Disability Employment Services: What Is It?

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As the name implies, Disability Employment Services (DES) is a service that helps people with a disability or permanent injury to prepare for, find and keep a job. Service providers of DES are a mix of large, medium or small non-profit or for-profit organizations that offer a range of services that aim to support people with disability. They also assist employers by helping them put in place healthy practices to support the employee in the workplace. 

Most DES has two types of services:

  • Disability Management

Designed for job seekers with temporary disabilities (due to injury or health issues) who need help at finding a job and appropriate support to maintain their job.  

  • Employment Support

Designed to provide support to job seekers with permanent disabilities to find a job. This service also offers regular and ongoing support in the employee’s workplace to help them keep the job.

Who is eligible for DES?

People who are allowed to get Disability Employment Services are the following:

  • Job seekers with illness, injury or health issues that affects their work performance
  • Australian citizens or people whose Australian residency are not limited by the law
  • Job seekers at the age of 14 and up
  • Job seekers with the assessed work performance of at least eight hours a week

DES Reform 2018

After a rigorous consultation involving employees and jobseekers with disabilities, disability service providers, disability peak organizations, and employers, the DES was reformed since 1st of July in 2018. Participants of DES have more options on the services they choose to receive and to receive them. The changes made in the DES include the following:

  • Improving participant power to choose
  • Creating competition in the service delivery
  • Improving the incentives given to DES providers that can place job seekers in employment
  • Integrating indexation of payments
  • Trial of expanded DES eligibility on students in their last year of school

These changes are meant to improve the performance of DES programs to assist more job seekers with disabilities, health issues, or injuries to find and keep a job.

How to Register

Registering to a DES can be done directly through a provider. Simply find a provider you prefer and then contact them to ask for registration. If you’re unsure which DES program to register for, service providers like atWork Australia can assist you.

Another method is to register through the government’s DES website. Regardless of where you prefer to register, you may want to secure an employment services assessment first, since most DES providers require one. 

The Benefits of Employing People with Disabilities

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, under one in five Australians have a disability. It could be an intellectual disability, physical disability, mental illness or long-term injury. In fact, most companies have someone with a disability working for them. 

According to research, there are surprisingly many benefits to hiring job seekers with disability, and these includes:

  • They take fewer days off from work.
  • They have fewer occupational health and safety problems.
  • They stay longer with their companies than other employees.

Like any other people looking for a job, many job seekers with disabilities have remarkable skills, experience, and qualifications. The ultimate key here is to match the right candidate to the right kind of job.