Tribunal: Member Deborah Mitchell

This review was about a Department of Social Services decision to reject the applicant’s claim for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

DSP appeals are first considered by the Social Services and Child Support Division (SSCSD) of the AAT. In this case, the SSCSD affirmed the decision to reject the claim for DSP so the applicant was able to appeal for a second review to a different division of the AAT, the General Division.

To qualify for the payment of DSP, the AAT must be satisfied:

  • the applicant has physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment(s)
  • the impairment(s) attract/(s) 20 points or more under the ‘impairment tables’
  • the applicant has a continuing inability to work.[1]

Both parties agreed the applicant suffered from the impairments he claimed. The AAT had to establish whether the applicant’s impairments attracted 20 points or more under the impairment tables. The ‘impairment tables’ are designed to determine the level of impact impairments have on an individual claiming the DSP.[2]

Before an impairment rating can be assigned, the underlying conditions causing the impairment must be deemed to be permanent and likely to last for more than two years.[3] This means the underlying condition must be fully treated and fully stabilised, among other things.[4] The word ‘stabilised’ in this context broadly refers to the requirement that further reasonable treatment for conditions would not result in improvements that would enable the applicant to work.[5]

Having regard to the medical evidence before it, the AAT found that the applicant’s conditions were not fully diagnosed, fully treated and/or fully stabilised and therefore could not be considered permanent. Because the AAT concluded the conditions were not permanent, the AAT was unable to assign impairment points for the conditions and the applicant did not qualify for the DSP. The AAT affirmed the decision on second review.

Read the full decision on AustLii.

 

[1] Section 94 of the Social Security Act 1991

[2] Section 5(2) of the Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011

[3] Section 6(3) of the Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011

[4] Section 6(4) of the Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011

[5] See the full definition in Section 6(6) of the Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011