Before claiming

We can help you work out if you may be able to get Disability Support Pension (DSP).

1: Before you start

The DSP pre-claim guide can help you understand the rules for DSP and decide whether to make a claim.

It won't tell you if you'll get DSP. This is not a claim for DSP.

2: Do you meet the age rules?

You must be aged from 16 up to Age Pension age.

3: You may not be able to get DSP

Your age means you may not be eligible.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes Age Pension when you reach Age Pension age.

If you're in severe financial hardship, read about Special Benefit.

4: Find out more about age rules

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return using your browser's back button.

You need to be aged from 16 up to Age Pension age.

5: Do you meet residence rules for DSP?

You must meet 1 of the following:

  • you lived in Australia for at least 10 years in total, including 5 years in a row
  • you are a refugee or former refugee
  • you lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Australia for DSP
  • you were living in Australia when you became unable to work more than 15 hours a week.

6: You may not be able to get DSP

You may not meet residence rules for DSP.

You can find out more about residence requirements for other payments. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

7: Find out more about residence rules

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You need to meet residence rules.

Read more about residence rules and the countries we have social security agreements with.

8: Is your income under the cut-off point?

You can earn income up to the cut-off point for your situation.

If you have a partner, we assess you and your partner's combined income.

9: You may not be able to get DSP

You won't be eligible if your income reaches the cut-off point.

You can use our Payment and Service Finder to help find payments you may be able to get.

10: Find out more about the cut-off points

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Your income needs to be under the cut-off point for your situation.

Read more about income tests for pensions.

11: Do you meet any of the following manifest medical rules?

These rules are:

  • you are permanently blind
  • you need nursing home level care
  • you have a terminal illness with average life expectancy of less than 2 years
  • you have an intellectual disability with an IQ of less than 70
  • you have Category 4 HIV/AIDS
  • you get a Department of Veterans' Affairs special rate disability pension (totally and permanently incapacitated).

12: Find out more about manifest medical rules

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return at any time and start again.

Read more about manifest medical rules.

To be medically eligible, you need to meet either:

13: Do you have a permanent disability or medical condition?

Permanent means that your condition is likely to last for more than 2 years.

14: You may not be able to get DSP

You aren't eligible if your disability or medical condition isn't permanent.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

15: Find out more about general medical rules

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Read more about the general medical rules.

16: Is your condition fully diagnosed?

Your condition needs to be fully diagnosed by a qualified health professional.

Some conditions have specific diagnosis requirements.

17: You may not be able to get DSP

If your condition is not fully diagnosed, you may not be eligible.

Talk to us about your options if you can't get a diagnosis.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

18: Find out more about fully diagnosed conditions

This link will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return using your browser's back button.

Your condition needs to be fully diagnosed.

You can read more about the conditions that have specific diagnosis requirements under medical evidence.

Read more about the general medical rules.

19: Will your condition stop you working in the next 2 years?

This means your permanent condition will stop you working at least 15 hours a week in the next 2 years.

Consider if you may be able to work more with the help of:

  • medical treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • training
  • employment services.

20: You may not be able to get DSP

You may not be eligible if you can work at least 15 hours per week in the next 2 years.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

21: Find out more about your ability to work

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You can read more about how we assess your ability to work.

If you aren't sure about your ability to work, your treating health professional may be able to give you more information.

Read more about the general medical rules.

22: Can you get medical evidence?

You need to include medical evidence from your treating health professionals when you submit your claim.

Your medical evidence must tell us:

  • your diagnosed disability or medical conditions
  • past, current and planned treatment
  • if your condition will improve, stay the same, or get worse
  • how your condition impacts you day to day
  • the names and contact details of your treating doctors.

Some conditions need specific medical evidence.

23: You may not be able to get DSP

We may reject your claim if either:

  • you don't give us medical evidence with your claim
  • your evidence doesn't show the information we need.

Some conditions need specific medical evidence.

If you can't get evidence, talk to us about your options. Call us on the People with disability line or visit a service centre.

You can find out more about other payments you may be able to get. This may include:

  • JobSeeker Payment if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time
  • Youth Allowance while you're studying, being an apprentice or looking for work.

24: Find out more about medical evidence

These links will take you away from the pre-claim guide. You can return using your browser's back button.

You can read more about medical evidence including the conditions that need specific medical evidence.

25: Have you claimed DSP before?

This may be because:

  • we rejected your claim
  • your DSP payment was cancelled.

It doesn't include a DSP claim that you started but didn't submit.

26: You may be eligible

If we've previously rejected your claim, we may make the same decision if either:

  • your circumstances haven't changed
  • you don't provide new evidence.

If we rejected your DSP claim in the last 13 weeks, you can contact us to discuss.

Talking to us about why we rejected your claim may help you understand if you need to claim again.

If you submit a new claim we'll assess if you're eligible, based on:

  • your current circumstances
  • the evidence you submit with your claim.

Before you claim again, read more about eligibility and evidence requirements, including:

If you think your circumstances have changed and you may be able to get DSP, you can then claim again.

27: You may be eligible

If you submit a new claim we'll assess if you're eligible, based on:

  • your current circumstances
  • the evidence you submit with your claim.

Before you claim, read more about eligibility and evidence requirements, including:

If you think you may be able to get DSP, you can then start your claim.

Keep in mind, this doesn't guarantee your claim will be successful.

Page last updated: 15 November 2019