A guide to disability employment services

At EPIC Assist, we understand that it can be confusing to navigate the acronyms, terms, and jargon of the disability employment services industry. That’s what we’re here for—to break down the barriers.

To make your employment journey as easy as possible, we’ve pulled together a guide of disability employment services definitions that tend to be confusing.


Centrelink is an Australian Government service that supports Australians to access payments and services, such as Disability Employment Services (DES).

People with disability can register for DES through Centrelink by electing for a specific organisation, such as EPIC Assist, to be their provider. You may be required to complete Centrelink’s Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) before you are deemed eligible for Disability Employment Services. EPIC can help you liaise with Centrelink and guide you through your eligibility assessment if you wish.

Alternatively, you can register directly for Disability Employment Services with EPIC or transfer from another provider.


One in five Australians live with a disability. A disability can be inherited or acquired (due to illness or injury), temporary or permanent, and visible or non-visible. The only thing that distinguishes people with disability is that they might require an adjustment to complete certain tasks others take for granted.

To be considered a disability, an impairment or condition must impact day-to-day life, and has lasted, or is likely to last, for six months or more.

No two people with disability experience their disability in the same way. That’s why at EPIC we provide a personalised service. We take our time getting to know everyone, so we understand your unique needs and employment goals.

Snapshot of disability types

There are many different types of disability. We help people with a range of disabilities, injuries, health conditions, and mental health conditions find and maintain meaningful employment. Some of these disability types include:

  • mobility/physical
  • intellectual
  • mental health
  • autism/Asperger’s syndrome
  • head injury
  • spinal cord injury
  • vision impairment
  • hearing impairment.

Disability Employment Services (DES)

Disability Employment Services (DES) is an Australian Government initiative that helps people with disability, injury, a mental health condition, or a health condition find and maintain meaningful employment.

EPIC Assist is a Disability Employment Services provider. We are experts in providing a personalised service to help both people with disability and businesses achieve their employment goals.

Disability Employment Services for job seekers

Through Disability Employment Services, people with disability can access a range of services. This might include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, training, and workplace support. You can also gain expert support from Employment Consultants who will help you to find and maintain a job. They will assist with accessing funding for workplace modifications and wage subsidies.

There are two different service streams job seekers can receive under the Disability Employment Services program—Disability Management Services (DMS) and Employment Support Services (ESS). EPIC is a provider of both services. Your Employment Consultant will help you determine which stream you are eligible for. These assessments are used to establish a job seeker’s work capacity and individual employment circumstances.

Disability Employment Services for businesses

For businesses, Disability Employment Services break down the barriers surrounding hiring people with disability. EPIC provides expert advice, training, support, and job-ready employees that will bring new, valuable perspectives and a competitive advantage to your business.

Today, corporate social responsibility is a ‘must have’ for Australian businesses, rather than a ‘nice to have’. Inclusive employment practices are vital to improving business operations and becoming an employer of choice that can attract and retain high-calibre employees.

Each year, we help hundreds of businesses start the corporate social responsibility journey. Our disability employment services make inclusive employment easy and streamline the entire journey.

Disability Management Services (DMS)

Disability Management Services (DMS) is a stream of Disability Employment Services (DES). This service is funded by the Australian Government and is free for eligible job seekers.

DMS helps people with disability, injury, a mental health condition, or a health condition find and keep a job. Job seekers may then need occasional support at work to succeed in their role for the long-term.

Employment Support Services (ESS)

Employment Support Services (ESS) is a stream of Disability Employment Services (DES). This service is funded by the Australian Government and is free for eligible job seekers.

ESS help people who have a permanent disability, injury, mental health condition, or health condition find and keep a job. Job seekers need long-term, regular support from their disability employment services provider to ensure they continue to succeed in their role.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports people with a permanent or significant disability to access care and support. The NDIS offers a range of funding packages that support people with disability achieve their goals and take part in everyday activities.

Support Coordination

Support Coordination assists you to navigate the NDIS, take control of your funding, explore your options, and optimise your NDIS package. Support Coordinators guide you through support options available to you through your NDIS package, and work with you to utilise all areas of your plan.

EPIC’s expert Support Coordinators in Tasmania will work with you to understand the goals in your NDIS plan and why they are important to you.

Job Plan

A Job Plan is an employment pathway plan that outlines what a job seeker with disability has agreed to undertake to have the best chance of getting a job. This plan is created in liaison with a Disability Employment Services provider. It might take into account job search requirements, appointment requirements, job interviews with prospective employers, and a range of other suitable activities.

At EPIC, we take a holistic approach to finding employment for people with disability. We always treat our job seekers as individuals and offer a personalised approach to every person.

