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This fact sheet answers questions about applying to the AAT for a first review of a Centrelink decision about a Disability Support Pension.

PDF versions of this fact sheet are available in the following languages:

Arabic, English and Simplified Chinese.

Answers to Questions about your DSP appeal

What does the AAT need to decide?

The AAT must decide if you meet the rules under the Social Security Law to receive DSP.

Under the rules to obtain DSP the AAT needs to decide:

  • whether you have a health condition that gives you 20 points under the Impairment Tables
  • whether the health condition is permanent, that is, fully diagnosed, fully treated and fully stabilised
  • how much the health condition affects your ability to work or train
  • whether you meet other rules, including rules about programs of support, residence, other income and assets.

How will I be rated under the Impairment Tables?

The medical evidence you provide is used to rate your impairment level under Impairment Tables. An impairment rating of 20 points is required for you to qualify for DSP.

You or your doctor can view the Impairment Tables at:

The most helpful medical evidence you can provide is:

  • evidence about the day to day things you can and cannot do because of your health condition. The Impairment Tables contain descriptions of day to day things relevant to an impairment rating
  • evidence from your doctor that gives an ‘impairment rating’ and identifies which Impairment Table they used and why
  • evidence about a mental health condition like depression or anxiety (if this applies to you) that include a diagnosis by a psychiatrist or evidence from a clinical psychologist.

Can the AAT consider new information?

The AAT must look at medical conditions as they were around the date you claimed the DSP that was rejected, or the date your DSP was cancelled (whichever decision applies to you). Medical and other evidence should be relevant to those dates and otherwise, should clearly say if it is about your conditions now or at an earlier time.

What if my condition has changed?

If you have received a new diagnosis, additional treatment or your conditions have worsened since Centrelink made its decision, you may wish to contact Centrelink and make a new claim for DSP. This will not prevent the AAT reviewing Centrelink’s earlier decision.

How will the AAT assess my ability to undertake work or training?

To be eligible for DSP you must be unable to work 15 hours per week (or undertake training) within the next two years.

Any evidence you provide about your work or training capacity should consider all types of work available to you and should not be limited by your location or previous experience.

Do I need to have participated in a ‘program of support’?

If you are given a total ‘impairment rating’ of 20 points (or more) but you do not have a rating of at least 20 points under a single Impairment Table, you will need to provide evidence that you have participated in a ‘program of support’.

You can meet this requirement by proving that you have actively participated in a program to improve your ability to find or maintain work for at least 18 months in the 3 years before you claimed DSP. Periods when you are exempt from participating, such as when you had a temporary medical certificate, will not count towards the 18 months.


You can contact us if you need more information or have any questions about your review.

When this Fact Sheet refers to “You” it means the applicant, and includes his or her nominee, representative or support person. When it refers to “We” or “Us” it means the AAT.