Participating in DES
Many DES participants have Mutual Obligation Requirements (things that a participant must do like job search) in return for receiving income support payments. Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients who are under the age of 35 years may instead have compulsory participation requirements to undertake these activities, to continue receiving the DSP.
The Job Plan for these participants will include some activities that are compulsory. These can include meeting with their DES provider at regular, scheduled times; looking for a particular number of jobs each week; attending appointments with other groups; attending interviews and attending training courses.
Participants can keep track of the activity requirements in their Job Plan through an online dashboard on the myGov website, and are responsible for recording their attendance at activities. DES providers can help participants manage their attendance where required.
Participants must continue to meet their compulsory activity requirements unless Centrelink agrees otherwise. DES providers cannot accept medical certificates – these must be taken to Centrelink. Where Centrelink agrees that a person does not need to participate in DES, their program will be paused, although the person can volunteer to receive DES services during this suspension if they choose.
From 1 July 2018, a Targeted Compliance Framework applies to participants with Mutual Obligation Requirements. If such a participant does not undertake a compulsory activity and does not have a reasonable excuse, they will receive a demerit. Repeated non-compliance can cause income support payments to be reduced or cancelled.
If a participant with compulsory participation requirements does not undertake a compulsory activity, DES providers can report the non-compliance to Centrelink, which manages income support payments including the DSP. Centrelink can reduce or cancel eligibility for payments where required.
Some DES participants do not have compulsory participation requirements, and have only voluntary activities in their Job Plan. There is no penalty where voluntary participants do not undertake a planned activity, but DES providers can exit volunteers who do not participate fully in their DES program.