 2020