188.8.131.52 General payability provisions
Before a person can receive a social security payment:
- they must be qualified for the payment, AND
- the payment must be payable (see example).
Example: Waiting periods, multiple entitlement exclusion or compensation preclusion may make the payment NOT payable to a person who is qualified for the payment.
This topic provides an overview of the provisions that can make a payment not payable. The particular provisions that apply to a payment are explained in the topic on payability, within each payment in Part 3 of the SS Guide.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security payment'
SS(Admin)Act section 37 provides that a claim for a social security payment must be granted if the person is qualified and the payment is payable.
Rate would be nil
A payment is not payable to a person if their rate would be nil, UNLESS the rate is nil because of an advance of PhA or because the person has elected to receive pension supplement minimum amount on a quarterly basis.
Explanation: The first situation means the person is ONLY receiving PhA, but they remain a current social security recipient. In the second situation, the person is on a nil rate but is still entitled to pension supplement minimum amount paid on a quarterly basis, i.e. pension supplement minimum amount is still payable after the application of the means test.
Exception: Even though a social security pension or benefit ceases to be payable to a person if their rate would be nil, as an incentive to take up work those who have employment income (1.1.E.102) may qualify for an employment income nil rate period. The rate may be nil due to the employment income of the recipient or the employment income of the recipient's partner. During an employment income nil rate period they can be paid some supplementary benefits, retain their HCC or PCC, and get back onto payment easily.
Note: Where payment is resumed at the end of an employment income nil rate period, the person may, in certain circumstances covered by SSAct section 38B, be taken to have been in continuous receipt of payment throughout the nil rate period.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(4A) Despite subsection (4) …, section 23(4AA) For the purposes of subsection (4A) …, section 38B Notional continuous period of receipt of income support payments, section 1061ZEA Further extended qualification rule: loss of payment because of employment income, section 1061ZMA Further extended qualification rule: loss of payment because of employment income
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period
Multiple entitlement exclusion for CDEP scheme participants
The MBR, and the RAA of WA, YA, JSP, PPP and PA for a period are not payable to a person who is a CDEP scheme participant in respect of the whole or a part of the period. CDEP participants are considered payable at nil rate to enable them to access supplementary assistance.
Note: SA closed to all new recipients on 20 March 2020 and ceases on 20 September 2020.
Those receiving SA before 20 March 2020 may continue to receive the payment for the length of their medical certificate, as long as they remain eligible, or may transfer to JSP (1.2.1.05).
From 20 March 2020, SA recipients who require income support after their current medical certificate expires must transfer to JSP or another income support payment.
Pensioners' CDEP wages will be treated as directly deductible income reducing the pension rate dollar for dollar up to a threshold amount. This only includes CDEP wages. Pensioners will receive RAA if eligible.
Note: A PPS recipient who was a CDEP participant on 10 November 1999 will NOT incur a reduction in their rate of pension. Their CDEP wages are to be treated as ordinary income. However, if a PPS recipient ceased CDEP participation on or after 11 November 1999 and they recommence participation anytime afterwards then their CDEP wage is treated as direct deduction income.
Act reference: SSAct section 408CG Maximum basic rate and RAA not payable to CDEP Scheme participant (WA), section 500W Maximum basic rate and RAA not payable to CDEP Scheme participant who is a member of a couple (PP), section 552C Maximum basic rate and RAA not payable to CDEP Scheme participant (YA), section 578(3) An Austudy is not payable to a person …, section 614A Maximum basic rate and RAA not payable to CDEP Scheme participant (JSP), section 660YCH Maximum basic rate and RAA not payable to CDEP Scheme participant (MAA), section 686(7) SA is not payable to a person …, section 771HK Maximum basic rate and RAA not payable to CDEP Scheme participant (PA), section 1188B CDEP Scheme participants
Tax file numbers
Services Australia may request, but not compel, people to provide a TFN, for the person OR their partner OR another person whose income is relevant to the person's rate of payment. The person can satisfy this request by:
- providing the relevant person's TFN, and
- applying to the ATO for a TFN and authorising the ATO to provide the TFN to Services Australia.
A person who does NOT comply with a request to provide a TFN may have their claim rejected or their payment/card cancelled.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 75 Requesting tax file numbers, section 76 How request for tax file number is satisfied, section 77 Consequences of not giving tax file number
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Providing TFN Information
The following are not payable to a person who is in gaol or undergoing psychiatric confinement because the person has been charged with an offence:
- social security benefits
- social security pensions
- carer allowance
- mobility allowance
- pensioner education supplement, or
- parenting payment.
The Secretary may authorise the payment of a social security pension other than pension PPS to be paid to:
- the person's dependent partner
- someone else for the benefit of the partner
- a young person dependent on the person, or
- someone else for the benefit of the young person.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security benefit', section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(5) For the purposes of this Act, a person is in gaol if …, section 23(8) Subject to subsection (9), psychiatric confinement in relation to a person …, section 23(9) The confinement of a person in a psychiatric institution …, section 1158 Some social security payments not payable during period in gaol or in psychiatric confinement following criminal charge, section 1159 Payment may be redirected to dependent partner or child, section 1159A Person not qualified for some concession cards when in gaol or in psychiatric confinement following criminal charge
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.4 Imprisonment, Psychiatric Confinement & Prison Release
A payment is not payable to a person who has failed to nominate an account to which payments can be credited, within 28 days of being requested by Services Australia to nominate an account. Services Australia makes this request when the person lodges their claim.
Policy reference: SS Guide 8.4 Payment Methods
- may be, or are entitled to compensation, and
- do not take reasonable action to obtain that compensation, OR
- have received compensation, and
- they are serving a compensation preclusion period (1.1.C.260).
Explanation: It is a fundamental principle of the social security system that people who are unable to work because of a compensable injury are prevented from receiving income support from both the social security and compensation systems for the same period.
Act reference: SSAct Part 3.14 Compensation recovery
Failure to comply with a requirement made of the person
A payment may not be payable to a person who has been requested to do something by Services Australia, and who fails to do so without an acceptable reason in the specified timeframe.
Example: A person may be asked to contact Services Australia, attend an interview, or attend a medical examination in connection with their claim.
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.3 Notification & recipient obligations
Multiple entitlement exclusion
Multiple entitlement exclusion provisions prevent more than 1 income support payment being paid to a person at the same time. The income support payments that affect payability for a specific payment differ between payments, but the principle remains the same. Income support payments affecting payability may be from either this Department, or another Commonwealth agency.
Example: The following may preclude payment of a social security payment:
- receiving a service pension from DVA
- already receiving a payment or benefit when one of the following becomes payable
- a social security pension, or
- a social security benefit.
The specific multiple entitlement provisions that apply to each payment are explained in the topic on payability, within the payment in Part 3 of the SS Guide.
A person should ALWAYS be paid the most appropriate payment for their circumstances.