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06 April 2021

Busting myths about the Disability Support Pension.

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) provides financial support from the government if you have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops you from working.

There’s often confusion about the Disability Support Pension, particularly when it comes to who gets it and whether you can get both the DSP and the NDIS.

Thanks to our friends at Endeavour Foundation and their recent update on the Disability Support Pension, today we’re featuring a question and answer session about the DSP which will hopefully bust some myths and clear the air.

Q: Has the NDIS replaced the Disability Support Pension (DSP)?

A: The NDIS is not a replacement for the Disability Support Pension (DSP). Some people may receive one and some people may receive both – it depends on your situation.

The two funding and welfare models have been designed to work alongside each other.

  • NDIS: Funds disability supports such as assistive technology and support workers·
  • DSP: Helps cover day-to-day living costs such as groceries and bills.

The DSP is paid by Centrelink. NDIS funding is paid by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Q. Do all people with a disability get the DSP?

A. No. To get the DSP, you need to meet both:

  • Medical rules which assess how your condition affects you; and
  • Non-medical rules such as age, residence status, income and assets.

Some of the reasons a person may not be eligible include:

  • You earn too much money (for example, if your job pays over a certain amount)
  • You have too many assets
  • Your partner earns too much
  • You are not an Australian resident
  • Centrelink determines you do not meet the requirements.

Unlike the NDIS, the DSP is means tested. How much you earn, how much your partner earns and any assets you own such as a car or house are taken into account when determining eligibility.

Q. How much money do you get on the Disability Support Pension?

A. Some people think that the DSP pays a lot of money but that’s not true. More than one third of people who are receiving the DSP are living in poverty.

How much people receive depends on:

  • Their age
  • Whether they have a partner
  • Their living situation such as whether they are dependent on other people such as parents, or they are independent
  • Whether they have children.

Find out the current DSP rates.

Q. Does everyone on the DSP get the same amount?

A. No. The amount people receive in their Disability Support Pension (DSP) varies from person to person.

Your age, income and marital status can all be factors that influence how much you will receive.

Q. How easy is it to get the Disability Support Pension (DSP)?

A. There are many ‘hoops’ to jump through to access the DSP. There can be a lot of paperwork, medical referrals and interviews. Around one third of Disability Support Pension (DSP) applications are rejected.

It’s also worth noting that Centrelink can be quite strict on the accessibility criteria. You will only be eligible if “your disability or medical condition stops you from working at least 15 hours a week in the next two years”.

Q. Can you receive the Disability Support Pension if you have an NDIS Plan?

A. Yes. However, not everyone who has an NDIS Plan will receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP), just as not everyone who receives the DSP will have an NDIS Plan.

They are two separate schemes that work alongside one another, but can operate without one another.

Q. If I am approved for the DSP, does that mean I will get it for the rest of my life?

A. No. The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is not a ‘set and forget’ payment.

If your circumstances change, so can your DSP payments. You may need to do some reporting and Centrelink may review your payments at any time.

It’s also worth noting that you cannot receive the DSP if you are over the age of 65. This is because people over 65 generally get the Age Pension.

Q. Can the NDIS organise my Disability Support Pension?

A. The NDIS cannot organise a DSP or a DSP application. You need to apply for a DSP through Centrelink.

For more information about the Disability Support Pension and to apply, check out the Services Australia website.

Leap in! can help. 

Here at Leap in! HQ, we have a team of experienced plan managers who can help you if you have questions about your NDIS Plan. You can connect with the Leap in! Crew via email – crew@leapin.com.au, phone 1300 05 78 78 or visit our website and chat with us live.

Further reading

Caring for yourself when you care for someone with a disability.

Helpful tips and resources for managing anxiety.

The NDIS access process is changing.