The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Notification & recipient obligations for DSP

Notifiable events for DSP

In addition to the common notifiable events, DSP recipients must notify Services Australia within the 14-day notification period, if any of the following events occur, or are likely to occur:

  • the recipient or their partner plans to travel overseas, OR
  • the recipient's income reduces, OR
  • of the number of hours per week that the recipient works if they are working in open employment or if the number of hours per week that they work increases or decreases.

The notification may occur within 28 days for recipients who are residing overseas, or for recipients reporting bereavement.

Where necessary, these events are explained in more detail in the rest of this topic.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 63 Requirement to attend Department etc.

Common provisions

Some notification and recipient obligations are common to MOST payments, and are explained in 3.1.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.3 Notification & recipient obligations

Overseas travel

If the recipient or their partner plan to travel outside Australia, they must notify Services Australia at least 14 days before they travel. Failure to notify Services Australia before they travel may result in cancellation of DSP.

Note: DSP recipients over 80 years of age who are residing overseas must complete a proof of life certificate once every 2 years. See 6.2.1 for details.

Policy reference: SS Guide Payability of DSP, 7.1 Conditions for payment outside Australia, 7.2 Arrangements for payment outside Australia

Recipient's income reduces

It is in the recipient's interest to notify Services Australia if their income reduces, as this MAY mean a higher rate of DSP is payable.

Number of hours worked per week

If a recipient is working, they are to notify Services Australia of the number of hours per week that they are working in open employment and, if those hours increase or decrease, the current number.

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. Prior to 1 July 2012 DSP recipients granted on or after 11 May 2005 and transitional DSP recipients had their payments suspended or cancelled if they were working 15 hours a week or more.

A person's DSP rate may change as a result of income received from work.

Policy reference: SS Guide Continuation, variation or termination of DSP

Reporting methods

A DSP recipient can be required to give information to Services Australia in one or both of 2 different ways. The first way is that all recipients are required to report if a specified event or circumstance change occurs or is likely to occur, notification reporters (1.1.N.126). The second way is that some recipients are also required to give a statement about a specified matter, and sometimes to give a separate statement for each of several specified periods, statement reporters (1.1.S.350).

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 68 Person receiving social security payment or holding concession card

Statement reporters

DSP recipients who are statement reporters are usually required to lodge a Reporting Statement on a specified day each fortnight to allow their continued payability to be assessed. All DSP recipients who have employment income, or whose partner has employment income (where relevant), are required to be statement reporters and generally need to report their income fortnightly (excluding those listed in 1.1.S.350).

Employer reporting for business services for DSP recipients

DSP recipients working in a business service may be able to use the employer reporting method to fulfil their reporting obligations to Services Australia. With the recipient's consent, the business service employer reports wage details directly to Services Australia. The amount reported by the employer is taken to be the income of the person in the fortnight, that is, it is the amount received not earned for business services recipients.

Statement reporters - late reporting

DSP will be cancelled if the recipient has not reported one fortnight, or 14 days after the due date. However, if special circumstances exist the payment MAY be restored. When a recipient is very late reporting, the following information should be considered to determine if special circumstances apply:

  • The reasons for the late reporting. The longer the delay, the greater the need to provide detailed reasons to account for the delay for the full period.
  • Whether Services Australia contributed in any way to the delay (see Example 1).
  • Other mitigating or extenuating factors which may call for a more generous approach (see Example 2).
  • The plausibility of the reasons for the delay.
  • Whether the recipient belongs to a disadvantaged group (see Example 3).

Example 1: By not giving specific information when requested to do so or by giving incorrect information.

Example 2: The recipient has been incapacitated, or has a condition such as an intellectual disability, psychological condition, acquired brain injury, or cognitive impairment that impacts on their ability to report. Unexpected telecommunication problems, for example, phone service is down due to storms etc.

Example 3: They are a migrant with low level of English comprehension or an Indigenous Australian.

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