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. Assessment of people with intellectual impairments for DSP

Manifest grants for people with intellectual impairments

A claimant with an intellectual disability may be manifestly granted (1.1.M.30) DSP where they have an IQ of less than 70.

In order to make a manifest grant of DSP, the medical evidence in support of the claim must include a current assessment of intellectual function that clearly indicates an IQ of less than 70. The assessment of the condition causing the impairment must be made by an appropriately qualified psychologist.

An assessment of intellectual function must be undertaken in the form of an individually administered and psychometrically valid, comprehensive, culturally appropriate and psychometrically sound standardised assessment that:

  • provides robust standardised scores and a percentile ranking, and
  • demonstrates test validity and reliability based on current norms developed on a representative sample of the general population.

For further information, including examples of assessment tools that may be considered appropriate, see

Claimants with intellectual disabilities who are about to turn 16 years of age, and have been in a school which provided tailored education for children with disability, or classes within a mainstream school which were tailored to meet their needs, should be asked to provide a report from the school to support their claim including the latest result from IQ testing conducted by their school. In some cases a report from the school may indicate that the recipient has a very severe intellectual disability and is therefore not able to undergo an IQ test - these recipients may also be manifestly granted DSP.

Explanation: In these situations this type of testing is often done within the child's school and THPs may not have any record of IQ testing.

Note: An appropriately qualified psychologist may determine the most appropriate assessment to be used, based on the person's circumstances. The IQ test applied, must be one recognised by the relevant professional body.

Note: Consideration of the adaptation of recognised assessments of intellectual function for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is required to assess intellectual function. For examples of these assessments, refer to Table 9 - Intellectual Function ( 'Diagnosis and evidence'.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.3 Guidelines to the Tables for the assessment of work-related impairment for DSP, Guidelines to Table 9 - Intellectual Function

People with low intellectual function

People with low intellectual function (a meaningful intelligence quotient (IQ) score of 70 to 85) which originated before the person turned 18 years of age, who are not manifestly eligible for DSP, may be eligible under the Impairment Tables, depending on their level of functional impairment (1.1.F.270). Table 9 - Intellectual Function ( must be used to assess the person.

Policy reference: SS Guide Guidelines to Table 9 - Intellectual Function

Last reviewed: