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Disability Support Pension and Working

Disability Support

Updated 25-01-2024

Disability Support Pension and Working

Navigating the intersection of employment and disability support can be a complex and daunting task for many Australians. Understanding how one can still maintain gainful employment while receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is critical for those who seek both financial autonomy and the support they require due to their disabilities.

Eligibility for the Disability Support Pension

Before delving into the details of working while receiving the DSP, it's important to understand the eligibility requirements. The Disability Support Pension is designed for individuals who are unable to work due to a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day you claim the DSP.
  • Meet the medical rules, showing that you have a permanent condition that stops you from working.
  • Be between 16 and Age Pension age at the time of claiming.
  • Meet certain income and asset tests.

Balancing Work and DSP

The Income Test for DSP Recipients

When a DSP recipient undertakes work, their earnings may affect the amount of pension they receive. The income test calculates the pension reduction in two steps. For singles, as of the current financial year, you can earn up to $178 per fortnight before your pension is affected. For every dollar you earn over this threshold, your DSP reduces by 50 cents.

Work Incentive Programs

Services Australia offers a range of programs to support DSP recipients seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce. These include:

  • Program of Support: A program aimed at helping recipients prepare for, find, and maintain a job.
  • Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support: An incentive for employers to take on apprentices with disabilities.
  • Mobility Allowance: Assistance for those who cannot use public transport without substantial assistance due to their impairment.

The Impacts of Employment on DSP

It is pivotal to note that working may not only affect the financial aspect of DSP but can also influence the recipient's qualification status. Regular employment of over 15 hours a week at minimum wages could signify an individual's ability to work, potentially impacting DSP eligibility. Always consult with a financial information service officer or your local Centrelink office for personalised advice.

Strategies for Maintaining DSP While Working

Employment Services Providers

Those contemplating employment while on the DSP can access Employment Services Providers who specialise in supporting people with disabilities. They are well-versed in balancing the requirements of DSP with the pursuit of employment and can offer valuable guidance.

Income Reporting

To maintain transparency and ensure you continue to receive the correct payment, all income must be reported fortnightly to Centrelink. This includes your gross income, any employment or salary changes, and the number of hours worked.

Financial Planning

Partnering with a financial counsellor can provide clarity on how work will affect the DSP. They can offer strategies for managing finances and ensuring that taking on work is beneficial and sustainable.

Staying Informed

Legislation and policies regarding the DSP can change. Staying up-to-date with the latest information from the Department of Social Services and Centrelink is vital.


The Disability Support Pension is a vital safety net for those unable to work due to disability. Yet, it is also structured to encourage and support recipients who are able or wish to engage in some level of employment. By understanding the rules around income and assets, as well as utilising the available support measures, it is possible to work and still receive the DSP.

For many, maintaining employment increases self-esteem, financial independence, and an improved quality of life. If you are considering working while on the Disability Support Pension, it is advisable to seek tailored advice and support to make informed decisions that benefit your long-term wellbeing and financial stability.

About the Author

Alex is an esteemed expert in assistive technology and disability support services, he holds a unique blend of professional expertise and personal dedication to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities. With over a decade of experience in research and development, Alex has been at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge assistive technologies into practical support solutions. Renowned for his empathetic approach and strong advocacy for disability rights, Alex's work extends beyond academic research to hands-on involvement in community initiatives and policy advisory roles. A prolific writer, his articles are widely acclaimed for their insightful analysis, clear communication, and commitment to ethical considerations in technology use.

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