3.8.13 UA - qualification & payability


This topic covers the following:

  • who may be paid UA
  • UA not paid in certain circumstances
  • UA test day
  • election not to receive UA
  • absences from Australia
  • rate of payment - members of a couple.

Who may be paid UA

From 20 September 2009, the following people may receive UA:

  • disability support pensioners aged under 21, without children, and
  • recipients of PA and WA who are under the qualifying age for age pension.

UA not payable in certain circumstances

From 20 September 2009, even though a person may qualify for UA on a test day, UA will NOT be payable if, on that day, the person:

  • received a transitional rate pension, or
  • received pension supplement at greater than the pension supplement basic amount, or
  • has an election in force to receive their pension supplement minimum amount on a quarterly basis, or
  • received service pension or income support supplement, or
  • received veterans supplement under the VEA, or
  • has elected not to receive UA and has not withdrawn that election.

Explanation: UA under SSAct provisions cannot be paid to a DVA service pensioner or DVA income support supplement recipient.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061T Qualification for UA, section 1061TA When UA is payable, section 20A Pension supplement rate definitions

Policy reference: SS Guide Utilities allowance (UA) - description, Pension supplement - description

UA test day

UA test days are 20 March, 20 June, 20 September and 20 December each year. Qualification and payability provisions are applied to recipients on each UA test day and if met, UA will be paid on the recipient's payment delivery day on or after the UA test day.

Example: Jane is 19 years old and in receipt of DSP since 10 February 2020. Jane's first UA test day is 20 March 2020. On 20 March 2020, Jane is found eligible for UA. Jane will be paid the quarterly rate of UA with her next regular DSP payment.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061TA(3)-'utilities allowance test day'

Election NOT to receive UA

A person may elect NOT to receive UA for any reason. Where an income support recipient withdraws an election they had previously made, UA becomes payable from the next available UA test day. UA is NOT paid for any UA test days that had occurred while the election was in force.

Absences from Australia

UA is not payable for any UA test day after a person departs Australia permanently.

Provided a person remains qualified for income support and they satisfy payability conditions, UA is payable on a test day if their temporary absence from Australia has not exceeded 6 weeks.

Policy reference: SS Guide General rules of portability, Application of portability rules (portability table)

Rate of payment - members of a couple

UA is shared between eligible couples so that each receives half the instalment. For couples living apart due to ill health, they are both eligible for the equivalent of the single rate of UA as long as both recipients satisfy the eligibility criteria in their own right. Each recipient must satisfy payability conditions to receive the UA payment.

Example 1: Bob and Vera each receive Age. Both are eligible for UA, but it is not payable to either of them as the value of the UA is already incorporated into their rate of payment.

Example 2: Tom receives Age and Jane receives PA. On the UA test day both are eligible for UA, but it is only payable to Jane. Jane receives the 'partnered' rate of UA.

Policy reference: SS Guide UA - current rates

Last reviewed: 1 July 2021