RA - current rates

Current rates as at 20 March 2021

This table shows the following, in dollars per fortnight (pf):

  • rent threshold (1.1.R.190) at which entitlement to RA commences
  • minimum rent payable (1.1.R.180) to receive maximum RA, and
  • current maximum rates of RA (1.1.M.60).
Recipient status Rent threshold ($ pf) Minimum rent for maximum RA ($ pf) Maximum rate ($ pf)
Single, no children 125.80 313.53 140.80
Single, no children, sharer 125.80 250.96 93.87
Partnered, no children (combined rate) 203.60 380.67 132.80
Member of a couple, no children - illness separated couple (1.1.I.04), respite care couple (1.1.R.240), or partner imprisoned (1.1.P.85) 125.80 313.53 140.80
Member of a couple temporarily separated, no children 125.80 302.87 132.80

Rates of payment for families with children

RA for families with children is not paid under Social Security Law. The rates of payment for families with children can be found in the Family Assistance Guide.

Policy reference: FA Guide Rent assistance

Indexation (1.1.I.100)

The rent thresholds and maximum rates are indexed to reflect changes in the CPI. The effective dates of indexation are 20 March and 20 September each year.

Exception: There was a 10% increase to all maximum rates only (not rent thresholds), on 1 July 2000, as part of the 'A New Tax System' legislation. Of this 10%, 8% was a real increase and the remaining 2% was an advance on the 20 March 2001 indexation.

Timing of payments

Payments are generally made fortnightly in arrears.

However, RA recipients who are being paid as part of their FTB may have the choice to receive their RA as a lump sum at the end of the income year. This depends on how they have chosen to arrange their payment of FTB.

SSAct Chapter 3 details the general provisions relating to payability and rates.

Act reference: SSAct section 1189 Analysis of Part, section 1190 Indexed and adjusted amounts, section 1191 CPI Indexation Table, section 1192 Indexation of amounts, section 1193 Indexation factor, section 1194 Rounding off indexed amounts, Chapter 3 General provisions relating to payability and rates

Policy reference: SS Guide Rent assistance (RA) - description, 3.8.1 RA - Qualification & Payability

FA Guide FTB payment choices for instalment individuals

Determining the rate of RA - couple living together

The following table explains the appropriate rate of RA for members of a couple who are living together:

If … then the …
  • both members of a couple are pensioners, and
  • both are eligible for RA
rate of RA payable to each recipient is one half of the total amount otherwise payable. Each recipient's rate is calculated based on the total rent paid by the couple.
one of the couple is a service pensioner in receipt of RA under the VEA pensioner partner receives RA at half the total amount otherwise payable.
one of the couple is a pensioner and the other is in receipt of benefit pensioner partner receives the total amount of any RA payable.

Determining the rate of RA - couple not living together

Married couples who do not live together in the matrimonial home are still treated as partnered, i.e. temporarily separated couples, are effectively treated as if they are not separated.

Explanation: If one is residing in a home that is owned by the couple, they are both homeowners and neither can get RA.

For care situations i.e. illness separated couple, respite care couple, or partner imprisoned, RA can be paid using the single person's rent threshold under single rate provisions, even if one partner lives in a home that is owned by the couple. This applies to community based care as well as institutional care.

Act reference: SSAct section 1070K Rate depends on social security payment …

Policy reference: SS Guide Special RA rules for couples & families with children

Last reviewed: 22 March 2021