3.6.1.100 Continuation, variation or termination of DSP

Topic applies to

This topic applies to all DSP recipients whether granted under the 30 hour rule or under the 15 hour rule.

From 1 July 2012 DSP recipients may continue to receive DSP if they obtain paid work of at least 15 and less than 30 hours a week notwithstanding that to qualify for DSP they must have a CITW of 15 hours or more.

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.C.330 Continuing inability to work (CITW) (DSP), 3.6.1.10 Qualification for DSP - 30 Hour Rule, 3.6.1.12 Qualification for DSP - 15 Hour Rule

Summary

The following table lists the circumstances in which payment of DSP may change and applies to all DSP recipients whether granted under the 15 hour rule or the 30 hour rule.

Payment of DSP … if the recipient …
may be cancelled, or suspended when requested to do so, fails to:
  • attend a JCA
  • attend an office of the department or contact the department, or
  • complete a questionnaire or provide information.
must be cancelled dies.
may be cancelled, or suspended has participation requirements and when requested to do so, fails to:
  • attend a participation interview or appointment with an employment service provider or other (e.g. rehabilitation) provider
  • agree and sign a participation plan (including a Job Plan) which includes a compulsory activity, or
  • undertake a compulsory activity in their plan.
must be cancelled as a result of the medical qualification update, no longer meets the impairment and/or CITW qualification criteria (6.2.5.05). However, payment of DSP will continue for 42 days after the recipient has been notified of the cancellation decision.
must be suspended commences work of 30 or more hours per week where wages are at or above the relevant minimum wage, or has income or increased income from earnings reducing DSP to nil rate and notifies within 14 days.
must be cancelled with subsequent deemed suspension of DSP instead of cancellation commences work of 30 or more hours per week where wages are at or above the relevant minimum wage, or has income or increased income from earnings reducing DSP to nil rate and notifies outside 14 days.
must be cancelled is required to report income fortnightly and fails to contact within 14 days of the entitlement period end date.

Note: The person's payment may be restored if special circumstances exist and they seek a review of the decision to cancel the payment within 13 weeks of the date of the cancellation advice. For guidance on restoration reasons see 3.6.1.90.

may be suspended or cancelled or their partner fails to take action to obtain a CFP.
must be suspended for up to 2 years and then cancelled is:
  • in custody pending trial or sentencing
  • in gaol, or
  • is in psychiatric confinement because they have been charged with an offence.
must be suspended for up to 13 weeks and then cancelled travels overseas for longer than 4 weeks in a rolling 12-month period without an approved extension or exemption, see 7.1.2.20.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(5) For the purposes of this Act, a person is in gaol if …, section 23(8) Psychiatric confinement

SS(Admin)Act section 80 Cancellation or suspension determination, section 96 DSP-suspension instead of cancellation under section 93, section 109 Date of effect of favourable determination resulting from review, section 126 Review of decisions by Secretary, section 129 Application for review

Policy reference: SS Guide Part 7 Portability & comparable foreign payment (CFP), 3.1.4 Imprisonment, Psychiatric Confinement & Prison Release

Failure to attend job capacity assessment

DSP may be cancelled if a recipient fails to attend a JCA or GCD, or make alternate arrangements. Cancellation takes place on the day after the next entitlement period end date.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 64 Effect of failing to comply with requirement to attend Department etc.

DSP recipients subject to participation requirements

From 1 July 2014, DSP recipients who have compulsory participation requirements and are not exempt will have their DSP suspended or cancelled if they do not:

  • attend any participation interview (including the initial interview) or appointment with an employment service provider, or other (e.g. rehabilitation) provider
  • sign a participation plan (including a Job Plan) which includes a compulsory activity, or
  • undertake a compulsory activity.

If the DSP recipient does not comply with their compulsory participation requirements they will have their DSP suspended on the first occasion until they do comply. The policy will allow for DSP recipients to be restored without loss of payment on the first occasion, of non-compliance (up to a period of 13 weeks).

On the second occasion of non-compliance within a 12 month period from the date of first suspension, the DSP recipient will again have their DSP suspended. Payment can be restored if the DSP recipient re-engages and there is evidence of their participation. DSP will not be payable for the period of suspension unless it is determined that the recipients did not fail to comply (see below).

DSP recipients who do not comply with any of their participation requirements for a third time within the 12 month timeframe (from the date of first suspension), will have their DSP cancelled. They will have to reapply for DSP and be reassessed against the current Impairment Tables to determine their eligibility.

In certain circumstances it may be determined that a DSP recipient has not failed to comply. These circumstances are outlined in 3.6.1.130.

