What is a program of support?

What is a program of support?

A program of support (POS) is a program you have to complete through an employment service provider (ESP) before you can claim disability support pension (DSP). Your POS might include looking for jobs or doing some training.

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How do I enrol in a program of support?

You must enrol with an employment service provider and actively attend a program of support.

You can enrol with:

To get a DSP you must have have actively participated with a provider for a least 18 months in the previous 3 years before you apply for DSP. There are very limited exceptions to this rule.

If you get a medical exemption from doing a program of support, this period will not count towards 18 months. You must complete a total of 18 months before you can claim DSP.

Example 1

Sam has a back injury and depression and had to stop working. He has been on Newstart and enrolled in a Program of Support for 18 months. Sam got a medical exemption for about 6 months because he didn’t feel up to going into his employment service provider for the training.

This means Sam has only done 12 months of program of support because his 6-month medical exemption period does not towards the 18-month requirement. Sam will need to do a further 6 months of program of support before claiming DSP.

What are the exceptions to completing a program of support?

You do not have to complete a POS if you have a ‘severe impairment’. You have a severe impairment if you have a condition which scores at least 20 points on a single impairment table.

You may not have to do a POS for 18 months if your employment service provider terminated your participation in the program because they could not improve your ability to find work.

Example 2

Sam gets his doctor to write him a letter saying that his back problem scores 10 points on Table 4 and his depression scores 10 points on Table 5 for mental health.

He also gets a letter from his psychologist saying his depression is fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised.

Sam is required to do program of support because he does not have a severe impairment, he has 20 points under two impairment tables. Centrelink rejects his claim because he hasn’t done a program of support. Sam should call Legal Help to get some advice on making a new DSP claim.

What evidence do you need to show you’ve completed a program of support?

If you have done a POS, you can ask your employment service provider to write a letter to confirm your participation with Centrelink.

You can also use the Centrelink form 'Information about participation in a program of support' available on the Department of Human Services website.

What if I don’t like my employment service provider?

If you are unhappy with your employment service provider you can ask Centrelink to refer you to a different provider.

You can also make a complaint or suggestion using the employment services form.

More information

Find out more information about disability support pensions.