General assessment of SpNP claims

Note: There are no new grants of SpNP since 20 September 2000.


This topic explains the general assessment of SpNP claims including:

  • claim investigation
  • claimant's history since leaving Australia, and
  • delegation for SpNP.

Claim investigation

The delegate may need to use a variety of avenues to investigate a claim for SpNP.

Examples: Requesting that the overseas post make inquiries, writing directly to the claimant or a third person.

The onus to provide information is on the claimant, who can be requested to provide documentary evidence of income and/or expenses.

Explanation: Delegates will often have considerable difficulties in obtaining the information from overseas sources, particularly if there are language problems.

DSP claimant

A person claiming special needs DSP will need to provide medical evidence in addition to evidence of income and/or expenses. A medical examination may also be required.

Claimant's history since leaving Australia

The delegate will need to consider the issues in the following table, to determine whether a claimant is in special need.

Explanation: Special need cannot be established by a generalised answer.

Example: A claimant stating 'I have been maintained by my savings since I left Australia'.

Point in time Issue
Before leaving Australia
  • How was the claimant supported?
  • What income, cash and other assets did the claimant have?
Since leaving Australia to present
  • What has been the claimant's source of support?
  • What income, cash and other assets does the claimant own?
  • The claimant should be asked to provide a copy of their latest tax return and details of bank accounts and other investments, including balance and interest rate.
  • How is the claimant currently maintained?
  • Is the claimant receiving a pension or other government assistance from the country of residence?
    • If YES, documentary evidence such as an advice slip or pension certificate should be provided.
    • If NO, has the claimant applied for such a pension and with what result?
  • If no government assistance has been sought, the claimant should be advised that their claim may be rejected if they fail to seek a payment they are entitled to, that is a CFP (1.1.C.230).

A claim for SpNP should not be delayed if the claimant is awaiting a decision about a claim for pension from the country where they are living.

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3.3 CFP notices & reasonable action requirements

Delegation for SpNP

The delegation to approve or reject an SpNP claim is held at different levels.

Last reviewed: 10 February 2020