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 - Reviews (Service Updates)


This topic provides general information on service update reviews of DSP recipients.


The objective of DSP service update reviews is to ensure payment correctness by assessing whether recipients continue to qualify for the payment and whether DSP continues to be payable.

Service update reviews

Service update reviews of DSP recipients are directed at those recipients whose circumstances are more likely to have changed. These reviews are managed by DHS.

DSP recipients are selected for service update reviews based on a number of characteristics, known as service profiles (6.5), which link them to the type of review that is most appropriate for their circumstances. These include medical circumstances, income and assets, earnings and other personal circumstances relevant to the DSP qualification and payability criteria.

DSP recipients selected for review are notified by DHS accordingly and are also provided with information about review requirements and processes.

Types of service updates

The main types of DSP service updates are:

  • medical qualification updates, and
  • income and assets updates.

Medical service updates involve assessing whether DSP recipients continue to meet the impairment and CITW criteria that apply at review ( Generally, these updates are aimed at those DSP recipients whose impairment or work capacity may have improved.

Income and assets service updates examine all the circumstances that are relevant to the payability and rates of a recipient's DSP, supplements, allowances and other payments for which they may be eligible. These circumstances include a recipient's relationship status, personal and partner's income and assets and accommodation details.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.5 Profiling reviews, DSP - application of DSP qualification rules at review

Failure to comply

If a DSP recipient fails to comply with a notice from Centrelink requesting them to do the following, the pension is not payable:

  • contact a specified officer of the department, OR
  • attend an interview at a specified location, OR
  • complete a questionnaire, OR
  • attend a medical, psychiatric or psychological examination, OR
  • provide a report from a previous examination by a medical practitioner.

In such circumstances, pending consideration of and compliance with alternative arrangements by the recipient, their DSP may be suspended or cancelled. Before exercising these powers, the delegate should take particular care to consider all the recipient's circumstances. Particular caution should be exercised before suspending or cancelling vulnerable recipients, including those who are homeless or suffering from mental health issues (see below).

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

Policy reference: SS Guide Notification & recipient obligations for DSP

Failure to comply - recipients with psychiatric or intellectual impairment

Caution must be exercised when reviewing DSP recipients with psychiatric, psychological, neurological impairment such as acquired bran injury, or intellectual impairment. If the sole or dominant reason for a recipient's failure to comply with the review requirements is related to these categories of impairments, payment can only be suspended as a measure of last resort, after alternative arrangements and processes for vulnerable individuals have been exhausted.

Explanation: Recipients with these types of impairments may not be able to comply with the review requirements due to the symptoms of their conditions and associated circumstances. For example, their understanding or judgement may be affected by an exacerbation of symptoms or the effects of medication.

Date of effect of a cancellation decision on impairment or CITW grounds

If a person's DSP is cancelled because the person no longer meets the impairment and/or CITW qualification criteria, 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 will allow the person to re-arrange their affairs and apply for another income support payment. In addition, if the person appeals the cancellation decision, a delegate can authorise continuation of DSP pending the outcome of the appeal. The 42 day period allows this to happen without delays in payment.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 118(13) In any other case, an adverse determination takes effect…

Employment assistance

People whose DSP continues or is cancelled at review may still benefit from appropriate assistance and/or other interventions aimed at improving their employment prospects. The recommendations from assessors will inform this process.

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