184.108.40.206 Qualification for DSP - 15 hour rule
Topic applies to
Since 2006, the DSP qualification criteria have undergone a number of changes. This topic summarises these changes and explains which criteria apply to DSP claimants and recipients, dependent on their date of claim or start date on DSP.
Qualification for people whose start date on DSP was prior to 11 May 2005 is covered separately in 220.127.116.11.
Application of the DSP qualification criteria at review is covered in 6.2.5.03.
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 at claim they must be assessed as having a work capacity of less than 15 hours a week.
Act reference: SSAct section 96 Continuation of DSP
Policy reference: SS Guide 18.104.22.168 Continuation, variation or termination of DSP
Overview of changes to DSP qualifications from 2006 to 2023
The current Impairment Tables are contained in the Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2023. The current Tables were implemented on 1 April 2023 and are used for the assessment of new DSP claims made and review requests commenced on or after that date.
The impairment criterion requiring a person to have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment that attracts an impairment rating of at least 20 points under the Impairment Tables (1.1.I.10), has not changed in this period.
Note: People assessed as permanently blind are not subject to the impairment and CITW requirements - see 22.214.171.124.
DSP recipients whose start date on DSP is between 11 May 2005 and 30 June 2006 (transitional recipients) were originally granted DSP under the 30 hour work capacity rule. However, at review, these recipients have their CITW assessed against the CITW criteria and definitions in force from 1 July 2006 that is, they must, among other things, be unable to work for 15 hours or more per week and be unable to be retrained for such work in the next 2 years. This is referred to as 15 hour work capacity rule.
Note: In practice it is unlikely that decision makers would now encounter any cases of transitional recipients that have not already been reviewed.
From 1 July 2006, all DSP claimants and recipients who made, or are taken to have been made, a claim for DSP on or after that date have been, and are being, assessed against the 15 hour work capacity rule.
From 3 September 2011, new DSP claimants:
- who do not have a severe impairment must demonstrate that they have actively participated in a POS (1.1.A.30), in addition to meeting the other CITW criteria, including the 15 hour rule, and
- who have a severe impairment (1.1.S.127) are not required to demonstrate that they have actively participated in a POS but are required to meet the other CITW criteria, including the 15 hour rule.
Explanation: The POS requirements for DSP claimants apply only to claims lodged on or after 3 September 2011. Any claims lodged before that date, including claims undetermined at that date, do not attract POS requirements.
Explanation: Any person who loses DSP eligibility that is not restored as a result of an appropriate review or appeal process and who subsequently reclaims DSP on or after 3 September 2011, is to be assessed under the post 3 September 2011 rules. This means that the POS requirements may apply to this person. This is because any reclaims (notwithstanding reasons for cancellation) are treated as new claims.
From 27 November 2014, to have a CITW, those DSP recipients who at review of their impairment and work capacity qualifications become reviewed 2008-2011 DSP starters (1.1.R.285) and are given an opportunity to participate, are also required to demonstrate that they have actively participated in a POS. This is in addition to the requirement of meeting the other CITW criteria, including the 15 hour work capacity rule.
Explanation: The DSP recipients who at review (first review) become reviewed 2008-2011 DSP starters continue to receive their DSP but are required to participate in a POS. When these recipients have their DSP qualification reviewed again (subsequent review), they will be required to demonstrate that they have actively participated in a POS. At this subsequent review they will also be assessed against the other CITW criteria, including the 15 hour rule (6.2.5.03).
Act reference: SSAct section 94(2) A person has a continuing inability to work …, section 94(3A) If a person is receiving DSP and the Secretary gives the person a notice …
SS(Admin)Act section 12 Deemed claim in certain cases, section 13 Deemed claim-person contacting …, section 15 Deemed claim-incorrect or inappropriate claims …, Schedule 2 clause 4 Start day-early claim
Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria
To qualify for DSP, a person must meet the criteria listed in the following table. Where more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.
|A person must …
|be at least 16 years of age but not more than age pension age, AND
|This topic - Proper claim
|satisfy the residence criteria, AND
|This topic - Residence qualification criteria
|be permanently blind (1.1.P.210), OR
|126.96.36.199 Assessment of blindness for DSP
|have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition resulting in functional impairment (1.1.F.270) of at least 20 points as measured by the Impairment Tables, which will persist for more than 2 years, AND
|3.6.2 Assessment for DSP
|meet any participation requirements that apply to the person if the person meets the criteria for participation requirements, such as a compulsory activity.
|188.8.131.52 Participation requirements for DSP recipients
184.108.40.206 Participation requirement exemptions for DSP recipients
|AND must also meet one of the following requirements …
|have a CITW (1.1.C.330), OR
|3.6.2 Assessment for DSP
1.1.A.30 Active participation in a program of support (POS) (DSP)
220.127.116.11 DSP assessment of continuing inability to work - 15 hour rule
|be participating in the SWS.
|1.1.I.95 Independently of a program of support
18.104.22.168 DSP assessment of continuing inability to work - 15 hour rule
|Person not qualified in certain circumstances
|A person is not qualified for DSP if they brought about their CITW with a view to obtaining DSP.
|This impacts people who brought about a CITW solely with a view to obtaining DSP. It does not impact people who brought about a CITW for other purposes.
Note: When assessing qualification for DSP, the requirement for the person to have an impairment rating of at least 20 points under the Impairment Tables and the requirement for the person to have a CITW, are of equal importance.
Explanation: Some people will have an impairment rating of at least 20 points, but will not be qualified for DSP because they do not have a CITW.
In limited circumstances, a person may be taken to have 20 points under the Impairment Tables and a CITW without further assessment where the available medical evidence indicates clear qualification under one or more of the manifest categories, and if all other DSP qualification criteria are met. This is known as a manifest (1.1.M.30) grant.
Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011 - Impairment Tables pre-1 April 2023
SSAct section 94(1) A person is qualified for DSP …, section 94(2) A person has a continuing inability to work …, section 95 Qualification for DSP-permanent blindness
SSAct pre-1 January 2012 Schedule 1B Tables for the assessment of work-related impairment for DSP
SSAct pre-3 September 2011 section 94(1) A person is qualified for DSP …, section 94(2) A person has a continuing inability to work …, section 95 Qualification for DSP-permanent blindness
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 Manifest grants & rejections for DSP, 126.96.36.199 DSP assessment of impairment ratings, 188.8.131.52 Participation requirements for DSP recipients, 184.108.40.206 DSP assessment of continuing inability to work - 30 hour rule, 220.127.116.11 DSP assessment of continuing inability to work - 15 hour rule, 1.1.R.133 Relevant minimum wage (DSP, MOB, Partial capacity to work & CA)
A person must lodge a proper claim before DSP can be granted. A person cannot lodge a proper claim for DSP if they are under age 16 or over age pension age.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Part 3 Division 1 Claim for social security payment or concession card
Policy reference: SS Guide 8.1.1 Claim lodgement provisions
Residence qualification criteria
To satisfy the residence criteria when claiming DSP, the person must have:
- been an Australian resident at the time when the CITW or permanent blindness occurred (a person's CITW arises at the time of the incapacitating accident regardless of the age of the person when this occurred. For people with severe congenital abnormalities CITW occurred at birth), OR
- 10 years of qualifying residence, OR
- a QRE (that is, reside in Australia and are either a refugee or a former refugee), OR
- been born outside Australia and be a dependent child of an Australian resident at the time when the CITW or permanent blindness occurred, and have become an Australian resident while still a dependent child of an Australian resident.
Ten years qualifying residence is satisfied if the person has been an Australian resident for:
- at least 10 years at any point in the past, OR
- 2 or more periods that in total exceed 10 years, AND at least one of those periods is of 5 years duration or more.
To remain qualified for DSP, a recipient must be an Australian resident (1.1.A.330) or be exempted from the requirement to be an Australian resident because they are entitled to indefinite portability.
It may also be possible for the person to qualify for DSP under the terms of an international agreement (1.1.A.120). The international agreements are found in the SS(IntAgree)Act.
Act reference: SSAct section 7 Australian residence definitions, section 7(6) A person has a qualifying residence exemption …, section 7(6B) A person is a refugee …, section 94(2) A person has a continuing inability to work …, section 95 Qualification for DSP-permanent blindness, section 1218AA Unlimited portability period for DSP-terminally ill overseas disability support pensioner, section 1218AAA Unlimited portability period for DSP-severely impaired disability support pensioner
Working credit balance prevents loss of qualification
A DSP recipient who has a working credit balance and commences employment on a long term basis which means they no longer meet the CITW criterion, is treated as still being qualified for DSP for the period it takes to run down their working credit balance. This allows the recipient to benefit from their working credit balance - providing encouragement to recipients to take up a job.
This treatment will continue until the earliest of:
- their working credit balance is reduced to nil
- qualification (other than related to the employment) is lost, or
- payability (other than related to employment income) is lost.
- DSP-permanent blindness recipients can accrue and deplete working credits if their income details are obtained for the purpose of paying RA.
- Australian Disability Enterprise wages are employment income and any available working credits will be used to offset this employment income under the income test.
Act reference: SSAct section 1073J Working credit balance prevents loss of qualification in certain cases
Policy reference: SS Guide 18.104.22.168 Working credit depletion
Failure to comply
If a DSP claimant or recipient fails to comply with a notice from Services Australia requesting them to do the following, the pension is not payable:
- contact a specified officer of the department
- attend an interview at a specified location
- complete a questionnaire
- attend a medical, psychiatric or psychological examination, or
- provide a report from a previous examination by a medical practitioner.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 64 Effect of failing to comply with requirement to attend Department etc.
If a person claims DSP and they or their partner may be entitled to a CFP, they are required to take reasonable action to obtain the foreign payment. If they fail to take reasonable action to obtain the CFP within the specified period, their claim may be rejected.