11.1.12.60 Travel expenses as a priority need under income management

Travel expenses as a priority need

This topic contains information on:

  • guiding principles for treatment of travel expenses
  • visiting a sick relative
  • cultural and ceremonial events, other than funerals
  • funeral expenses, including funeral plans, and
  • overseas travel.

Guiding principles for treatment of travel expenses

Travel expenses are a priority need (11.1.3.50) where that travel is necessary to meet other priority needs, such as food, health, education and employment.

Under SS(Admin)Act paragraphs 123TH(1)(o) and (p), public transport services, or the acquisition, repair, maintenance or operation of a motor vehicle, motor cycle, or bicycle are priority needs and can be paid from income managed funds where used wholly or partly for purposes in connection with any of the other priority needs listed in section 123TH.

However, other travel is not an excluded item and so, even if not related to a priority need, income managed funds may be used if the delegate is satisfied that the current, and reasonably foreseeable priority needs of the person, their partner and dependants can be met from the person's income management account.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 123TH Priority needs

Visiting a sick relative

A person may use their income managed funds for travel expenses incurred while escorting a sick family member or a person in their care to access health services, where that other person is in need of assistance to access such services (e.g. escorting a sick child or elderly parent to hospital or a doctor's appointment).

Where the sick person is a dependant of the income managed person, such travel would constitute a priority need. However, where the sick person is another family member (not a dependant) or another person, the delegate would need to be satisfied that the current and reasonably foreseeable priority needs of the income managed person and their dependants were met before allocating income managed funds.

Cultural & ceremonial events, other than funerals

Travel expenses relating to cultural and ceremonial events are not a priority need, with the exception of travel expenses relating to funerals.

Travel to cultural and ceremonial events is not an excluded item and may be funded using income managed funds if the delegate is satisfied that the current, and reasonably foreseeable priority needs of the person, their partner and dependants can be met from the person's income management account.

Note: A person may use funds from their income management account to pay for travel expenses but cannot have access to residual funds in the deceased person's income management account (11.1.11.70).

Funeral expenses, including funeral plans

Funeral expenses can be considered a priority need. This includes reasonable expenses related to attendance or participation in traditional and non-traditional funerals or periodic ceremonies in memory of deceased people, providing these payments do not result in the purchase of excluded goods.

Example: Mustafa is income managed under the Long-term Welfare Payment Recipient Measure. Mustafa's father dies and Mustafa is responsible for organising the funeral. Mustafa pays for the funeral expenses from his income managed funds. However, he is not able to use his income managed funds to purchase alcohol for his father's wake.

Instalment based funeral plans can also be considered a priority need and may be paid from income managed funds. However, as explained in 11.1.7, the priority needs of food, housing, clothing, utilities and medical needs should be considered before any other priority items.

Domestic & overseas travel

Income managed people should notify the delegate of their plans to travel interstate or outside of Australia. The delegate will follow standard guidelines on portability of certain payments while a person is interstate or overseas.

In circumstances where continued payments are approved while a person being income managed is interstate or overseas, it may be necessary for a portion of their income managed funds to be allocated as a restricted or unrestricted direct payment (11.1.3.80 and 11.1.3.90), so that the person is able to access these funds. The delegate will need to consider other factors when making this decision, such as:

  • the reason for travel
  • whether their dependants are travelling with the person, and
  • ensuring that the priority needs of their dependants and other ongoing expenses, such as rent, are still being met.
Last reviewed: 11 November 2019