That’s why we take the time to understand our job seekers, to create a Job Plan that is tailored to their unique needs and aspirations. For example, if you need some training to reach your goals, we’ll help identify work preparation activities and assist you to enrol in the best course for you.

National Standards for Disability Services

EPIC Assist is committed to the six National Standards for Disability Services. These standards focus on the rights and outcomes for people with disability, and drive a nationally consistent approach to improve quality of service amongst all disability employment services.

The six National Standards for Disability Services are:

  1. Rights
  2. Participation and inclusion
  3. Individual outcomes
  4. Feedback and complaints
  5. Service access
  6. Service management


A not-for-profit organisation is a business that does not operate for the purpose of earning a profit or benefiting its owners. Its mission is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating a point of view central to its mission.

Some people believe the difference between not-for-profit organisations and for-profit businesses is simply that not-for-profits don’t make any money. But this isn’t the case. Rather, both not-for-profits and for-profits make money.

The key difference lies in what these businesses do with their leftover money. For-profits call this money ‘profits’ and use it to benefit particular people linked to the organisation, such as the business owners. In comparison, not-for-profits call this money ‘surpluses’. They reinvest these surpluses back into the organisation and use them to deliver and pursue their mission.

Are all disability employment services not-for-profits?

Some disability employment services are not-for-profit organisations like EPIC, while others are for-profit businesses. As a not-for-profit, we go above and beyond for all of our job seekers and employers. Our surpluses are reinvested back into providing on-the-job support for our job seekers and employers, offering free mental health services, advocating for the rights of people with disability, and creating inclusive communities.


A Disability Employment Services (DES) provider is an organisation that offers the Australian Government’s Disability Employment Services program. They are your partner on your employment journey and are responsible for sourcing and identifying employment opportunities.

EPIC Assist is one of many Disability Employment Services providers. We have been helping people with disability find and maintain employment for over 30 years. Our service centres are located along the east coast of Australia and are open to both prospective employers and employees.

Not all disability employment services are created equal, and it can be difficult to choose the best provider for you. Disability employment services are a mix of large, medium, and small organisations. Some providers are not-for-profit organisations like EPIC, and others are for-profit businesses. That’s why before you make your decision you should understand what’s important to you and how different providers will meet your needs.

As a not-for-profit, we go above and beyond for our job seekers and employers and support everyone as the individual they are. We invest our surplus back into your success and will continue to support you for as long as you need. Staying on the journey is something that is not typical of Disability Employment Services providers and is what sets EPIC apart from other providers.

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments or workplace modifications are changes to a workplace or role to remove barriers that prevent people with disability from succeeding at work. These adjustments may be temporary or permanent and are designed to optimise a work process, procedure, or environment.

Reasonable adjustments will differ from person to person. Often, they are a small change that has a big impact on helping people with disability reach their best at work.

Reasonable adjustments might include standing desks, voice recognition software, noise-cancelling headphones, communication devices, and everything in between. Understanding how to support your employees with disability is an important step towards optimising an organisation’s productivity and achieving positive workplace mental health.

Wage subsidy

Wage subsidies are designed to assist businesses to hire people with disability. They offer job seekers an opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for a role and ongoing employment.

Wage subsidy schemes are available to businesses and people with disability through the Disability Employment Services program. Businesses can access the scheme if they intend to offer the job seeker sustainable and ongoing employment after the subsidy period has ended.

Work Assist

Work Assist is a free service run by the Australian Government that is designed to support eligible employees that are struggling to fulfil their job role due to disability, injury, or a health condition.

The program is delivered to businesses and employees by a Disability Employment Services provider, such as EPIC Assist. They provide a range of support services and assistance such as job redesign advice, comprehensive workplace assessments, workplace modifications, on-the-job support, and interventions such as physiotherapy, pain management, or counselling.

Work Assist for employees

Work Assist provides support to eligible employees who are at risk of losing their job due to disability, injury, or a health condition.

Sometimes small changes can have a big impact on your ability to do your job, and we’re here to make sure you have access to all the supports you need to succeed. We’ll do a comprehensive assessment of your workplace so we can maximise your support and personalise it to your unique needs.

Work Assist for businesses

At EPIC Assist, we understand the value of your staff and that staff turnover can have a major impact on your business. We make it simple to access the support you and your employee need through Work Assist and can arrange a number of supports on your behalf.

For businesses, the Work Assist program may be able to help if you have an employee with a disability, injury, or health condition that impacts their work. We will work with you and your employee to provide flexible, personalised assistance to help keep them working.

We’re raising the bar

With the help of EPIC’s disability employment services, Brouhaha Brewery and Restaurant is raising the bar for people with disability.