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Who can use DES?

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To use DES, you must meet the DES eligibility rules. Many of these rules are the same as the rules to get the Disability Support Pension (DSP). This includes things like, your disability must have a big impact on your ability to find and keep a job.

Centrelink will usually ask you to do a test to show this. Most people with intellectual disability will already have a Job Capacity Assessment (JCA) test from when they applied for the DSP.

If you don’t have a JCA, then Centrelink may ask you to get an Employment Services Assessment (ESAt).

An ESAt is a test that’s very similar to the JCA. Centrelink uses the test to work out what type of support would be best to help you find and keep a job.

To use DES, you must also be able to work eight or more hours a week. This is called your future work capacity.

Future work capacity

Both the JCA and ESAt try to work out your current and future work capacity. Work capacity means how many hours a week you are able to work. Centrelink looks at your medical reports, skills and experience to work out how many hours a week you can work with support. Centrelink works out your future work capacity for up to two years.

Future work capacity is very important. You can only access DES if you have a future work capacity of eight or more hours per week. If Centrelink thinks that you would only be able to work less than eight hours a week in open employment, then it will only offer you support at an ADE.

Lots of people with intellectual disability are interested in open employment. However, you may be told that you don’t have enough work skills and experience to reach a future work capacity of eight or more hours a week in the next two years. If this happens, it means that you won’t be accepted into the DES program right now.

While this can be disappointing, it usually only means that Centrelink thinks you will take more than two years to be ready for open employment.

You can use your NDIS plan to develop more work skills and experience. You can always apply for DES again when you have more skills and experience. If you still can’t access DES, you can use your NDIS plan to support you to find work and keep it.

Disability Employment Service (DES) providers use seven criteria to decide whether someone is eligible for DES.
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A Job Capacity Assessment (JCA) is a test Centrelink uses when people apply for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
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An Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) is a test done by Centrelink. This test helps Centrelink decide what kind of employment service you need to help you find and keep a job.
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Work capacity is Centrelink’s assessment of how many hours of work you can do a week without support. Future work capacity is Centrelink’s assessment of how many hours you could work if you got Disability Employment Service (DES) support for up to two years.
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