The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

Using the Social Security Guide

Welcome to the Social Security Guide. The Guide is designed as a web publication (HTML). It is not available in a single electronic file or in paper format.

What does the Guide cover?

The Guide is divided into 12 parts as explained in the following table:

Part name What is covered
1 Key terms & principles Terms used in the administration of payments/benefits, descriptions of benefits and principles surrounding the social security law.
2 Claim verification Information on the verification of claims for social security payments/benefits.
3 Qualification & payability Qualification criteria, payability provisions and other assessment information for the different payments and benefits provided for in the social security law.
4 Income & assets Treatment of a person's income and assets. The part describes the various means tests and limits, issues around deprivation of income and assets, deeming provisions, the treatment of income from different sources, treatment of various types of assets, superannuation funds and income streams, compensation, trusts and companies.
5 Payment rates Current and historical rates of payment, examples of payment calculations, information on taxation issues and information on advance payments.
6 Reviews, debts & payment recovery Various types of reviews of a person's circumstances, creation and recovery of debts, and recovery of payments after a compensation payout.
7 Portability & comparable foreign payment (CFP) Conditions and arrangements for payment outside Australia, and CFP legislation.
8 Administration Act Provisions

Guidance on:

  • the structure and content of the SS(Admin)Act,
  • discretionary decision making under the SS(Admin)Act, and
  • certain procedural requirements for the implementation of the SS(Admin)Act.
9 Citizenship, visas & assurances of support Information about visas issued by the Department of Home Affairs, entitlement to social security payments and the AoS scheme.
10 Australian Social Security Agreements Information about Australia's social security agreements with other countries.
11 Income management Information about income management and its application.
12 Enhanced income management Information about enhanced income management and its application.

Use of abbreviations

For ease of reference the following abbreviations are used in the Guide:

  • SS Guide - Social Security Guide
  • SSAct - Social Security Act 1991
  • SS(Admin)Act - Social Security (Administration) Act 1999
  • SS(IntAgree)Act - Social Security (International Agreements) Act 1999
  • FA Guide - Family Assistance Guide
  • FAAct - A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999
  • FA(Admin)Act - A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999
  • PPL Guide - Paid Parental Leave Guide
  • PPLAct - Paid Parental Leave Act 2010
  • Redress Guide - National Redress Guide

Finding information

The following features are provided to assist in finding relevant information:

  • Search - type your search term (words or phrases) in the search box at the top of the page. The Advanced search on the results page allows a search to be limited to a specific Guide or Guides.
  • Site map - gives an overall picture of the structure of the Social Security Guide.
  • Keyword index - provides an extensive list of words that can be used to locate specific topics or subjects.
  • Act reference index - provides a list of sections in the social security legislation referenced in the Guide and the pages containing the reference.


The Guide has a number of links incorporated at various levels, including the following:

  • Act references - links to relevant law on the Federal Register of Legislation website
  • Policy references - links to related information in the Guides to Social Policy Law, and to other policy documents available on the Internet.

Last reviewed: