Jobseekers are generally eligible for Disability Employment Services (DES) if they:

  • have a disability, injury or health condition
  • are aged at least 14 but have not yet attained the Age Pension qualifying age
  • are at or above the minimum legal working age in their state or territory
  • are an Australian resident or eligible Visa holder
  • are not studying full time (there is an exception - see below); and
  • have a valid Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) or Job Capacity Assessment (JCA) recommending DES with a Future Work Capacity of eight or more hours per week; and
  • are not working at or above their assessed work capacity (not applicable for Work Assist Participants and people who receive National Disability Insurance Scheme funding for supported employment, and/or Australian Disability Enterprise participants).

There are special eligibility arrangements for specific jobseekers, 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) - jobseekers 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.

Jobseekers can access DES either through referral by Services Australia —generally for those receiving Centrelink payments who have Mutual Obligation or Compulsory Participation Requirements — or by directly registering with a DES provider of their choice).

Apart from people who are eligible to access DES under the special eligibility arrangements listed above, jobseekers will generally need to undertake an ESAt. An ESAt is conducted by Services Australia and is used to determine the most appropriate employment service for a jobseeker with disability (e.g. Workforce Australia Online, Workforce Australia Services, DES-DMS or DES-ESS) and establish a jobseeker’s current and future work capacity with intervention (within two years) based on an assessment of their individual circumstances.

In most cases, jobseekers are referred to a DES provider by Services Australia. Jobseekers must choose a DES provider at the time of initial referral. To inform this choice, Services Australia provides information about the services available in a jobseeker’s local area. Information is also available on the JobAccess website, for the jobseeker to view, prior to their ESAt.

While a jobseeker is waiting for an appointment the jobseeker can look up DES providers in their area, and contact a provider to discuss how they could help. This conversation could help the jobseeker choose the DES provider that they feel most comfortable with.  At the ESAt / JCA Appointment the jobseeker can let Services Australia know the preferred DES provider they would like to be referred to. To find a DES provider go to the DES provider search page. 

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