DSP recipients with participation requirements will receive notification of the effect of non-compliance on their payment to encourage them to re-engage before their payment is suspended or cancelled.

Act reference: SSAct section 94A Participation requirements, section 94B Participation plans, section 94C Illness or accident, section 94D Pre-natal and post-natal relief, section 94E Supported employment, section 94F Special circumstances

SS(Admin)Act section 80 Cancellation or suspension determination, section 85 Resumption of payment after cancellation or suspension, section 114 Date of effect of other favourable determinations

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.110 Participation Requirements for DSP Recipients, 3.6.1.120 Participation requirement exemptions for DSP recipients, 8.6.3 Date of Effect of Favourable Determinations (Not Involving Working Credit or Student Income Bank)

Medical qualification updates

If a person's DSP is cancelled as a result of the medical qualification update because the person no longer meets the impairment and/or CITW requirements, the date of effect of the cancellation decision is 42 days from the date of notification of cancellation.

Explanation: Payment of DSP will continue for 42 days after the person has been notified of the cancellation decision. This allows the person to re-arrange their affairs and apply for an alternative income support payment. In addition, if the person appeals, a delegate can authorise continuation of DSP pending the outcome of the appeal. The 42-day period of payment allows for this to happen without delays in, or breaks in continuity of, payment.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 118(13) Date of effect of adverse determinations - general rules

Commencing full-time work

The following table explains the treatment of DSP when a recipient returns to work of 30 hours or more a week where wages are at or above the relevant minimum wage or the income or increased income earned reduces DSP to nil rate.

Note: A person who is in receipt of DSP due to permanent blindness (1.1.P.210) is not subject to income and assets tests, and may work any number of hours without affecting qualification or payability.

If the recipient commences work of 30 hours or more a week where wages are at or above the relevant minimum wage or the income or increased income earned reduces DSP to nil rate on a long term basis and … then DSP would be …
notifies within 14 days suspended for up to 2 years.

If the DSP recipient has a working credit balance, the suspension period starts after the working credit balance is reduced to nil.

If the DSP recipient's partner receives WP or CP in respect of a DSP partner, their payment may also be suspended for up to 2 years. If the partner has a working credit balance, the suspension period starts after the working credit balance is reduced to nil.

See 'Partner payments' in this topic for more information.

notifies, but not within 14 days cancelled from the date the work commenced.

If the DSP recipient has a working credit balance, the payment is cancelled after their working credit balance is reduced to nil.

If the DSP recipient's partner receives WP or CP in respect of a DSP partner, their payment may also be cancelled from the date the DSP recipient's work commenced. If the partner has a working credit balance, their payment is cancelled after the working credit balance is reduced to nil.

See 'Partner payments' in this topic for more information.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.20 Qualification for DSP during Employment - 30 Hour Rule, 3.6.1.30 Qualification for DSP during Self-employment - 30 Hour Rule

Continuation of DSP while working - increase to the allowable hours of work

A person who is receiving DSP may continue to be qualified for DSP if they obtain paid work of 15 hours a week and less than 30 hours a week. People who are working will continue to be subject to existing means test rules.

This does not change the definition of 'work' for the purpose of assessing a person's CITW for new claims for DSP, i.e. to qualify for DSP a person must have an inability to work 15 hours a week.

The 'continuation of DSP while working' rule applies to a person who has qualified for DSP under the existing qualification criteria (including the CITW) and, subsequently takes up work or increases their hours of work while receiving the DSP.

Suspension rules may apply if the recipient works for 30 hours a week or more.

The intent of this rule is to allow people to test their ability to take on more work while maintaining the safety net of the DSP payments.

Act reference: SSAct section 96 Continuation of DSP

SS(Admin)Act section 96(1) DSP-suspension instead of cancellation under section 93, section 97(1) DSP-suspension taken to have been under section 96

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.W.60 Work (any) (DSP)

Transitional arrangements - people suspended for working 15 hours or more, but less than 30 hours at 01/07/2012

A person who has their DSP suspended immediately before 1 July 2012 because they obtained paid work that was for at least 15 hours per week and less than 30 hours per week will have their suspension reconsidered in light of the above.

Commencing work on a long term basis

The return to work suspension provisions apply to DSP recipients who commence work or increase their earnings from work on a long term basis. The suspension provisions do not apply to those who are ordinarily unable to maintain such work on a long term basis.

Example: Jonah may be able to work 30 hours a week, with effort in the short term - such as working as a Santa over December. However, Jonah is only able to maintain the extra effort for this short period. Jonah's DSP will not be suspended but will be assessed under the income and assets tests, or may be subject to an employment income nil rate period (3.1.12).

