Changes to DSP claims

The assessment process of claims for the Disability Supprt Pension changed on 1 January and Tony would like to know if his potential claim will be affected.

Q. Tony

I understand that the rules surrounding claiming a Disability Support Pension (DSP) have changed. I have been told by my GP that I may have to give up work due to crippling back pain and I am wondering if I will qualify for any disability pension. What has changed and will I be affected?

A. There has been a change to the supporting documentation required when applying for the DSP, but at the moment, it only applies to those under 35 years of age. From 1 January 2015, those applying for the DSP can no longer use a ‘Treating Doctor Report’ (TDR) as substantiation. Existing medical evidence will need to be provided to the Department of Human Services for assessment.

You will also have to undergo a Job Capacity Assessment (JCA), unless you meet criteria which exempts you from one, and after this, you may be referred for a face-to-face Disability Medical Assessment with a government-approved doctor. The doctor will provide the Department with a report which will confirm:

  • your diagnosis is supported by the evidence
  • your condition is fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised
  • your condition is permanent for the purpose of DSP qualification, and
  • the impairment rating assigned by the JCA using the Impairment Tables is supported by the evidence

Human Services will then make a decision on your claim. From 1 July 2015, all claims, regardless of age of claimant, will be subject to this process.

For further details, visit

Written by Debbie McTaggart