Qualification for WidB

Note: WidB is a CLOSED PAYMENT and the information provided below is to be used FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES ONLY as there are still some current WidB recipients. As a result any same-sex discriminatory terminology has remained unchanged.

Date limits

There have been no new grants of WidB since 20 March 1997. Current WidB recipients remain eligible to receive this payment until:

  • they are disqualified from receiving it, OR
  • after reaching age pension age, they elect to transfer to Age.

Act reference: SSAct section 362A WidB not to be granted in certain cases

Policy reference: SS Guide Widow B Pension (WidB) - Description

Qualification criteria

To qualify for WidB, an applicant must have met the criteria listed in the following table. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More Detail

ALL of the following

Claimed before 20 March 1997, AND -
The woman was one of the following:
  • legally married and her husband had died, OR
  • was a member of a couple (1.1.M.120) for 3 years immediately before her partner died, OR
  • divorced, OR
  • legally married and her husband had deserted her for at least 6 months, OR
  • a party to a purported marriage that is void and her 'husband' had deserted her for at least 6 months, OR
  • legally married to a man who had been in prison for at least 6 months, AND Assessment of Desertion for WidB Assessment of Divorce & Annulment for WidB Assessment of Bigamous & Polygamous Marriages for WidB

Not be a member of another couple (1.1.M.120), AND -
Not be qualified for PP, AND This topic
Satisfy the WidB residence requirements. This topic

ONE of the following

Was 50 years old on 1 July 1987, OR -
Had previously received certain pensions at certain dates. This topic

Act reference: SSAct section 362(1) Qualification for WidB

Residence requirements

A woman satisfied residence requirements for WidB if she met ONE of the following criteria:

  • she was an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately before the day she lodged the claim for WidB, OR
  • she had, at any time, been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 10 years, OR
  • she had a QRE for WidB, OR
  • BOTH the woman and her husband were Australian residents at the time she was widowed, divorced, deserted or her husband entered prison.

Act reference: SSAct section 362(1) Qualification for WidB

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

WidB remains current through the employment income nil rate period and therefore the restriction on new grants does not apply in this situation.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment Income Nil Rate Period, Payability of WidB

Receipt of previous pension

A woman is qualified for WidB if she meets ONE of the following criteria in relation to receipt of a previous pension:

  • she was, immediately before 1 July 1987, receiving a widow's pension as a class B widow under the 1947 Act, OR
  • she had turned 45 years old by 1 July 1987 AND:
    • was receiving a supporting parent's benefit or a widow's pension as a class A widow on or after that day, OR
    • was receiving a sole parent pension after 1 March 1989.

Parenting payment

A recipient with a dependent child MUST have tested their eligibility for PP. If their claim for PP was rejected, they could then claim WidB.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.5.1 PP - Qualification & Payability

Husband in prison

A woman was qualified for WidB if she was legally married to a man who was in prison for more than 6 months, including any period of remand. If the woman was NOT legally married to the man in prison, she COULD NOT receive WidB. Since 20 March 1997, no new grants can be made.

In these cases, the date of qualification was the date of the qualifying event. If the woman received income from her husband's work release program, this counts as income for the purposes of WidB.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.4 Imprisonment, Psychiatric Confinement & Prison Release

Qualification under an international agreement

It was also possible for the applicant/s to qualify for WidB under the terms of an international agreement (1.1.A.120). The requirement to be an Australian resident did not apply to applicant/s relying on international agreements. The international agreements are found in the SS(IntAgree)Act.

Act reference: SSAct section 7 Australian residence definitions

Policy reference: SS Guide Part 7 Portability & comparable foreign payment (CFP), Part 10 Australian Social Security Agreements

Last reviewed: 17 August 2015