Eligibility requirements for the Disability Pension
Here's the disability pension rates you could be eligible for based on your age and disability.
Disability Support Pension is a social security benefit offered through the Australian government’s Department of Human Services.
This ongoing payment is designed to offer financial support for people who suffer from a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that prevents them from working. It also offers support to people who are permanently blind.
However, it’s important to note that in order to qualify for Disability Support Pension, you will need to satisfy certain requirements.
What are the eligibility requirements for Disability Support Pension?
To qualify for Disability Support Pension you will need to:
- Be between 16 years of age and Age Pension age. Read our guide to the Age Pension to see which Age Pension eligibility age applies to you.
- You must be an Australian resident, and
- You must be in Australia on the day you're claiming the Disability Support Pension, and
- Be permanently blind, or
- Be assessed and deemed to have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment, and
- Be unable to work, or be unable to be retrained to return to the workforce, for 15 hours or more per week at or above the minimum wage within the next 24 months, and
- You must pass the income level test (once you earn over a certain amount you won't be eligible for the Disability Support Pension).
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The Department of Human Services will typically require a report from your doctor or specialist to verify the nature and severity of your impairment. A Job Capacity Assessment may also be required to determine whether you can return to work, how much work you can do and whether you need help finding and keeping employment.
Disability Support Pension income eligibility requirements
Your income will affect how much you receive, if any, for your Disability Support Pension. Check the table below to see at what level of income you are no longer eligible for the pension. These rates are correct as of June 2019 and may have changed very slightly since this date.
|If you are||You won't receive any Disability Support Pension once you earn|
|21 (or older) and single||$2026.40|
|21 (or older) couple living together||$3100.40 combined|
|21 (or older) couple living apart*||$4012.80 combined|
|18-20, single with no children and living at home||$1058.80|
|16-17, single with no children and living at home||$956.20|
|16-20, single with no children and NOT living at home||$1374.60|
|18-20, in a couple with no children||$2696.80 combined|
|Under 18, in a couple with no children||$2696.80 combined|
*Must only be separated due to ill health.
Disability Pension rates
The disability pension rate varies depending on if you're single or married, and if you have children or not. The below rates are up to date as of July 2019.
Disability pension rates if you're over 21 years old, or you're under 21 but have children.
|Fortnightly pension payments||Single||Couples, each||Couple combined||Couple each, separated*|
|Maximum basic rate||$843.60||$635.90||$1,271.80||$843.60|
|Maximum pension supplement||$68.50||$51.60||$103.20||$68.50|
*Must only be separated due to ill health.
Disability pension rates if you're under 21 with no children.
|Single, under 18 and at home||$379|
|Single, under 18 and independent||$585|
|Single, 18-20 years old and at home||$429.60|
|Single, 18-20 years old and independent||$585|
|If you have a partner and your 20 years old or less||$585|
How to manage Disability Support Pension payment
If you are receiving Disability Support Pension and your circumstances change, you will need to notify the Department of Human Services within 14 days. If you fail to do so, your payments may be affected and you may have to pay back overpaid benefits in the future. Examples of changes in circumstances include:
- A change in your personal circumstances
- If you move house and change your address
- If the amount of income you earn changes
- If your care arrangements change
- If your work load changes
- If you leave Australia
People who deliberately do not inform the department of any relevant changes may be charged with fraud, so it's vital that you get in touch with them as soon as possible.
It's also worth pointing out that Disability Support Pension recipients can still work up to 30 hours per week and receive a part pension, as long as they satisfy the income test. Recipients are also automatically entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card. This card can still be used for up to 12 months after your rising income reduces your Disability Support Pension payment to zero.
Your pension must be paid into an Australian bank account, usually in your name. If you don't yet have an Australian bank account you can open one online in minutes.
Compare Australian banks accounts to get your pension paid into.
Travelling outside Australia
Disability Support Pension recipients should also take note that their pension might be affected while they are travelling outside Australia. If you head overseas temporarily, you will generally only be paid the pension for a period of up to four weeks in any 12-month period. However, your payment could continue for longer than four weeks in certain circumstances, such as if you’re studying outside of Australia as part of a full-time Australian course, or if you are severely disabled and dependent on a family member who has accepted a temporary work posting outside Australia.
It’s important to point out that if you keep being paid your pension for the whole time you are outside of Australia, your rate of payment may change at specific points in time.
However, if you leave Australia to live in another country you will not be paid Disability Support Pension except in certain circumstances. These circumstances include if you are terminally ill, or if you are severely disabled and your pension can be paid under an international social security arrangement Australia has in place with the country to which you are travelling.
Finally, if you are planning to travel outside of Australia for more than four weeks in any 12-month period, notify the Department of Human Services as soon as you have plans to travel, or at least six weeks before your departure. This is so there is sufficient time for a medical review to be organised (if necessary) to determine if you will still be eligible to receive your pension while overseas.
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