Continuation, variation or termination of SA

Note: SA closed to all new entrants 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. SA recipients who require income support after their current medical certificate expires may transfer to JSP ( or another income support payment, if eligible.


The following table lists the circumstances in which payment of SA may change.

Payment of SA is … if the recipient …
  • temporarily resumes work, OR
  • has a graduated return to work.
  • has their employment terminated, OR
  • fails to comply with a Centrelink request.

Any continuation, variation or termination issues relating to the expiry or extension of the MAP are explained in the referenced topic.

Act reference: SSAct section 669(2) The maximum allowance period …

Policy reference: SS Guide Expiry & extension of the MAP for SA

Temporary resumption of work

If a recipient attempts to resume work but ceases work within one week because of their illness or injury, it may be accepted that they remained temporarily incapacitated for work throughout the temporary resumption of work.

Any payment made to the SA recipient by the employer is to be assessed as income, but they still may be eligible to receive SA for the period at work if they earned less than their usual wage.

Commencement of graduated return to work

If an SA recipient commences a graduated return to work on the expectation that the recipient will return to their full duties over time, SA can continue to be paid, subject to the income test.

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for SA

Termination of employment

If an SA recipient's employment is terminated after SA is granted, the recipient should transfer to NSA.

Alterations to the date of incapacity (1.1.D.20)

SA is paid for periods of incapacity for work, not for a specific medical condition (1.1.M.90) or conditions. The following table describes when the date of incapacity is retained and when a new date of incapacity is set.

If the recipient … then …
  • lodges a claim for SA after the end of the MAP, AND
  • has not become fit for work in the interim, AND
  • has the same condition, whether unchanged, relapsed or worsened
the date of incapacity is retained.
  • resumed employment during the period that they were not receiving SA, AND
  • became incapacitated for work again at a later date, AND
  • has the same condition
a new date of incapacity is set which cannot be earlier than the commencement date on the medical certificate.
has a different medical condition a new date of incapacity is set which cannot be earlier than the commencement date on the medical certificate.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.3 Notification & recipient obligations

Death of recipient

If a single SA recipient dies, payment should be made up to the date of death, to the person best entitled to receive it.

If the recipient was a member of a couple, the partner may qualify for some bereavement assistance.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement payment provisions

Death of partner

If the recipient is a member of a couple and their partner dies, the recipient may qualify for bereavement assistance, IF they are a long term social security recipient, AND their partner was:

  • receiving a social security pension, OR
  • receiving a DVA service pension, OR
  • a long term social security recipient.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'long-term social security recipient', section 23(1)-'social security pension'


SA recipients are subject to a range of reviews.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.2.5 Disability & Carer Reviews

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020