Finalist 2020

DSP Help – a digital ‘support worker’

Paper Giant / Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV) / Australian Government Disability Support Pension

DSP Help sets a new benchmark for designing and delivering Government content.

The eligibility criteria for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) are complex, restrictive, and confusing. Many eligible applicants get their claims rejected due to the difficulty of applying.

Social Security Rights Victoria engaged Paper Giant to help them design and build an online tool to help. After running a hybrid research/design phase where we consulted with the community, was launched. The online resource and custom-built chatbot provide information about DSP eligibility criteria, how to gather medical evidence, applying for the DSP, and what to do if an application is rejected, all in the one place.

Design Excellence

We learned that the application process is opaque and almost impossible to navigate. To be successful, the majority of applicants rely on a specialist for help, either a lawyer or social worker.

We created a range of concepts and tested prototypes with support workers and those with lived experience, incorporating their feedback and our learnings into each iteration.

The final product is DSP Help—a website and ‘digital support worker’ chatbot. It logically delivers critical information in Plain English, which is crucial for this group of users.

The visual and identity design is warm, clean and non-bureaucratic.

Design Impact

DSP Help’s intended users are ‘the missing middle’ – individuals (including family and friends) who can self-serve if the right information and tools are available to support them. This frees up precious resources for organisations like SSRV to better serve those with more acute needs.

Designing for those who can self-serve is empowering, respectful and promotes independence. The medical evidence pack generated by the chatbot is a vital communication tool between applicants and doctors and will improve the quality of applications.

DSP Help is already having an impact and has been covered by SBS and  ABC radio.

Design Transformation

DSP Help sets a new benchmark for designing and delivering Government content.
The resource is a great example of how investing in human-centred design results in valuable outcomes. Research participant Kylie Anne McArdell said:

“When I finished using DSP Help, I started crying. The same, drip-fed information that I gathered over my two year process applying and reapplying for the DSP, I got in just 10 minutes.”

While DSP Help is a Victorian tool, it’s the first of its kind in the DSP space and can be shared nationally. This builds on Victoria’s reputation for innovative design.

Design Innovation

DSP Help provides vital application information in one place, solving the problem of unachievably high research requirements for applicants. Complex, bureaucratic and legal content was redesigned into easily digestible chapters on the website.

The Medical Evidence Bot addresses the Impairment Tables—something that no other resource currently does. This is important, as the Impairment Tables are used to determine eligibility. The bot takes a 65-page piece of legislation and guides the user to the most appropriate parts through friendly, conversational language and a robust decision tree. It produces a custom evidence request pack that applicants can give to their doctors.

Other Key Features

Further reading about DSP Help:

  • SBS – People with lived experience of the DSP application process share their DSP experience and how this new service will help others.
  • ABC radio – online tool aims to ease dehumanising DSP application process.
  • Website – Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV)  explain how the service works
  • Case study on the Paper Giant website
  • Article Josef Legal explains the bot

Service Design 2020 Finalists

Learning Lab

Museums Victoria / Grumpy Sailor / Denton Corker Marshall

Working With Children Checks for Indigenous applicants

Today / Office of the Children's Guardian

Supreme Court Access

Paper Giant / Supreme Court Victoria

A new approach for the Justice Sector

Paper Giant / Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) / RMIT


Your Creative Agency / Moreland City Council


Nous Group / Whitelion

Developing a service system level approach with a remote community

Today / Key Assets / The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development