Overview of return to work - suspension provisions

A person's DSP payment may be suspended rather than cancelled for up to 2 years if the recipient notified that they have started work of 30 hours or more (at or above the relevant minimum wage) on a long term basis.

Note: The suspension provision is not available to a person whose DSP is cancelled, due to obtaining work, before the person notifies that he or she has obtained work.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 97A DSP-suspension instead of cancellation under section 94 (person obtains work), section 97B DSP-suspension instead of cancellation under section 94 (person's income), section 94 Automatic cancellation-recipient not complying with subsection 68(2) notice

Return to work suspension & notification provisions

If a DSP recipient notifies that they have started work of 30 hours a week or more on a long term basis, their DSP payment MUST be suspended immediately, or after their working credit balance has reduced to nil. In this event, DSP can remain suspended for up to 2 years. If the recipient has a partner receiving either WP or CP, the partner's payment may also be suspended for the same period where applicable.

Payments for the DSP recipient and their partner can be suspended regardless of whether the notification is within the notification period of 14 days.

Exception: If the DSP recipient's payment is cancelled outside of the notification period (for starting work of 30 hours a week or more), before the recipient has notified of the change in their circumstances, payment cannot be suspended or deemed to be suspended and must be cancelled from the day that work commenced.

Partner payments

If the DSP recipient has a partner receiving either WP or CP in respect of the DSP recipient, the payment of that benefit is also suspended (or deemed suspended) rather than cancelled where applicable.

CP is only suspended (or deemed suspended) rather than cancelled where qualification for CP is lost due to the DSP recipient's work. If however the CP partner provides the amount of care to remain eligible for CP during the DSP suspension (or deemed suspension), then CP may be retained rather than suspended (or deemed suspended).

Explanation: Qualification for CP is affected by the amount of care provided by the CP partner. The employment of the DSP recipient may impact on CP qualification and should be reviewed.

If the DSP recipient's partner receives CP in respect of a care receiver who is not the DSP recipient, the suspension (or deemed suspension) rules do not apply to the CP partner. CP may, however, be impacted by the earnings of the DSP partner.

Multiple entitlement arrangements

During the suspension (or deemed suspension) period, a DSP recipient can receive another income support payment such as NSA, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

If the DSP recipient has a partner receiving WP or CP and the partner's payment is also suspended (or deemed suspended), the WP or CP partner can receive another income support payment as long as they are eligible for that payment in their own right during the suspension (or deemed suspension) period.

Note: A break in payment of WP to access an alternative payment in these circumstances does not prevent restoration of WP.

Working credit

If the DSP recipient has a working credit balance and starts work at 30 hours or more a week where wages are at or above the relevant minimum wage on a long term basis, the recipient is treated as being qualified until their working credit balance reduces to nil. As a result, the 2 year suspension (or deemed suspension) commences from the day their working credit balance reduces to nil.

Length of the suspension

Two years is the maximum amount of time that payment can be suspended (or for deemed suspension a maximum of 2 years and 14 days). After this time, the DSP recipient's payment must be cancelled.

If a recipient notifies of commencing work on the last day of the 14 day notification period, payment is suspended for up to 2 years from this date.

If the recipient has working credits, the 2 year period commences once the working credit balance has reduced to nil.

If a recipient does not notify within the 14 day notification period, the suspension period starts on the day the recipient commenced work, or if the person has working credits, it will commence when the working credit balance is reduced to nil.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 96 DSP-suspension instead of cancellation under section 93, section 97 DSP-suspension taken to have been under section 96

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.20 Qualification for DSP during Employment - 30 Hour Rule, 3.1.3 Notification & Recipient Obligations

Work bonus for employed or self-employed DSP recipients of age pension age

A work bonus may be used to reduce the amount of income assessed in an instalment period. Pensioners over age pension age (apart from PPS) may be eligible for the work bonus. Employment income, and self-employment income from gainful work, is eligible for the work bonus from 1 July 2019. Prior to 1 July 2019, only employment income was eligible for the work bonus.

Work bonus applies only to DSP recipients who are:

  • age pension age , and
  • have their rate of payment of pension or benefit worked out with regard to the income test module of a rate calculator at SSAct section 1064 or section 1066.

Act reference: SSAct section 1073AA Work bonus, section 1064 Rate of age, disability support, wife pensions and CP (people who are not blind), section 1066 Rate of bereavement allowance and widow B pension, section 1072 General meaning of ordinary income

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.15 Work bonus

PCC extension

For the first 12 months after returning to work, the recipient retains qualification for a PCC. This applies even if the recipient fails to notify of the commencement of that work within 14 days and applies where DSP is suspended or reduced to a zero rate because of income from employment.

