Disability Support Pension – Allowable hours of work

Many people with disability want to work if they can and gain the significant benefits that come with working, such as stronger skills, improved health and wellbeing, social connectedness, better incomes and higher living standards.

People receiving Disability Support Pension (DSP) may not know that they can work and still receive DSP.

Reforms announced in the 2011-12 Budget to support people with disability into work introduce more generous rules to allow DSP recipients to work more hours without fear of losing their payment.

This change provides an incentive for people in receipt of DSP to get back into the workforce.

New arrangements – working up to 30 hours a week

From 1 July 2012, all DSP recipients will be able to work up to 30 hours a week without their payment being suspended or cancelled, and receive a part pension subject to the usual means testing arrangements.

This allows DSP recipients to try to work above their assessed capacity.

It also allows people who have participated in employment programs to build their capacity to benefit from the skills they have gained.

It provides more flexibility for employers who may want employees to work more hours.

DSP recipients whose DSP is suspended at 1 July 2012 for working 15 hours or more under the old rules will be contacted to let them know about the new arrangements, and invited to contact the Department of Human Services to discuss whether they can receive payment.

Prior arrangements

Prior to 1 July 2012, those granted DSP on or after 11 May 2005 could only work up to 15 hours a week before their payment was suspended, while grandfathered DSP recipients (those granted before 11 May 2005) could work up to 30 hours a week before their payment was suspended.  This change removes the inconsistency in the number of hours a DSP recipient can work for people granted DSP pre and post 11 May 2005.

Working 30 or more hours a week

If a DSP recipient starts work of 30 hours a week or more, they can have their DSP suspended, rather than cancelled, which means they are able to resume DSP within two years without having to claim again.

They also continue to have access to the Pensioner Concession Card for a year from leaving DSP for employment.

More information

For more information about working while in receipt of DSP see the Helping People to Work Fact Sheet.

For more information about other changes to DSP from 1 July 2012, see the Participation Requirements for certain DSP recipients.

For further information about working and the impact on payments visit:

Last updated: