NEW IMPAIRMENT TABLES: On 1 April 2023 new DSP Impairment Tables were put into force. DSP Help has now been updated to reflect these changes!

Getting the right medical evidence

Showing you are medically eligible is the most important part of your application

The right medical evidence is very important for your DSP application

Without the right supporting medical evidence, it is unlikely you will be granted the DSP.

The best medical evidence is from the doctors or specialists who treated your medical conditions.

Evidence from doctors or specialists who have been treating you longer will usually be better.

Note that the below information is for people who do not qualify for a Manifest Grant.

The letter

A letter from your doctor or specialist is usually very important for your DSP application.  

We have developed a tool to help get the right information to your treating doctor or specialist so that they can write the best letter. Try our Medical Evidence bot.

Form of the letter

The letter should:

  • Be on your doctor or specialist’s letterhead.
  • Be dated and signed.
  • Include your doctor or specialist’s full name.
  • Include your doctor or specialist’s qualifications.
  • Include your doctor or specialist’s contact details.


The letter should explain the diagnosis of your condition. It should include:

  • What your medical condition is.
  • When your medical condition was diagnosed.
  • Who diagnosed your medical condition.

It is important that your medical condition was diagnosed by an appropriate doctor or specialist.

Some medical conditions must be diagnosed by specific specialists.

  • Mental health conditions must be diagnosed by a registered psychologist or a psychiatrist.
  • Intellectual conditions must be diagnosed by a psychologist.
  • Hearing and ear conditions must be diagnosed by an audiologist or an ear, nose and throat (‘ENT’) specialist.
  • Vision and eye conditions must be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist.

If you have a condition that does not have an official diagnosis or is hard to diagnose, you will need to discuss and resolve this with your doctor or medical practitioner. Getting on the DSP requires you to have a diagnosis.

Reasonably treated and stabilised

The letter should include a summary of the treatment you have received for your medical condition.  This may include, for example, medications and other treatment that have been tried.

Your doctor or specialist should say whether the condition is reasonably treated and stabilised.  In particular, the letter should ideally confirm:

  • That your condition is unlikely to change within the next 2 years; and
  • That there is no further treatment that is available (at least in the next 2 years) that would allow you to return to work.

If there are treatments you have not tried, your doctor or specialist should explain why. For example, if a certain treatment is too expensive or too risky, your doctor or specialist should say this.

Level of impairment

The letter should include your doctor or specialist’s opinion of the level of impairment you suffer as a result of your condition.  They will need to refer to the DSP ‘Impairment Tables’.

First, your doctor or specialist will need to determine which impairment table is relevant.  There are 15 tables.  Each table covers different kinds of symptoms a person may have.

Then, your doctor or specialist needs to assess how badly your symptoms affect you according to the table’s severity ratings.  There are four levels of impairment severity ratings for each table: mild (5 points), moderate (10 points), severe (20 points), and extreme (30 points).  Each severity rating has criteria that must match your symptoms for you to meet that rating.  

Your doctor or specialist should include in the letter their opinion as to whether your symptoms meet the mild, moderate, or severe levels in the relevant table for your condition.  You need to get 20 points in total across one or more Tables.

Your doctor or specialist can give severity ratings under more than one table.  Your doctor or specialist can also give a severity rating under one table where you have several conditions with overlapping symptoms.

Ability to work

Your doctor or specialist should state whether your medical conditions prevent you from working.  Your doctor or specialist should state whether you will be able to work 15 or more hours each week within the next two years.  They should keep in mind your work history and skills.

Supporting medical evidence

A letter from your doctor or specialist is the most important medical evidence for a DSP application.

Your doctor or specialist may have given you other documents about your medical conditions. For example, you may have treatment histories or diagnostic reports.
If these documents show that you are unable to work because of your medical conditions, you may include these with your DSP application. You should include these with the letter.

Inability to work evidence

Other people may know about your difficulty with work. For example, your employer may know you can only work a few hours each week. Or your school may know you have had difficulty with study.

You may ask these people to write a letter in support of your DSP application.

The letter should talk about:

  • Difficulty you have had with work and study.
  • Whether your work or study hours have been reduced.
  • Whether you will likely be able to work or study in the next two years.

Our Medical Evidence Bot

Doctors and specialists often do not understand the DSP and what they need to do to help show you are eligible. It can also be difficult to explain this to them yourself.

To help you with this, we have a tool that can help you put information together to take to your doctors or specialists. Launch the Medical Evidence Bot.

What should I do next?

Launch the Medical Evidence Bot and prepare for your application.

Has this page helped you better understand medical evidence for a DSP application?

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