Disability Support Pension

Disability Support Pension

by Christine Hopper

Centrelink pay the Disability Support Pension to Australian residents whose disabilities prevent them from earning.

Eligibility for Disability Support Pension

The Disability Support Pension is available to Australian residents who have attained age 16 years but not their Age Pension Age.

A Disability Support Pensioner normally transfers to the Age Pension on attainment of their Age Pension Age.  In February 2013, new Age Pensioners are men aged 65 years and women aged 64 years and 6 months.

To qualify for the Disability Support Pension
You must be permanently blind or
You have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment such that you are unable to work or be retrained to work, within the next two years, for at least 15 hours per week for at least the relevant minimum wage.

You could be receiving the Disability Support Pension and participating in the Supported Wage System.

Applicants for the Disability Support Pension must submit medical evidence about their disability, injury or illness.

Centrelink can ask for a Job Capacity Assessment.

A Job Capacity Assessment is a way of finding out

Whether you can work
*  How much work you can do; and
*  How much help you need to find and keep a job.

If you are unable to work on account of illness or injury which is not ‘permanent’ you can ask Centrelink for a Sickness Benefit.

Disability Support Pension Payment Rates

The Disability Support Pension is payable at the same rates and subject to the same financial means testing as the Age Pension.

The Disability Support Pension Asset test includes all of your assets except superannuation fund balances.

The Disability Support Pension Income Test includes the deemed financial income on your financial assets (excluding your superannuation fund balances) and any other income.

Special rules cover compensation payments and insurance payouts.  You must tell Centrelink about any sick leave from your employer, disability or sickness or ‘income protection’ insurance benefits and any lump sum ‘trauma insurance’ payments.

Income Test limit for a Single Disability Support Pensioner

A Single person could have an income of $40,000 including deemed financial income and ‘disability income’ benefits and not be excluded from the Disability Support Pension by the Income Test.

Means testing for a Disability Support Pensioner who has a partner

Where one member of ‘a couple at Centrelink’ is eligible for the Disability Support Pension, the couple’s means testing is applied.  This means that both you and your partner must provide Centrelink with details of your assets and all earnings from work and any other income.

The couples Income Test only allows for one dollar of Disability Support Pension to be paid to the eligible partner if the combined annual income of the couple is $62,000 or less, in February 2013.

Thus you might not receive any Disability Support Pension or be eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card, if your partner is in well paid employment or you have substantial assets.

Compensation Payments and the Disability Support Pension

You can apply to Centrelink for the Disability Support Pension as soon as your doctor decides that you are not going to be able to return to work within two years.  Your doctor needs to write a report about your illness, injury and incapacity for you to give to Centrelink.  Centrelink could start your Disability Support Pension as soon as your claim is processed.

If you satisfy the incapacity conditions for the Disability Support Pension and receive a compensation payout then Centrelink could suspend or reduce your Disability Support Pension payment amount or ask to be repaid some, or all, of your Disability Support Pension payments.

You must tell Centrelink about any worker’s compensation or transport accident insurance claims and any other ‘insurance payouts’ or any other payments relating to your injury or illness.

How much Disability Support Pension can I get?

If you think that you, or your partner, satisfy the Disability Support Pension incapacity for work conditions then you could arrange a short consultation with Financial Care Services to discuss your potential Disability Support Pension.

Short consultations with Christine at Financial Care Services cost $99 for 45 minutes.
Short consultations can be by telephone and /or email, or meeting at our Camberwell office.

Call Financial Care Services on (03) 9808 0338 to arrange a short consultation.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper (03) 9808 0338.

Financial Care Services – call (03) 9808 0338
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations. © 2013 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
To make an appointment for professional advice, call Financial Care Services (03) 9808 0338