Payability of WP

Note: WP ceased on 20 March 2020. The following information is for historical purposes only.


Even though a claimant is qualified, WP is NOT payable to the claimant in the circumstances listed in the following table. If more detail about the circumstance is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Circumstances More Detail
WP is NOT payable
All the general payability provisions. 3.1.6 General payability provisions

Income & asset tests

The pensions income test and assets test apply to WP. Hardship provisions may apply.

Policy reference: SS Guide Pensions income test, 4.2.3 Pensions & benefits assets tests

Imprisonment - recipient imprisoned

WP is not payable during any period of imprisonment. Payment should be suspended or cancelled immediately.

As a general guide, payments should be suspended for periods of imprisonment less than 3 months and cancelled for longer periods of imprisonment. The delegate can, however, use their discretion for periods of imprisonment slightly longer than 3 months. This is especially important, as once WP is cancelled it CANNOT be regranted.

Employment income nil rate period - an incentive to take up work

A WP recipient who loses payment because of ordinary income (1.1.O.30), made up entirely or partly of employment income (1.1.E.102), may qualify for an employment income nil rate period. To assess qualification for an employment income nil rate period see 3.1.12.

During the employment income nil rate period a WP recipient can:

  • be paid certain supplementary benefits, and
  • retain their PCC, and
  • have their payment resumed if they report a fall in income sufficient for WP to be payable again. WP remains current throughout the employment income nil rate period and therefore the restriction on new grants does not apply in this situation.

Explanation: This policy provides incentives for WP recipients to take up work, particularly casual or short-term work.

Note: For the treatment of an Age recipient whose WP partner is in an employment income nil rate period see

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4A) Despite subsection (4) …, section 23(4AA) For the purposes of subsection (4A) …, section 1061ZEA Further extended qualification rule: loss of payment because of employment income

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period, PCC due to employment

Imprisonment - partner imprisoned

When the partner of a WP recipient is imprisoned:

  • any social security income support payments being made to the partner cease
  • WP is suspended or cancelled from the date of imprisonment, and
  • the recipient can receive her partner's pension at the partnered rate.

A recipient in this situation may be invited to test their eligibility for another income support payment.

Explanation: The rate payable is likely to be higher as it would be based on the single rather than the partnered rate.

The recipient should be fully informed of the consequences of WP not being able to be restored after claiming a payment in their own right BEFORE being invited to claim another payment.

Act reference: SSAct pre-20 March 2020 section 4(11) Standard family situation categories - see (f), section 146V(1) WP not to be granted after 30 June 1995, section 1158 Some social security payments not payable …, section 1159 Payment may be redirected …

SS(Admin)Act pre-20 March 2020 section 80 Cancellation or suspension determination

Policy reference: SS Guide Situations that constitute being in gaol or psychiatric confinement, Payment During Periods in Goal or Psychiatric Confinement

Multiple entitlement exclusion

WP is not payable to a recipient who has multiple entitlements and is already receiving another pension or allowance, including DVA service pension, war widows/widowers pension or income support supplement.

Act reference: SSAct pre-20 March 2020 section 151 Multiple entitlement exclusion

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020