3.6.2.110 DSP Assessment of Continuing Inability to Work - 30 Hour Rule

Topic applies to

This topic applies to people who are subject to the 30 hour rule for DSP qualification.

For people who are subject to the 15 hour rule refer to 3.6.2.112.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.10 Qualification for DSP - 30 Hour Rule, 3.6.1.12 Qualification for DSP - 15 Hour Rule, 1.1.T.147 Transitional applicant (DSP)

Overview

To qualify for DSP, a person must have an impairment rating of at least 20 points under the Impairment Tables (1.1.I.10) and have a CITW (1.1.C.330). Both aspects are of equal importance.

It does not necessarily follow that a person who has an impairment rating of 20 points or more is incapable of working. It does mean that their medical impairment/s are such that they may cause difficulties in many work situations, but depending on their individual circumstances, coping mechanisms, training, and reasonable adjustments, the person may be able to undertake work (1.1.W.60) of 30 hours or more per week, within the next 2 years.

Act reference: SSAct pre-1 July 2006 section 94 Qualification for DSP

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.10 Qualification for DSP - 30 Hour Rule

Factors to consider in determining inability to work

The following factors are considered when determining whether a person has a CITW:

  • physical and intellectual characteristics which would be required to perform any work,
  • the impact of a person's impairment/s on their ability to demonstrate those characteristics, currently and within the next 2 years,
  • the impact of a person's impairment/s on their ability to:
    • regularly report to work,
    • persist at work tasks,
    • understand and follow work instructions,
    • communicate with others in the workplace,
    • travel to/from work,
    • move around at work,
    • attend to their personal care needs in the workplace,
    • manipulate objects at work,
    • exhibit appropriate work behaviour,
    • undertake a variety of tasks and to alternate between tasks, and/or
    • lift, carry and move objects at work,
  • whether a person requires a moderate to high level of ongoing assistance to maintain the employment,
  • the impact of a person's impairment of their ability to undertake mainstream educational, vocational or on-the-job training (excluding programs designed specifically for people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairments), and
  • whether such training is likely to enable the person to do any work within the next 2 years.

Example 1: Max has an intellectual disability. He is capable of working for 30 hours per week, with ongoing weekly support from an ESS provider. He has difficulty understanding new tasks and requires constant supervision. He would not be able to maintain this employment or any job in the open labour market, without this support. Max has a CITW.

Example 2: Cherie has arthritis and is not able to stand for long periods of time. However, in a position where she can sit down most of the time and is not required to perform heavy manual tasks, she is otherwise able to understand direction, complete work and exhibit appropriate behaviour. She is able to work more than 30 hours per week in a position in an area such as office administration, research or a call centre. Cherie does not have a CITW.

Factors to disregard in determining inability to work

The following factors are not considered when determining whether a person has a CITW:

  • the availability of the person's usual work in the locally accessible labour market (1.1.L.70),
  • the availability of any kind of work in the person's locally accessible labour market that they could do or be trained for (this factor should be considered for some people aged 55 or over who were granted DSP before 11 May 2005),
  • the availability to the person of educational, vocational or on-the-job training (1.1.E.30) that would assist them in developing work skills,
  • the availability to the person of any kind of transport (private or public) to travel to and from work,
  • the person's motivation to work or train, except when medical evidence indicates that the lack of motivation is directly attributable to the impairment, (e.g. psychiatric disability),
  • the person's preferences regarding the type of work or training,
  • the person's potential attractiveness to an employer in a particular area of work,
  • difficulties with literacy, numeracy or language which are not directly attributable to a medical condition, and
  • employer preferences and discriminatory practices that may exist in the open labour market.

Example 1: Lesley has a leg injury and can no longer perform his usual occupation as a labourer. He liked working as a labourer and is unwilling to try alternative work as he has limited computer skills and no work experience in other industries. Lesley does not have a CITW as he has the ability to undertake training which could equip him with skills to find work which does not require heavy manual tasks, such as teaching, office administration or telemarketing. Undertaking this training could enable Lesley to work 30 hours or more per week.

Example 2: William has a back condition which limits his movement and causes some pain. This condition means that he cannot lift heavy objects or move freely. However, he is comfortable in a sitting position and could undertake work which enables him to sit most of the time, such as administration work. The town which William lives in has a large manufacturing industry and this is the main employer of residents. Vacancies for other jobs which do not require manual handling are not available often and so William has found it difficult to secure suitable work. William does not have a CITW, as there is work that exists elsewhere within Australia which he could do, or be trained to do, despite it not being available in the town where he lives.

