Understanding funding options related to the National Disability Insurance Scheme
The Disability Support Pension, or DSP, is a special income support payment from Centrelink that helps people that cannot work. People that can apply for DSP include those with an intellectual disability, mental health condition, or serious physical condition that makes work very difficult or impossible.
Unlike other income support payments, the Disability Support Pension requires medical evidence to prove that a disability or medical condition stops a person from working. When accessing DSP, it’s important you must understand the responsibilities under the program.
HealSoul understands that accessing disability support like the DSP can seem daunting. As a disability support provider under the NDIS, we are here to assist you in accessing the funding you need to live on your terms. If you’re ready to live a more independent life at home, contact us for a free session today.
How do I apply for Disability Support Pension?
The DSP payment is a means-tested support pension that requires you to prove a total of 6 things to Centrelink. After completing this phase, you will be paid the Disability Support Pension as soon as possible.
Here’s what you need to supply:
1. Proof that you are over 16 years of age
Only people over the age of 16 may access the DSP. Those aged under 16 may be entitled to other payments under Centrelink. It’s best to get in touch with Centrelink if you are under 16.
2. Proof that you are an Australian resident
Only citizens and those that hold permanent visas may access the DSP. You must also be living in Australia to access the pension.
3. Proof that you have completed a program of support
In regards to employment, a program of support helps people find and maintain work. Employment service providers enrol participants in programs of support, and one must be completed for 18 months before you can access the DSP.
Here are some important things to note about entering a program of support:
- Medical exemptions to the program will not count towards the 18 months.
- You can be exempt from the program of support if you have a serious impairment that scores 20 points or more in the single impairment table.
- Employment service providers can recommend you in a letter to Centrelink after the 18 months has elapsed.
- Employment service providers can also prove that your program needed to be stopped because of your conditions, or that the program would not help you find work.
4. Proof that your medical conditions are permanent
Disabilities that show some promise of rehabilitation often come with good news for participants of the NDIS and other support programs. The DSP is reserved for ‘permanent’ disabilities. In this context, ‘permanent’ means a ‘fully diagnosed, treated, and stabilised’ condition.
Permanent conditions also mean that:
- the condition must be unlikely to change within 2 years, even with treatment
- they are not self-diagnosed, and must receive a full diagnosis from a doctor
- mental health conditions are diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist
- hearing loss must be diagnosed by an audiologist, or ear, nose, and throat specialist
- visually impairments, like if you are permanently blind, must be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist
- intellectual disabilities must follow an assessment of IQ and adaptive behaviour
By supplying your medical history records to Centrelink, you may be able to qualify for DSP.
5. Proof that your conditions score at least 20 points on the impairment tables
Like other disability supports, Centrelink will use an impairment table to assess how impactful your condition is on your ability to work. If your condition scores 20 points or above on the tables, then you can qualify for the Disability Support Pension.
6. Proof that you cannot work or retain a job
‘Work’ in the context of the DSP is any job that exists at any location in Australia. Disabilities can be life-altering and can prevent you from working your old job. However, you may be able to work another job.
To prove that you cannot work or retain a job, you must not be able to:
- work 15 hours a week in any job
- undergo training for a different job than the one you previously held
If you meet all of the above criteria, then you may be eligible for DSP. However, if you aren’t sure, it’s best to get in touch with HealSoul. As well as being experienced in navigating Centrelink and the NDIS, we can assist you in figuring out asset limits, your impairment rating, and other eligibility criteria.
What happens if Centrelink rejects my claim?
Sometimes, Centrelink will reject a claim for DSP. This is not the end of the world. It usually means that you have not met one of the above eligibility criteria. Here’s what to do if Centrelink rejects a claim for Disability Support Pension.
- Ask Centrelink why you were rejected.
- Follow Centrelink’s instructions. It may be something like ‘receive more treatment’, or ‘complete a full program of support for 18 months’.
- Resubmit your claim.
Fortunately, there’s no limit to the number of DSP applications a participant can make. Sometimes, it’s best to keep trying until you succeed. You can also seek out help.
How HealSoul can help you access the Disability Support Pension
As a disability support service provider in Melbourne and Perth, HealSoul is here to assist you in accessing the funding you need. We do this by working with NDIS participants one-on-one to help them understand what they can access under current programs.
We understand how confusing the requirements for DSP and other funding can be. That’s why we render our assistance in the plainest of terms, so you feel fully supported and informed at every stage.
The way we get started in working with participants is through an initial consultation. Once we understand a little bit more about your situation, we can fully inform you of what you can access. From there, we can work out a disability support program that works for you.
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