Working while you’re getting Disability Support Pension

You may be able to work and still get Disability Support Pension (DSP).

Hours you can work

If you get DSP you can also have paid work up to 29 hours a week. You can do this without losing your DSP payment providing you meet the income test.

Pausing DSP for 2 years

We can pause your DSP payment for up to 2 years if either:

  • you work 30 or more hours per week
  • your income reduces your DSP payment to nil for 6 consecutive fortnights.

You can ask us to restore your payment within 2 years if any of these apply:

  • your hours reduce below 30 per week
  • your income reduces below the cut off limit for DSP
  • you stop working.

You must notify us that you have started work within 14 days. You also need to give us the details of that work.

We can’t pause your payment for 2 years where your partner’s income is the reason your DSP reduces to a nil rate due to the income test.

See what your work means for your Pensioner Concession Card entitlement.

We won’t pause your DSP for working 30 or more hours per week if one of the following applies:

Rules if you work and get DSP

Income reporting

You must tell us if you or your partner start any paid work. If you don’t, we may pay you too much DSP and you’ll have a debt to pay back. We may also stop your payment. Doing paid work can affect how much your DSP payment will be. Your employment income will also affect any Working Credit you may have. You need to report your or your partner’s income each fortnight.

You can report income using one of the following methods:

  • Centrelink online
  • Centrelink Express Plus mobile phone application
  • phone self services.

Read more about employment income reporting.

Self-employment

If you start self-employment, we’ll assess if any of these apply:

  • you have the ability to work 30 hours or more per week
  • your self-employment is equal to 30 hours or more per week in open employment or the mainstream workforce.

Depending on your circumstances and nature of your work, we’ll assess if you either:

  • still qualify for DSP
  • would need to have your DSP suspended for up to 2 years.

If we assess you can still get DSP, you’ll need to tell us about your business income. You must do this within 14 days of starting self-employment.

If we need to suspend your DSP, you may be able to get other payments including a Special Employment Advance.

Working Credit and DSP

Working Credit increases how much you can earn before we start reducing your DSP payments.

We calculate your Working Credit and how and when we’ll deduct these credits when you report your income. You don’t need to do anything extra.

Read more about Working Credit.

Voluntary work

You can choose to participate in voluntary work while you’re getting DSP. This can help you develop important skills and experience so you can find paid work.

However, there’s no requirement to do so, unless you’re under 35 years of age and have voluntary work as a compulsory participation requirement.

Read more about DSP participation requirements if you’re under 35.

Page last updated: 9 August 2022