APM's step-by-step guide on how to apply for the disability pension

The disability support pension (DSP) helps people living with a permanent disability that affects their ability to work. Find out how to apply for the disability pension and where to get help if you're not eligible.

How to apply for the disability pension

You can complete a DSP application online or you can fill out a physical form. Before you submit your claim you will need to supply supporting documents and medical evidence. The steps below explain how to apply for the disability pension:

1. Find out if you're eligible

To be eligible for the Disability Support Pension, you need to be aged between 16 and the pension age and living with a physical disability, intellectual disability or psychiatric condition that affects your ability to work.

You will need to meet medical and non-medical rules to be eligible.

  • Non-medical rules are about your age, residency status, income and assets.
  • Medical rules are about your condition or disability and how it impacts your day to day life.

Centrelink may use things like job capacity assessments, income tests and impairment tables to assess your application.

For more information, read our guide: Who is eligible for the Disability Support Pension?

2. Set up MyGov or Centrelink account

The best way to make a claim is online. You will need a MyGov account to apply online. If you cannot apply online, you can apply using a printable form. If you don't have a printer, you can contact Centrelink to send you a form in the post.

Follow the steps below to set up your MyGov account:

  • Go to the MyGov website
  • Click on the create an account link
  • Agree to the terms and conditions
  • Enter your email address
  • Enter the code sent to your email address
  • Enter your phone number or set secret questions

Once you have set up your MyGov account, you will need to link your Centrelink account. You may need to prove your identity online to do this.

If you have previously made claims with Centrelink, you can use your customer reference number (CRN) to link your Centrelink and MyGov accounts.

3. Get your supporting documents

You will need to provide supporting documents with your application form. These documents should contain information about your condition or disability and how it impacts your life.

Common supporting documents include:

  • Medical reports and medical evidence from health professionals
  • Hospital records
  • Financial records (such as insurance agreements)
  • Proof of income and assets
  • Income tax returns
  • Housing, rental or real estate information

The particular documents you need to submit will be listed on your claim. You should submit them before you make your claim.

You may be asked to submit extra documents after you make your claim.

4. Find out if you need to participate in a Program of Support

Programs of support help people living with injury, illness or disability look for work and get access to workplace supports and services.

You may need to participate in a program of support before you can claim the Disability Support Pension.

Program of Support providers include:

5. Make your claim

The steps below explain how to apply for the disability pension:

  1. Login to MyGov
  2. Go to Centrelink
  3. Select Payments and Claims from the menu, then Claims, then Make a Claim
  4. Under Disabled, Ill or Injured, select Get Started
  5. Answer all the questions
  6. Follow the prompts to submit your supporting documents

When all sections have been completed and all supporting documents uploaded, you can submit your claim.

6. Track the progress of your claim

You can use MyGov to track the progress of your claim. Login to see your claim ID, the estimated date of completion and a tracking link.

Once Centrelink has assessed your claim, they will get in touch with you about the results of your claim and what to do next. If you don't receive emails, they will post you a letter via mail.

If you aren't happy with the Centrelink decision, you can ask for a review.

Where to get help applying for Disability Support Pension

The following services can help you during the application process:

  • The DSP Help website contains helpful guides and information about applying for the Disability Support Pension.
  • The DSP and Me guide explains about the Disability Support Pension in easy English.
  • The Economic Justice Australia website contains a list of local specialist legal centres where you can get free advice about making a claim or appealing a Centrelink decision.
  • Staff in Centrelink centres can help you complete forms and create your MyGov account.
  • You can call Centrelink on 132 717 or use the National Relay Service to talk about Centrelink income support payments and services. Use the Multilingual Phone service if you need to speak to a multilingual officer.

What happens when your claim is accepted?

If your claim is accepted, you will start receiving payments from the date listed in your acceptance letter.

The amount of disability pension you can receive depends on your situation. Things like your age, marital status, living situation, income and assets can all affect how much you can claim.

To keep receiving the pension, you have to meet your obligations. This includes:

  • Reporting how much income you and your partner receive
  • Telling Centrelink if your situation changes

What to do if your claim is not accepted

If you're not eligible for income support through the Disability Support Pension, you may be able to access other types of support and services.

You can search for payments and services you might be eligible for using the payments and services finder on the Services Australia website.

An NDIS Local Area Coordinator can help you find local services and supports that are right for you, even if you're not an NDIS participant.

If you want to work, APM can help.

We are Australia's largest provider of Disability Employment Services. Every week we help thousands of job seekers like you find work and access support and services to succeed in the workplace.

Whatever your employment goals are, we want to help you reach them.

You can call our team on 1800 276 276 or register online today to get started.