Understanding Disability Qualification for Centrelink Support


Centrelink, the Australian government’s social service agency, provides financial assistance and support to individuals facing various challenges, including disabilities. For those living with disabilities, Centrelink offers a range of payments and services designed to help them lead a fulfilling life despite their limitations. However, to access these benefits, it is crucial to understand what qualifies as a disability in the eyes of Centrelink. In this article, we will delve into the criteria and processes involved in determining disability eligibility for Centrelink support.

1. Defining Disability for Centrelink

1.1 Understanding the Disability Support Pension (DSP)

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a payment offered by Centrelink to individuals with a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition that significantly impacts their ability to work. To be eligible for DSP, you must:

Be between 16 and Age Pension age
Meet residency requirements
Have a permanent medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least two years
Be unable to work more than 15 hours per week at or above the relevant minimum wage
Pass the income and asset tests

It is essential to note that DSP is not solely based on a specific medical condition, but rather on how that condition affects your capacity to engage in substantial paid employment.

What qualifies as a disability for Centrelink?
What qualifies as a disability for Centrelink?

1.2 Medical Impairment Tables

Centrelink uses Medical Impairment Tables as a guideline to assess the level of disability and the impact it has on an individual’s ability to work. These tables are used for various medical conditions, including physical, psychological, and intellectual impairments. The tables provide specific criteria for determining whether a person qualifies for DSP based on their impairment’s severity.

Applicants must provide medical evidence, including doctor’s reports and assessments, that align with the Medical Impairment Tables to support their claims. The evidence should clearly outline the extent of the disability and how it affects the individual’s daily functioning and capacity to work.

2. Types of Centrelink Payments for Disabilities

2.1 Disability Support Pension (DSP)

As mentioned earlier, the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a primary payment offered by Centrelink for individuals with disabilities. It provides financial support and access to additional services to help individuals improve their work capacity and participate more actively in the community.

2.2 Mobility Allowance

The Mobility Allowance is designed to assist individuals with disabilities who face challenges with transportation. This allowance helps cover the additional costs of travel due to a disability, such as attending medical appointments, work-related activities, or educational pursuits.

To qualify for the Mobility Allowance, an individual must:

Be 16 years or older
Receive a qualifying income support payment, including DSP, Carer Payment, or the Age Pension
Be unable to use public transport without substantial difficulty
Travel a minimum distance set by Centrelink

2.3 Sickness Allowance

The Sickness Allowance provides financial support for individuals who are temporarily incapacitated due to illness, injury, or any other medical condition. It is available to those who are unable to work or study for a short period but are expected to return to work or their studies once they recover.

To be eligible for Sickness Allowance, an applicant must:

Be between 22 and Age Pension age
Meet residence rules
Not be receiving any other Centrelink payments
Have a medical certificate stating the expected duration of the incapacity

qualifies as a disability for Centrelink

2.4 Carer Payment

While not specifically for individuals with disabilities, the Carer Payment is an essential payment for those who care for someone with a severe disability, illness, or medical condition. The carer must provide constant care, which significantly impacts their ability to work or engage in other activities.

To qualify for Carer Payment, the carer must:

Be an adult residing in Australia
Meet residency and income and asset test requirements
Provide care for a person with a disability or medical condition, or someone who is frail aged

3. The Application Process

3.1 Gathering Relevant Documentation

When applying for disability-related payments or services, it is vital to provide all relevant documentation and evidence to support your claim. This includes medical reports, assessments, and any other supporting documents that demonstrate the severity of your disability and its impact on your ability to work or participate in society.

3.2 Lodging the Claim

You can lodge your claim for disability-related payments and services through various channels, including online, over the phone, or in person at a Centrelink office. The application process will involve providing personal details, medical information, and financial information, including income and assets. https://inclusivementalhealth.org/dual-disability/

3.3 Assessment and Decision

Once your application is lodged, Centrelink will review the provided information, and in some cases, may request additional documentation or medical assessments to make an informed decision. It is essential to respond promptly to any requests from Centrelink to avoid delays in the assessment process.

3.4 Appeals Process

If your application is rejected or if you disagree with the decision made by Centrelink, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process involves a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), an independent body that will reassess your claim and make a determination based on the evidence presented.


Navigating the disability qualification process for Centrelink support can be a challenging but crucial journey for individuals with disabilities. Understanding the eligibility criteria and providing comprehensive evidence is essential to increase the likelihood of approval for disability-related payments and services. Centrelink offers various financial assistance options designed to support individuals with disabilities, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives and actively participate in society. If you or someone you know is living with a disability, reach out to Centrelink to explore the available options and support.

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