Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services help people with disability find work and keep a job. Through Disability Employment Services, people with disability, injury or health condition may be able to receive assistance to prepare for, find and keep a job.

Providers of Disability Employment Services are called DES Providers. DES Providers are a mix of large, medium and small for-profit and not-for-profit organisations experienced in supporting people with disability, as well as providing assistance to employers to support employees with disability in the workplace.

Disability Employment Services has two parts:

  • Disability Management Service is for job seekers with disability, injury or health condition who need assistance to find a job and occasional support in the workplace to keep a job.
  • Employment Support Service is for job seekers with permanent disability who need help to find a job and who need regular, ongoing support in the workplace to keep a job.

The DES program gives participants flexibility and choice in the services they receive and how they receive them, with participants able to choose their preferred provider when they first enter the program.

JobAccess can provide you with all the information you need on disability employment, including DES. JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.

DES Providers

In 2018 a panel of DES Providers was established through a grant selection process. A list of organisations delivering DES is available on the ESA, Organisation, DES service type and Specialisation webpage.

DES Performance Assessment

In December 2021, DES providers received notification of the performance assessment for both the DES - Disability Management Service (DES-DMS) and DES - Employment Support Service (DES-ESS).

Outcome of the Assessment

All providers were assessed. This resulted in 52 DES providers having their services reduced or discontinued:

  • 44 will have at least one of their DES services discontinued
  • 8 will have all of their DES services discontinued.

Published Formal Performance Assessment Outcomes August 2022

The DES providers were assessed using the DES Star Ratings system. This measures how well providers perform placing participants in sustainable, longer-term employment.

DES Star Ratings allow a direct comparison of providers across Australia.

Affected DES participants will be asked to choose a new provider in their area who can provide a better quality service. For more information go to Job Access.

DES and Mainstream Employment Services

The Australian Government is committed to giving Australians with disability choice and control over how they receive services, while ensuring the employment services meet their needs and requirements.

From 1 January 2022, job seekers who are eligible for DES will be able to choose to participate in mainstream digital employment services instead of DES. This change will empower job seekers who are able to manage their own search for employment to have greater control over the services they access.

Job seekers with disability who choose digital services will remain eligible for DES and can request a referral to a DES Provider at any time while receiving digital services. Job seekers who have not started a job within 12 months will be referred to a DES Provider.

The Australian Government is committed to increasing employment opportunities for people with disability by equipping DES participants with the necessary education and training to secure long-term employment. From 1 January 2022, education placements will be prioritised for training courses that are relevant to recognised skills shortages.

Future of Disability Employment Services

The Australian Government knows that people with disability and employers need a service that meets their needs and provides the right support. The Government has agreed to undertake a phased approach to reforming disability employment. The current DES program will be extended for two years, to 30 June 2025, with a stronger focus on lifting the quality and performance of the service.

In an effort to improve systems and services for job seekers and employers, the Government is developing a new specialist disability employment services model to replace the current DES program. The new model will ensure that people with disability are not left behind and employers can utilise an untapped workforce.

It is crucial to learn from the experiences of people with disability. The Department of Social Services has been consulting with people with disability, employers, academics, disability representative organisations and providers on the design of the new model. You can find out more about the new specialist disability employment services model here.

National Panel of Assessors

As part of the 2018 reforms to DES, a new National Panel of Assessors (NPA) was established from a grant selection process to deliver assessment services from 1 July 2018. The NPA provides a range of independent assessment services to assist people with disability who are seeking employment and/or to keep sustainable employment.

View the list of the organisations delivering NPA Services as at 1 July 2018.

More information on the program can be found on the JobAccess website or by contacting the JobAccess support-line on 1800 464 800.

DES Star Ratings

The DES Star Ratings measure how well providers are performing in placing participants in sustainable employment.

The DES Star Ratings system measures the relative success of providers in achieving longer term employment outcomes for participants taking part in the DES program.

Participants and employers can use Star Ratings to help them choose the right provider. Ratings are from one to five stars, with one being the lowest, and five being the highest.

DES Links

Want to know more?

  • Visit the JobAccess website for more information or to find your local DES Provider
  • Call JobAccess on 1800 464 800.

Last updated: