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. DSP assessment of impairment ratings


As part of the qualification for DSP a person must have one or more physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment/s that attract a total impairment rating of 20 points or more under the Impairment Tables (1.1.I.10).

Note: A claimant who has an impairment rating of at least 20 points, must also have a CITW (1.1.C.330) to qualify for DSP.

Explanation: Some claimants may have an impairment rating of 20 points but do not have a CITW because they can work 15 hours per week where wages are at or above the relevant minimum wage, or be re-skilled for such work within 2 years.

Act reference: SSAct section 94(1)(a) the person has a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment …, section 94(1)(b) the person's impairment is of 20 points or more …

When can a rating be assigned?

An impairment rating can only be assigned to an impairment if all of the following requirements have been met. The condition:

  • has been diagnosed by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner
  • has been reasonably treated
  • is stabilised
  • and the resulting impairment, is more likely than not, in light of available evidence, to persist for more than 2 years.

In limited circumstances diagnosis of a psychological/mental health condition may be provided by a registered Services Australia psychologist (see

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.D.140 Diagnosed, reasonably treated & stabilised (DSP), Qualification for DSP - 30 hour rule, Qualification for DSP - 15 hour rule, DSP assessment of continuing inability to work - 15 hour rule, 3.6.3 Guidelines to the Tables for the assessment of work-related impairment for DSP

Referrals to the HPAU

If, following an assessment of all the available medical and other information, there is still a need for an expert medical opinion, the HPAU (1.1.H.60) can provide advice, clarification and interpretation of medical information to assessors and Services Australia staff for DSP claim, review and appeal purposes.

The HPAU's advice must be recorded, and forms part of the medical evidence used to support the decision about a person's DSP qualification.

Last reviewed: