3.4.6.10 Qualification for SpNP

Date limits

No new grants can be made after 20 September 2000. Current SpNP recipients remain eligible to receive this payment until they are disqualified from receiving it.

Summary

Qualification for SpNP generally mirrors qualification for the main payment for which a person would have qualified had they not been absent from Australia since 7 May 1973.

Explanation: This was the date when portability provisions (1.1.P.310) were introduced.

Exception: DSP recipients have different qualification criteria for special needs DSP.

The key issue for a delegate is to determine whether the person is in special need of financial assistance. In determining this, each case is to be decided on its merits, after consideration of the person's age, medical condition and general circumstances.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is…

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria: Special needs Age

To qualify for SpNP, a person must meet ALL of the criteria listed in the relevant part of the following table. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More Detail
Have NOT resided in Australia at any time since 7 May 1973, AND -
Have turned:
  • 60 years of age if female, OR
  • 65 years of age if male, AND

-

Have ceased living in Australia after turning:
  • 55 years of age if female, i.e. before 07/05/18, OR
  • 60 years of age if male, i.e. before 07/05/13, AND

-

Have lived in Australia for a period or periods totalling at least 30 years, AND 3.1.1 Residence Requirements
Would have qualified for Age under section 25 of the 1947 Act at the time they left Australia, AND -
Be in special need of financial assistance. This topic

Act reference: SSAct section 772 Qualification for special needs Age

Qualification criteria: Special needs DSP

To qualify for SpNP, a person must meet ALL of the criteria listed in the relevant part of the following table. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More Detail
Have NOT resided in Australia at any time since 7 May 1973, AND -
Be severely disabled, AND This topic
Have turned 16 years of age, but not reached age pension age, AND -
Have been in Australia or temporarily absent from Australia at the time when the severe disability first started, AND -
Be in special need of financial assistance. This topic

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4B) For the purposes of this Act, a person is severely disabled if…, section 23(5A) to (5D) Pension age, section 773 Qualification for special needs DSP

Special need for financial assistance

A person can be considered to be in special need if they have difficulty in maintaining a basic standard of living. This would generally mean that the person:

  • has an income below 25% of the average weekly earnings in the country where they live, AND
  • does not have substantial assets in a readily realisable form that could reasonably be used.

Explanation: Information on average weekly earnings for a particular country may be obtained from:

  • up-to-date copies of publications such as the:
    • International Labour Organisation's Yearbook of Labour Statistics, or
    • International Benefit Guidelines published by Mercer International.
  • that country's consulates, offices or embassy, or
  • Australian embassies or posts in the person's country of residence, particularly if they are assisting with the investigation of the person's circumstances.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.4.6.30 Financial Assessment of SpNP Claims

Severely disabled

A person can ONLY qualify for special needs DSP if they are severely disabled, although people granted before 12 November 1991 were not subject to this provision. If a medical review was conducted on or after 12 November 1991, the recipient DOES need to be severely disabled to remain qualified.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.50 Payability of DSP

SpNP in Australia

Most claims will be received from people living outside Australia.

However, cases may arise where a person claiming SpNP is temporarily in Australia and, therefore, not eligible for a pension under the residence requirements. SpNP CAN be approved if the person meets the qualifications but for their temporary presence in Australia.

Comparable foreign payment (1.1.C.230)

If people claim SpNP while they or their partners would be entitled to a CFP, they may be required to take reasonable action to obtain the foreign payment. If they fail to take reasonable action to obtain the CFP within the specified period, their claim can be rejected.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 40 Rejection of claim for failure to obtain foreign payment, section 66 Notice to obtain foreign payment

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3.1.20 Reasonable Action Requirements

Last reviewed: 13 May 2013