If the recipient's partner was receiving WP, they also retain qualification for a PCC for 12 months.

If the recipient's partner was receiving CP, they retain qualification for a PCC for 12 weeks.

Start date of PCC extension

If a recipient has working credits and qualifies for a 12 month PCC extension, the 12 months starts from the day the recipient's working credit balance reduces to nil (not from the commencement of employment or increase in employment income).

Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZD Extended qualification rule: former recipient of DSP

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.11.30 Working credit depletion, 3.9.2.30 PCC due to Employment

Hierarchy of PCC extension

If DSP ceases to be payable due to an increase in the person's income from employment or the number of hours worked and the person receives NSA or YA, as a person with a partial capacity to work, the PCC entitlement is attached to the NSA or YA, that is the person does not attract the extended PCC through DSP.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZD Extended qualification rule: former recipient of DSP, section 1061ZA(2) Qualification for, and issue of, pensioner concession card

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.11.30 Working credit depletion, 3.9.2.30 PCC due to Employment

TAL extension

For recipients of DSP aged under 21 without children, qualification for TAL may be extended for 12 months following cancellation of DSP.

For the first 12 months after returning to work, the DSP recipient retains qualification for TAL. This applies even if the recipient notifies of the commencement of that work after the 14 day notification period.

Note: From 20 September 2009 TAL is not available to pensioners receiving common pension rates (5.1.8.10) and TAL is not payable for the extension period to any person who received a transitional rate (5.1.8.40) of DSP or a notional rate of pension supplement (1.2.10.10) that included the pension supplement minimum amount, immediately before the cessation of their DSP.

If the DSP recipient's partner was receiving WP or CP, the partner retains qualification for TAL for 6 months.

Note: From 20 September 2009, the 6 months extension of TAL is not payable to any WP or CP recipient if, immediately before the cessation of their payment, they were receiving either a transitional rate of pension or a notional rate of pension supplement that included the pension supplement minimum amount.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061R TAL not payable in some circumstances

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.7.10 TAL - Qualification & Payability

Start date of TAL extension

TAL entitlement continues for 12 months from the date a recipient ceases to be qualified for DSP due to work of 30 or more hours per week or increase in employment income.

Note: A person may remain qualified for DSP until their working credit balance has depleted.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061Q Qualification for TAL

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.7.10 TAL - Qualification & Payability

Restoration of DSP

Payment of DSP can be restored if the recipient does one of the following within the suspension period:

  • ceases work
  • reduces the hours of employment to less than 30 hours per week, OR
  • has a reduction in earnings that makes DSP payable again.

DSP can only be restored where the delegate is satisfied that the person is qualified for DSP and that DSP is payable. DSP is restored under the qualification criteria that applied to the person at the time of suspension.

Example: Joe was granted DSP between 11 May 2005 and 30 June 2006 and had not been reviewed under the 15 hour rule. Joe's DSP was suspended due to starting work for 35 hours a week. After 4 months Joe's hours of work were reduced to 16 hours. The 30 hour rule applies to Joe when restoration of his DSP is being considered.

A person's payment may be restored subject to payability (e.g. earnings), without the need to lodge a new DSP claim. The person MUST however request restoration of DSP.

If the person receives an alternative income support payment, such as NSA, during the suspension (or deemed suspension) period, the NSA must be cancelled in order to restore DSP.

If the person does not request restoration of DSP within the 2 year suspension period, the DSP MUST be cancelled.

If the person's DSP has been cancelled, and their circumstances change and they wish to reapply for DSP, they must meet the eligibility criteria.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 85 Resumption of payment after cancellation or suspension

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.12 Qualification for DSP - 15 Hour Rule, 3.6.1.20 Qualification for DSP during Employment - 30 Hour Rule, 5.1.5.10 DSP - Current Rates

Death of recipient

The estate of a deceased DSP recipient is entitled to one further instalment after the death of the recipient. Payment should also be made up to the date of death, to the person entitled to receive it.

If the recipient was a member of a couple, the partner may qualify for bereavement assistance.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement Payment Provisions

Death of partner

If the recipient is a member of a couple and their partner dies, the recipient may qualify for bereavement assistance, IF the partner was:

  • receiving a social security pension
  • receiving a DVA service pension, OR
  • a long term social security recipient.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(1)-'long-term social security recipient'

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5.10 When do Bereavement Payments Apply

Reviews

DSP payments are subject to a range of reviews.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.2.5 Disability & Carer Reviews

Last reviewed: 11 November 2019