Act reference: SSAct pre-1 July 2006 section 94(3) In deciding whether or not a person has a continuing inability to work…

Potential for education or vocational training if the person is unable to work

The assessment of a person's ability to undertake training is part of the assessment of whether they have a CITW.

If the delegate determines that the person is unable to do their usual work or work for which they are currently skilled, the impact of the person's impairment/s on their ability to undertake educational, vocational training or on-the-job training (1.1.E.30) will be considered.

If a person is unable to participate in educational or vocational training or on-the-job training within the next 2 years because of their impairment/s, they may satisfy the CITW criteria for DSP qualification. A person may also satisfy the CITW criteria if they are able to undertake training, but such training is unlikely, because of the person's impairment/s, to enable them to work within the next 2 years.

Act reference: SSAct pre-1 July 2006 section 94(2)(b) (before its amendment on 1 July 2006) Either: the impairment is of itself sufficient to prevent…, section 94(5) In this section: educational or vocational training does not include…

Factors to consider in determining ability to undertake training

The following factors are considered when determining whether a person can undertake or benefit from undertaking training:

  • whether the nature of the person's impairment/s would prohibit them from undertaking training,
  • whether the training is likely to equip the person with the necessary skills to undertake work of 30 hours per week or more within the next 2 years,
  • the length of time it would usually take to complete the training, and
  • the nature of the training being dependent on the type of work the claimant is potentially capable of performing.

Example: Morgan has a leg injury which causes pain and affects her mobility. She had previously worked as an electrician but can no longer perform this work due to her injury. She is able to perform work which can be done from a sitting position, such as office administration. Morgan is able to attend training courses which can provide her with computer and payroll skills and enable her to return to work of 30 hours or more per week. These training courses are generally short, taking less than 2 years to complete and Morgan's leg injury does not prevent her from undertaking them. Morgan does not have a CITW.

Factors to disregard in determining ability to undertake training

The following factors are not considered when determining whether a person can undertake or benefit from undertaking training:

  • the availability of suitable training in the local area,
  • the availability of suitable work in the locally accessible labour market following completion of the training (this factor should be considered for people aged 55 or over who were granted DSP before 11 May 2005),
  • the person's level of motivation, OR
  • the person's potential attractiveness to an employer.

Act reference: SSAct pre-1 July 2006 section 94(2) A person has a continuing inability to work because…, section 94(3) In deciding whether or not a person has a continuing inability to work…, section 94(4) For the purposes of subparagraph (2)(b)(ii), if a person has turned 55…, section 94(5) In this section: educational or vocational training does not include…

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.2.140 DSP Recipients Aged 55 Years or More

Existing students

If a person has been participating in a mainstream training course and intends to continue their course without modification, this will be considered in determining whether the person has a CITW.

It is unlikely that a person participating in a mainstream, unmodified course for 30 hours or more per week would have a CITW. This is because the activities required for mainstream study are generally equivalent to those required to do work.

If a person is undertaking a modified course of study, the following factors will be considered in determining whether the person has a CITW:

  • the person's study-load (including the number of contact hours to attend lectures, practicals and tutorials and the number of hours of private study),
  • the method of study (e.g. on-campus or via correspondence), and
  • whether the person could participate in alternative training activities if their current course of study is unlikely to enable them to work within the next 2 years.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.40 Qualification for DSP during Study or Training - 30 Hour Rule, 3.6.1.10 Qualification for DSP - 30 Hour Rule

Other reasons for claim

Centrelink customer service advisers and job capacity assessors (1.1.J.20) need to identify any recent changes in the person's circumstances which have led them to claim DSP. It is important to identify any non-medical reasons for the person's decision to claim DSP as these may indicate that they do not have a CITW.

The following are examples of non-medical reasons that may be the impetus for a new DSP claim:

  • failure to qualify or ceasing to qualify for an alternative form of income support,
  • not wanting to comply with activity tests on other payments,
  • change in family circumstances such as separation or youngest child turning 16,
  • recent retrenchment or voluntary redundancy,
  • early retirement, and
  • desire to take advantage of the more generous pensioner concession, income/assets test and higher payment rate.
Last reviewed: 1 July 2016