What is the Disability Support Pension?
The government provides financial assistance to those who have a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition through the Disability Support Pension (DSP) scheme. Being the recipient of the DSP entitles you to a Pensioner Concession Card giving you concessional rates on your expenses such as medical bills, utility bills and public transport.
How does it work?
You must meet both medical and non-medical rules to be eligible.
A full list of the medical rules can be found at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.
You need to meet all the non-medical rules to get DSP. These rules are:
- You’re between 16 and Age Pension age when you claim
- You meet the residency rules.
- You meet the income and asset tests.
Rates of payment differ for singles, couples, couples separated by illness, homeowners and non-homeowners. The amount of your pension will then be determined using the income and asset means testing. The lower result of the two tests will be your pension payment. The payment will also include the Pension Supplement and the Energy Supplement.
Centrelink reviews the payment rates on March 20 and September 20 each year.
Refer to www.servicesaustralia.gov.au for details on current pension rates of payment.
What are the benefits?
- Access to the pension will help to supplement ongoing living and medical costs.
- You may be entitled to other payments and benefits, which include remote area allowance and rent assistance. Your Doctor may provide bulk-billing visits.
- You will also receive discounts on other costs dependent on your location.
What should I be thinking about?
- The DSP amount you receive is reviewed on a regular basis. If your financial circumstances change, your payment could be impacted.
- DSP payments are tax-free income if you are under-Age Pension age. DSP payments form part of your assessable (taxable) income over Age Pension age. You may receive a Senior Tax Offset to reduce tax payable.
- You will be subject to a number of qualification tests and conditions based on your age, home ownership, marital status as well as the Income and Asset means test.
- You must notify Centrelink of any significant changes or extended overseas travel (more than 6 weeks), within 14 days, for a review of your entitlements.
- Centrelink payments are subject to legislative change which may impact your entitlement in the future. A review of your income requirements will be needed should this happen.