Disability Support Pension (DSP) eligibility and evidentiary


To get Disability Support Pension (DSP), a person must meet both non-medical and medical rules. These rules are based on social security law. The person must support their claim with medical evidence.

To medically qualify for DSP, the following must be met:

  • the condition is likely to persist for more than 2 years,
  • the condition is diagnosed, reasonably treated and stabilised,
  • the condition is assigned an impairment rating of 20 points or more,
  • the person can’t work for at least 15 hours a week in the next 2 years, and
  • if required, the person has participated in a Program of Support.

The Impairment Tables are used to determine whether a person whose qualification for DSP is being considered, meets a qualifying impairment threshold stipulated social security law.

You can find more information about impairment tables on the DSS website.

In limited circumstances DSP may be granted without the need for further assessment, this is called a manifest grant. You can find more information about the manifest medical rules on the Services Australia website.

Diagnosis, treatment and stabilisation

For DSP purposes diagnosis of a condition must be made by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner, however, in some cases, Impairment Tables have particular diagnosis requirements, in addition to the standard requirement for conditions to be diagnosed by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.

If diagnosis of a condition has been established, treatment undertaken for the condition will then be regarded. It must be determined a person has received reasonable treatment or rehabilitation for their condition. If the patient has not undertaken reasonable treatment, there must be compelling reasons why they have not undertaken reasonable treatment.

A condition may still be considered stabilised for DSP purposes when, even with ongoing or incomplete treatment, if significant functional improvement is not expected, treatment is no longer effective, or the impairment from the condition is expected to worsen.

Medical Evidence

Medical certificates are not enough evidence to support a DSP claim. Evidence must be detailed, such as a medical history report or diagnostics.

The types of medical evidence accepted include:

  • medical history records or reports
  • specialist medical reports
  • psychologist reports, including IQ testing
  • medical imaging reports – not scans
  • physical examination reports
  • hospital or outpatient records including details of operations.

Specialist Evidence

The specialist evidence required depends on the patient’s disability or medical condition. For some conditions or situations, specific information must be provided.

This may include medical evidence relevant to their condition from a treating specialist such as:

  • an ophthalmologist
  • an ophthalmic surgeon
  • an audiologist
  • an ear, nose and throat specialist
  • a psychologist
  • a psychiatrist.

Further Information

Read more about the Disability Support Pension on the Services Australia website.

The Social Security Guide also includes further information and clarification on these topics see:

3.6.3 Guidelines to the Tables for the assessment of work-related impairment for DSP Medical & other evidence for DSP

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