How much can I work when on a Centrelink Disability Support Pension?

Living with a disability can be challenging, especially when it comes to financial stability, and working within the Centrelink system. Many people with disabilities may wonder whether they can work and earn while still receiving a Disability Support Pension. 

The answer is yes!

However, there are certain limitations to keep in mind.


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What is the Disability Support Pension - am I eligible?

The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a means-tested payment, which means that you need to report to Centrelink every 2 weeks, the hours that you work and the income you earn. How much you earn will affect the amount of pension you receive.

It's important to be aware of the thresholds that will affect your payment amount, the cut off points that will cease your pension altogether, and any other rules unique to your circumstances such as age, living arrangements and assets.

Learn more at the Services Australia website

So, how much can you work and earn while receiving DSP?

Hours you can work

If you are eligible to receive the DSP, you can work up to 29 hours per week without losing your payment.

However, if you work over 30 hours per week, your DSP payment will stop.

How much you can earn

Centrelink will calculate your payment amount based on the income you report to them fortnightly. 

Single person, 21 or older:

Income per fortnight is Amount your pension will reduce by
Up to $204 $0
Over $204 50 cents for each dollar over $204

If your income in a fortnight goes over the cut off point, you receive $0 for that fortnight. There are different cut-off points for different circumstances.

Your situation Income cut off point
21 or older, single $2,436.60
21 or older, couple living together $3,725.60 combined
21 or older, couple living apart due to ill health $4,825.20 combined
18 to 20, single, no children, at home $1,448.20
16 to 17, single, no children, at home $1,327.00
16 to 20, single, no children, independent $1,820.80
16 to 20, couple, no children $3,580.00 combined

Centrelink can suspend your DSP for up to 2 years if your income goes over the cut off point for more than 6 fortnights in a row. Recipients can still keep their Pensioner Concession Card for up to 2 years during this period.

Check out Centrelink's Income and assets test for more information

Is it worth working when receiving the Disability Support Pension?

The answer, again, is yes!

Financially, most people will be better off working whilst receiving the DSP.  

For example;

  • Matt is a single 24 year old and receives $1020.60 Disability Support Pension per fortnight.
  • Matt starts working 20 hours per fortnight, earning a total $500
  • Because he earns $296 over the Centrelink threshold of $204, his DSP will reduce by $0.50 for each dollar 
  • Therefore, his DSP payment reduces by $148 ($296 x 50 cents)
  • Matt's DSP amount will be $1020.60 - $148.00 = $872.60
  • Matt's total DSP + earned income =  $1384.10

Working also has the added benefit of earning superannuation, social connection with colleagues, and finding purpose in contributing to society.

To learn more about additional rules, visit the Services Australia website or get in touch with one of our expert team, who will be more than happy to answer questions, big or small.


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Disclaimer: Information and advice are provided as a guide only.

The original post was published in November 2023. We have updated all figures for accuracy and comprehensiveness, which are current as of April 2024.