This topic applies to people who are subject to either the 15 hour rule or the 30 hour rule for DSP qualification.
Capacity to work 15 hours or more per week means the ability to reliably perform work of 15 hours or more per week for a period of 26 weeks without excessive leave or work absences.
Similarly, capacity to work 30 hours or more per week means the ability to reliably perform work of 30 hours or more per week for a period of 26 weeks without excessive leave or work absences.
Explanation: Approximately 2 weeks sick leave in relation to a person's condition in a 26 week period is considered to be reasonable leave.
Explanation: Sick leave of a month or more in relation to a person's condition in 26 weeks is more than what is considered reasonable.
From 1 July 2012 DSP recipients continue to receive DSP if they obtain paid work of at least 15 and less than 30 hours a week. Prior to 1 July 2012 DSP recipients granted on or after 11 May 2005 and transitional DSP recipients had their payments suspended or cancelled if they were working 15 hours a week or more.
Act reference: SSAct section 96 Continuation of disability support pension
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Continuation, Variation or Termination of DSP
In cases where a person's medical condition is variable, their ability to reliably perform work of 15 hours (or 30 hours, if subject to this rule) or more per week for a period of 26 weeks without excessive leave or work absences will be considered.
The following explanations and examples are given in relation to people subject to the 15 hour rule. The following also applies to people subject to the 30 hour rule.
Explanation: A person with a stable permanent condition characterised by infrequent or brief episodes who is able to work 15 hours (30 hours) or more per week for a period of 26 weeks would be ineligible for DSP, but may qualify for NSA or another appropriate payment.
Example: Rob has an anxiety disorder which is asymptomatic for long periods between discreet episodes of impaired functioning. Over a 26 week period, Rob's condition will prevent him from attending work for around 2 weeks. Rob can work 15 hours (30 hours) a week for a period of 26 weeks and is not eligible for DSP.
Explanation: A person with a permanent condition characterised by severe and frequent episodes who is unable to work 15 hours (30 hours) per week for a period of 26 weeks without significant work absences may be eligible for DSP.
Example: Jacqui has a psychiatric impairment which is likely to persist for the foreseeable future. Despite undergoing all reasonable treatment for her condition, Jacqui still experiences frequent psychotic episodes. Consideration of work capacity takes into account these fluctuations. Over a 26 week period, Jacqui takes an average of 6 weeks leave because of these episodes. She is unable to work 15 hours (30 hours) a week without requiring excessive leave or work absences for the purpose of DSP.
Explanation: Where a permanent medical condition is asymptomatic for short periods between discreet regular episodes of significant impairment in functioning, the person's impairment should be considered permanent.
Example: Laura suffers from migraines once a month and as a result she is incapacitated for one day per month. The assessor will need to determine the number of hours that Laura can still work. Laura can work 15 full days per month (or an average of around 26 hours per week). Laura is able to work 15 hours (30 hours) per week over a 26 week period and is ineligible for DSP.
Last reviewed: 2 July 2012