Using the Social Security Guide

Welcome to the Social Security Guide. The Guide has been designed as a web publication (HTML). It is not available in a single electronic file or in paper format.

What does the Guide cover?

The Guide is divided into 11 parts as explained in the following table:

Part Name What is Covered
1 Key terms & principles Terms used in the administration of payments/benefits, descriptions of benefits & principles surrounding the social security law.
2 Claim verification Information on the verification of claims for social security payments/benefits.
3 Qualification & payability What characteristics will qualify an individual for a payment/benefit, along with other assessment information, e.g. commencement dates, notifiable events and payability issues.
4 Income & Assets Which payments/benefits have income/assets testing, what the limits are for them, and what constitutes income and assets.
5 Payment rates Current and some historic rates of payment, examples of payment calculations, information on taxation issues and advance payments.
6 Reviews, debts & payment recovery Various review mechanisms, all about overpayments, and what happens when a claimant receives compensation.
7 Portability & comparable foreign payment (CFP) Conditions for payment outside Australia, and a brief explanation of CFP provisions.
8 Administration Act Provisions

Guidance on:

  • the structure and content of the SS(Admin)Act,
  • discretionary decision making under the SS(Admin)Act, and
  • certain procedural requirements for the implementation of the SS(Admin)Act.
9 Visas, entitlements & assurances of support Information about visas issued by the Department of Home Affairs, entitlement to social security payments and the AoS scheme.
10 Australian Social Security Agreements Information about Australia's social security agreements with other countries.
11 Income Management Information about income management and its application.

Use of abbreviations

For ease of reference the following abbreviations are used in the Guide:

  • SS Guide - Social Security Guide
  • SSAct - Social Security Act 1991
  • SS(Admin)Act - Social Security (Administration) Act 1999
  • SS(IntAgree)Act - Social Security (International Agreements) Act 1999
  • FA Guide - Family Assistance Guide
  • FAAct - A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999
  • FA(Admin)Act - A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999
  • PPL Guide - Paid Parental Leave Guide
  • PPLAct - Paid Parental Leave Act 2010

Finding information

The following features are provided to assist in finding relevant information:

  • Search - type your search term (words or phrases) in the search box at the top of the page. The Advanced search on the results page allows a search to be limited to a specific Guide or Guides.
  • Site map - gives an overall picture of the structure of the Social Security Guide.
  • Keyword index - this provides an extensive list of words which can be used to search for specific topics.
  • Act reference index - this provides a list of sections in the social security legislation referenced in the Guide. This can be used to search for topics that relate to each listed section.


The Guide has a number of links incorporated at various levels, including the following:

  • Act references - links to relevant law on the Federal Register of Legislation website (see tip sheet for assistance navigating to a referenced section).
  • Policy references - links to related information in other parts of the Guide, and sometimes to other policy documents.
Last reviewed: 21 March 2016