1.1.S.120 Severe financial hardship - assets test hardship

Usage

This definition is to be used when applying hardship provisions to social security pension and social security benefit income support recipients.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(1)-'social security benefit'

Definition

A single person is in severe financial hardship if:

  • their readily available funds are equal to or less than the specified limit (as set out below), AND
  • they CANNOT reasonably be expected to sell or borrow against assets (1.1.A.290) to improve their financial position.

A partnered person is in severe financial hardship if:

  • the combined readily available funds of the person and their partner are equal to or less than the specified limit for a member of a couple (as set out below), AND
  • they CANNOT reasonably be expected to sell or borrow against assets (1.1.A.290) to improve their financial position.

Readily available funds - allowable limits

The readily available funds limits for Age, DSP, CP and associated DSS closed payments (e.g. WidB, YA (student), Austudy and ABSTUDY) are:

  • for a single person, the annual MBR of age pension (plus pension supplement and ES) payable to a single person,
  • for a member of a couple, twice the annual MBR of age pension (plus pension supplement and ES) payable to a partnered person.

The readily available funds limits for NSA, PPP, YA (other), SA, WA and PA are:

  • for a single person with no dependent children, the annual MBR of NSA, (plus ES) payable to a person who is single with no children,
  • for a single person with a dependent child or children, or who is aged 60 years or older and has been on income support for more than 9 months, the annual MBR of NSA, (plus ES) payable to a person who is single with dependent children or aged over 60 with 9 months on income support,
  • for a member of a couple, twice the annual MBR of NSA, (plus ES) payable to a partnered person.

The readily available funds limit for PPS is:

  • the annual MBR of PPS plus pension supplement basic amount and ES.

Act reference: SSAct section 1129 Access to financial hardship rules-pensions, section 1131 Access to financial hardship rules-benefits

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.6.7 Asset Hardship Rules

Last reviewed: 2 January 2015