Disability Support Pension Eligibility

Disability Support Pension Eligibility

By Christine Hopper

Disability Support Pension Eligibility criteria are set out in Australian Social Security legislation. The Disability Support Pension Eligibility rules ensure that permanent Australian residents who are unable to work because of a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment could receive income support from the community.

Disability Support Pension Eligibility Impairment Assessment

Disability Support Pension Eligibility is determined according to an Impairment Assessment Table. The Impairment Assessment Table allocates points for different types and levels of impairment. Most applicants need 20 points of impairments to qualify for the Disability Support Pension.

Disability Support Pension EligibilityDisability Support Pension EligibilityAn example of a single impairment that attracts 20 points is a severe functional impact on activities involving hearing (communication).  The hearing impairment is assesed when using a hearing aid, cochlear implant or other assistive listening device. The severely impacted person is unable to hear a smoke alarm, truck horn or fire evacuation siren. She could not hear someone shouting a safety warning. The person with severely impacted hearing could not participate in a loud conversation but must rely totally on lip-reading or sign language.

Another single impairment that attracts 20 points is a severe limitation on activities requiring physical exertion or stamina. The severely impacted person would be unable to walk from the carpark into a shopping centre without assistance. She could not even perform such light day to day household activities as folding and putting away laundry. A person with a severe impairment for activities requiring physical exertion or stamina would have difficulty with a three hour stint of clerical or cashier type work whilst seated.

The scales of points for each type and severity of impairment are published as part of the Commonwealth legislation.

Australian Residency requirements for Disability Support Pension Eligibility

Applicants for the Disability Support Pension are expected to be permanent Australian residents when they become incapacitated for work. The condition that underlies your Disability Support Pension Eligibility would have started whilst you were living permanently in Australia.

Special residency rules apply regarding Disability Support Pension Eligibility for Australian children to start a Disability Support Pension as soon as they attain age 16 years.

Age limitations for Disability Support Pension Eligibility

You must be at least sixteen years of age to satisfy the Disability Support Pension eligibility criteria. People who become incapacitated for work after attaining their Age Pension Age, currently 65 years, could apply for the Age Pension.

The Disability Support Pension provides income support for people who cannot work at least fifteen hours per week at any job that pays at least the minimum wage in Australia. The Disability Support Pension eligibility criteria are not weakened just because there are no jobs in your local area that are compatible with your limited capacity for work.

Young applicants for the Disability Support Pension could be required to participate in training or supported work activities as a condition of continuing Disability Support Pension eligibility.

Disability Support Pension Eligibility Reviews

The legislation allows for Disability Support Pension eligibility reviews.  Disability Support Pension recipients with severe permanent impairments are unlikely to have their Disability Support Pension eligibility reviewed. But Disability Support Pension recipients with medical conditions that might improve with treatment could expect to have their Disability Support Pension eligibility reviewed every few years.

For example, a severely hearing impaired Disability Support Pensioner accesses a new assistance technology, such as a cochlear implant. Then her level of impairment might reduce such that she no longer satisfies the Disability Support Pension eligibility criteria.

Low visual function Disability Support Pension Eligibility

Australian residents who satisfy the Disability Support Pension eligibility criteria as permanently “Blind” are entitled to the “Disability Support Pension – Blind”. The Disability Support Pension – Blind is paid at the full rate without any Asset or Income Testing.

Low visual function could be a significant part of the total impairment to satisfy the overall Disability Support Pension Eligibility criteria. For example, someone with low vision and poor spinal function might satisfy the Disability Support Pension Eligibility on the basis of her overall combined physical incapacities.

Disability Support Pension Eligibility but no Disability Support Pension

The amount of Disability Support Pension that you receive is means tested. If you, or your partner, have a substantial income and/or extensive assets, then you could be ineligible for any Disability Support Pension payments.

As at August 2016, a single person is ineligible for any Disability Support Pension payments if her income exceeds $1,751 per fortnight and/or her assets exceed $889,000, or $738,000 in addition to her home.

Higher cut-off levels apply to members of a couple at Centrelink. But your partner’s income and assets are included in the means testing for your Disability Support Pension.

Disability Support Pension payment rate

The Disability Support Pension is paid at the same rates and subject to the same means testing as the Age Pension.  The actual amount of your Disability Support Pension payment depends on your ‘personal circumstances’ and your other income and assets.
The means tests would not impact a single Disability Support Pensioner in August 2016, if her income including any deemed financial income is under $164 per fortnight and her assets are not more than $360,500 or $209,000 in addition to her home. If your income and/or assets are higher then the means tests would reduce your payment amount.

You can get an estimate of your potential Disability Support Pension payment rate before you apply for Disability Support Pension. If your Disability Support Pension payment rate is nil or very low you could reconsider and spare yourself the medical checks for the incapacity assessment.

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink Pension Applications and the many Centrelink financial means tests.

Financial Care Services Consultations for ‘personal financial factual information’

Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations for ‘personal financial factual information’ to help you check your financial position against the means tests for an Age Pension, DSP or a Carer Payment.

If you think that you might be eligible for a part Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment you can call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to arrange a Short Consultation, 45 minutes in person or by telephone and/or email to discuss your potential means tested Pension amount.

The fee for a Short Consultation for ‘personal financial factual information’ is $99. Please ask for a special ‘short personal financial factual information consultation’ when you book your appointment.

Clients who are unable to attend the Financial Care Services office in Camberwell are welcome to Contact us via email to arrange for a Short personal financial factual information Consultation.
You can start the Short ‘personal financial factual information’ Consultation by emailing for the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and Age Pension Data form.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, estimating how much Pension or Carer Payment you could expect if you satisfied the Disability Support Pension eligibility criteria.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, estimating how much Pension or Carer Payment you could expect to receive and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign.  Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth regulated residential aged care, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper .

Disclaimer. These Insights are a general over view based on our understanding of the Social Security and DVA Pension arrangements. Individual entitlements to Social Security and DVA benefits are determined based on your actual situation as documented to Centrelink or DVA.

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