Skip to content

TRIBUNAL: Member Deborah Mitchell

The AAT affirmed a decision made by the Department of Social Services (the Department) after finding, at second review, that the applicant did not meet the points-based impairment requirements to qualify for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

In early 2019, the applicant lodged a claim for the DSP where he listed disabilities and medical conditions related to his spine that he claimed significantly affects his ability to work. His claim was rejected on the basis that he had failed to provide sufficient medical evidence to assess the claim.

The applicant then sought review of that decision by an Authorised Review Officer (ARO), who affirmed the decision finding that his chronic severe lower back pain was fully diagnosed but was not fully treated and fully stabilised.

The applicant sought a first-tier review in the AAT’s Social Services and Child Support Division (SSCSD) where it was found that the applicant’s spinal pain condition was fully diagnosed, fully treated and fully stabilised however, did not attract an impairment rating of 20 points or more under the Impairment Tables. To qualify for the DSP, a person’s medical conditions must score a rating of 20 points or more on the Impairment Tables and they must be found to have a continuing inability to work. The Impairment Tables are used to assess the functional impact of a person’s permanent conditions.

The applicant then sought a second-tier review of this matter with the AAT’s General Division to establish if he was entitled to receive DSP at the date of his claim or within 13 weeks thereafter.

Based on the evidence before the AAT, there was no contention that the applicant’s condition was permanent and resulted in functional impairments during the relevant period. The Tribunal found that although the applicant’s spinal condition was fully diagnosed, fully treated and fully stabilised during the relevant period, that only 10 impairment points could be assigned under the Impairment Tables. This meant that he did not qualify for the DSP.

Read the full decision