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Centrelink Disability Support Pension for Mental Illness

Community Member

Hey guys

My wife has had SEVERE depression, anxiety and panic attacks for nearly 17 years. The depression is up and down at times but in relation to the anxiety/panic she has been virtually housebound for the past 9 years, unable to leave the house without me in the car with her and unable to go any further than a few blocks from home. She cannot go any further than immediate walking distance to the car and we cannot turn the car off due to fear of not being able to immediately get home to her safe zone without experiencing a severe, debilitating panic attack and we're back to her not leaving the bedroom again. She has taken numerous medications, seen counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, hypnotherapy and doctors over this time and has not been able to beat it.

Introduction over, she is obviously unable to work and cannot fully care for our kids alone so I am forced to be only able to get casual/part-time work while on Newstart allowance (required to be still applying for full-time work) and cannot earn more than $680 per fortnight or I will lose my entire Centrelink payment. Even though there is an extensive catalogue of proof of many years of her condition Centrelink will not approve her for a Disability Support Pension as it is "only mental illness" not an "actual disability" and the only assistance they can offer is $80 per fortnight carer's allowance.

Does anyone have any experience in a similar situation or have any advice they can offer ?

15 Replies 15

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear 3000~

Thank you for your post. Dealing with Centerlink is a slow and frustrating business and I've head of some victories, these however have involved someone going to bat for you. Perhaps others here have more in-depth knowledge.

A Disability Support Pension specifically allows for psychiatric impairment.


The problem may be in their acceptance of your wife's medical documentation. Do you have a doctor or psychiatrist who is ready state your wife meets the technical requirements and is will to interact with Centerlink to sort the matter out?

Trying to act as a go-between with doctor and Centerlink, particularly if you wife is unable to deal with the matter herself, is a most daunting task. Perhaps this sort of advocacy will do the trick.

Please post back and say more


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
I don't have a personal experience with this myself but I have seen and heard on social media groups I am in on people getting the Disability Support Pension for Mental Health. From what I can understand I do believe there is a lot more supporting evidence required. So letters from as many of the professionals she has already seen stating how bad things are. Have also heard that if you haven't already then maybe seeing an OT for an OT assessment may help as well as they do these for mental health. I hope this is of some help xx

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi 3000,

Thanks for your post.

Unfortunately the likelihood of getting the DSP for a mental illness is incredibly rare; despite the amount of evidence that you have. Centrelink are of the illusion that mental illnesses are not permanent as even though there is no cure they naturally fluctuate.

My only suggestion would be to either see a Centrelink Social Worker; they can perhaps advise you on other payments; or to look at Austudy (study payment). Obviously this is not ideal however there are a few courses that she could do from home so she would not need any contact hours and it would allow her to receive a payment. I also believe that a Cert IV would be okay for the criteria.

Community Member

I am suffering with depression myself. I have anxiety too. I've been thinking of going on a disability pension because I can't deal with the outside world. And I'm sick of being a slave. Everyday it gets harder and harder to stay in this world. I am sick of it. I don't want to contribute anymore. I am slowly being murdered. I think I should just end it right now. At least then I would be free.

How can politicians be allowed to steal money that we worked for and they get away with it? While the rest of us suffer working and they keep taxing us. What have they done to earn it?

Why doesn't anyone want to stand up and fight them?

Hi eternaltorment, 

Thank you for feeling like you can open up here - our supportive community are truly here to listen and support you as best as they can. 

We are sorry to hear that your journey has been such a difficult one for you. Please know that you are not alone in this and there is a lot of support out there. We are writing to you as we are concerned about your wellbeing. We feel that if you are at risk of self-harm or if you are feeling suicidal, we would strongly urge you to seek professional help as it is really important that you take immediate steps to keep yourself safe.

We would encourage you to call our Support Service on 1300 22 4636. We can help 24 hours a day, seven days a week with counselling support, information and referrals.

Please write back and let us know how you're going when you feel up to it. 

Community Member
The disability pension for mental health in this country is an absolute joke. I applied recently and was rejected. In the last twelve months I have been off work due to an acute bipolar relapse. I was hospitalised. For the time I had off my workplace fired me. After a year of no improvement of severe, crippling depression I was hospitalised again. I now have also been diagnosed with ADHD. Centrelink has the evidence of (withing twelve months) two hospitalisations, being fired, an in-depth letters from my GP, psychologist and psychiatrist. They said they only need a letter from my GP. I have given them way more than what they asked, and also, it was Centrelink who suggested I apply for the disability pension. My assesment interview was one week after being released from a psychiatrist hospital, and they deemed me as "fine and stable". They require 20 points to be eligle. I only scored 10. They don't tell you where you "failed". The lady I spoke to yesterday said to appeal, so I have, bit don't have high hopes. I have no idea what to do. The advertising that's carried on in this country with R U ok? And the anxiety and depression ads in the shopping centre toilets etc is utter rubbish. The general public see it as a movement, and it's not true. I know other people in this situation who are scared they'll end up on the streets. I've never been so disappointed in my country, the way we are treated with mental health revolts me when it comes to Centrelink.

Community Member
Trust me. None of that works. I think you need to lose a leg for the government to take us seriously.

Hi all, just to add to the general conversation re: C'link. I started the age pension 5 years ago. I provided C'link with all the details they requested. I am a citizen, I have the certificate. Now C'link in their infinite wisdom is requesting all these documents yet again or they will stop my pension. I wish they would actually TALK to each other and keep all relevant documents so the public didn't have to keep updating for them. I was called in about 6 weeks ago and had to fill out countless forms as requested, indicating NO CHANGE in my circumstances. I received a call requesting I hand in all documents or the pension will be ceased. I understand there are millions receiving various pensions, disability, aged, Newstart, Austudy etc. However, you would think that by now 2019, all this unnecessary crap would cease. Are ex govt employees who receive pensions being audited or just the ones who are 'unlucky' enough to never have worked for them.

Community Member

Hello everyone, I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right forum.. But I'm on centrelink and I'm with DES (Disability Employment Service) I've been suffering from extreme depression and anxiety. The reason I'm with DES is because my local Gp put on my medical certificate that my condition is permanent.

I've been asking, pretty much begging if I can do my mutual obligations over the phone, I do all my job searchs online through mygov, everything I need to do I can do through mygov. I've explained myself many times that I am suffering bad from my mental health illnesses and that my anxiety is really bad, I can barely take my rubbish down to the bin without experiencing a bad panic attack.

They tell me I need to go into the office and all they tell me to do is my job search and then I leave, it takes them less than 2 minutes when i can do that online. I was literally having a panic attack and I started crying in front of all the workers and other jobseekers. I felt embarrassed. I've tried so many times and asked if I can have my appointments over the phone but they won't allow it and they will suspend my payment.

Is there any help out there, or a number I can call for help regarding my mutual obligations? I've searched every where and had no luck. Many thanks in advance!