Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Wife finally moving to Australia but has BPD, can she claim disability benefits?

Community Member
Hi everyone. Long time viewer, first time poster. I dont know where else to turn. My wife is finally moving to Australia in the coming months but hasn't held down a job due to her BPD/Bipolar disorder. I'm just wondering what avenues of help or financial assistance she may be able to claim once she's here. I don't know how to talk to her about it as i don't know the details. I want to give her some piece of mind that there may be support for her here outside of myself. Or will she just have to be completely reliant on me? Im not sure how this works. Any insight and information would be appreciated.
5 Replies 5

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello VikingNerd, I'm sorry to hear about your wife and one option is for to see a doctor, perhaps the one you see, and get them to make a diagnosis and if need be administer some medication by way of scripts, they then want to refer her to a psych, using the mental health plan, then she can apply for benefits from Centrelink to help her financially.

To be able to claim DSP could be slightly easier now, as there is a change of government, however, she will need reports from her doctor as well as a psych to qualify if she is suffering from what you have told us.

It's good for a partner/spouse to be able to help those close to them, but at certain times it may be difficult to try and explain certain points to them because you don't want to upset them, so if she can book to see a psych via her doctor would be the proper way to go.

See how this goes to begin with and please get back to us and ask any question you like.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there

Bear in mind there will be visa/residency requirements to access some payments/services, or possibly a waiting period. I’m not knowledgeable in this area though, sorry. Furthermore, most, if not all, payments through Centrelink will take into account partner’s income. So depending on your income she may not be entitled to a payment.

To get accurate information about entitlements you could call Centrelink for a general chat. Another option would be a Migrant or Multicultural resource centre. Really valuable resource for new arrivals, but also knowledgeable with the info you’re seeking here.

Hope that’s at least of some help. Kind regards, Katy

Community Member

Hi op.

l'm not sure what her visa set up is atm but my partner has finally just gotten her visa resorted due to divorce. Thing is , even though she's lived here 9 yrs and applied for her visa with her husband when she got here, bc of the divorce and troubles there later, her visa got held up so it's only just been re approved now, a few wks ago.

But here's the thing , she has no entitlements now for 4yrs, from the day her visa got re approved, nor has she had any before all this for that 9 yrs either, except medicare. That's all she could get and still even now for the next 4yrs all she's entitled to is medicare. So just going on that alone l'd doubt your wife could get of the plane and claim anything much at all but l may be wrong. And as Geoff said, there's a new gov now and this one may actually have a heart and the rules will likely change but that's still very very early in right now.

Good luck anyway.


Community Member

Hi VikingNerd, nice to meet you.

I just had to look up who is in charge of the country right now when geoff mentioned the change of government because due to related stress I don't stay right on top of political news as it happens! I don't know enough about politics to say what would make it easy or harder than before, but in my experience gaining a disability pension can be a grueling task (even when it's very genuinely needed) especially for mental health conditions.

If things have changed then maybe the enlightenment I can provide is outdated, but from what I've been through and heard from others, disability pension is generally treated by government as a very last resort, awarded in a very clear situation where a person is seen to be absolutely unable to work, (confirmed substantially by medical professionals who have been treating the person for a substantial period of time) due to a condition that has been severe and consistent for a period of at least two years, (if I remember correctly), and that is also deemed by the treating medical professional to not be likely to improve in the future; a permanent condition.

I'm sure any number of people on this forum can understand what a politically complex set of stipulations those are for anyone living with a mental health condition, and how difficult it is for people in grey areas to be properly understood and cared for! I understand as well that it's a numbers game because realistically, if everyone who needs help got exactly what they "need", there possibly actually just wouldn't be enough to go around.

What government agencies want to see, in order to grant this if needed, (which is also the responsible attitude for people to be taking anyway) is that rather than reaching for a payment people are exhausting every treatment and avenue available to get well, with a view to want to work, and to be recovered. If and when this has been done in a way that would be seen as exhaustive and that the inability to work can be confirmed as permanent (hence the term disability), then assessment has a chance of even being looked at. In this context, "disability" is seen as the inability to work. Which can be so subjective and difficult to prove.

My advice would be to envelop her in as much support and treatment as you can from people and therapies, and yes, have a chat to centrelink, and do what you can. But try to be emotionally prepared for how tough it might be bound to be.

Thinking of you, hoping for favor

Community Member

There weren't enough characters for me to not just sound harsh and like all I have to say is expect it to be rough.

❤️ Getting payment may be rough (or there may be a different payment like newstart which has activity participation requirements like looking for a job, or, if a job capacity assessment deems it more appropriate, attending therapy or whatever activity it is assessed she is capable of. In the past the deal has been that she may have to enter what they call a "participation agreement", which will depend on how she's assessed. Some people are assessed as only partially incapable of working (like they can do 8 hours a week) and then they are still required to keep a job seeker diary which requires a certain number of job applications a week. Others are required to attend sessions with a "psychologist" (who is also a case worker who's job it is to get her "job ready".) What I would have given when I went through this for someone to warn me how it works.

But this information is several years old at this point. If these types of things are what's coming up for her, developing a relationship with a social worker as soon as possible is a really good idea. They can help attend meetings and advocate on her behalf, fill out forms and have knowledge of application processes, and will best work with her if they know her and her condition really well.

Regardless of what welfare and their affiliates can do to help, I'd be focusing on looking for support and therapy programs (and if you do talk to centrelink ask for some resources to get you started.) As others have said the GP is often a good starting point. Not only do programs and therapists who can provide support provide something constructive to do that might actually improve ones life, it is a good sign to centrelink that you're trying, and not just trying to "bludge the system", a point in your favor if and when an application for DSP becomes doable.