How Centrelink assess eligibility for DES

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If you have a health condition that interferes with your ability to find or keep a job, you may be eligible for employment support from Centrelink. Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with disability, injury or health condition join the workforce.

Some of the services offered by DES providers include career advice, interview skills, resume development, on-the-job training, and ongoing support at work. Funding for necessary workplace modifications and wage subsidies will also be paid to employers if required.

How do I know if I am eligible for DES?

To be eligible for DES, you may need to undertake an Employee Services Assessment (ESAt) to verify that you have a medical condition, injury or disability. An ESAt is used to determine the most appropriate employment service for a job seeker with disability and establish their current and future work capacity based on an assessment of their individual circumstances.

An ESAt is conducted by a Centrelink Assessor, who will discuss the kinds of supports and interventions available which may be suitable for job seekers and determine a baseline work capacity, for example, the maximum hours per week that a job seeker can work for.

  • You must also fit the following criteria:
    Have a disability, mental ill-health, injury or health condition that impacts your ability to find and keep a job
  • Be aged at between 14 and 65 years
  • Be at or above the minimum legal working age in your state or territory
  • Have a future work capacity of at least eight hours per week
  • Are not studying full time (unless the job seeker is an eligible school leaver).
  • And, are not working at or above their employment benchmark hours (not applicable for Work Assist participants)
  • Be an Australian resident (Australian citizen, or holder of a permanent resident visa or a protected Special Category Visa)

Evidence of your disability must be certified by a doctor and recently dated.

There are special eligibility arrangements for specific job seekers which permit access to DES without an ESAt. These are:

  • Eligible School Leavers: Full time, final year secondary school students with significant disability or young people transitioning from an eligible state or territory transition to work program or School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES)
  • Special Class Clients (for DES-DMS only): Job seekers who have acquired a disability, injury or illness as a result of being present at, and directly affected by, notified events such as the Bali and London bomb attacks and the December 2004 tsunami
  • Work Assist: Eligible workers who are having difficulty fulfilling the essential requirements of their role due to their injury, disability or health condition and are seeking assistance from a DES provider

How do I register for DES?

You can access DES by contacting your local Centrelink office directly or registering with a DES provider such as AimBig Employment. Once you have registered, your DES provider will arrange a time to meet with you and assess and understand your unique circumstances. They will then create a plan that supports your individual goals and helps you to find and keep a job.

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