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.

1.1.E.260 Extreme financial hardship - income stream withdrawals


This applies when an income support recipient is commuting an income stream (1.1.I.70) and wishes to access a hardship amount (section 9A(7)). It is not to be confused with hardship as defined in 1.1.S.120 and 1.1.S.125.


The Secretary determines that a person is in extreme financial hardship if he or she is satisfied that:

  • the income support recipient's circumstances are exceptional and could not reasonably be foreseen at the time the person purchased the income stream,
  • the amount commuted is needed to meet UNAVOIDABLE EXPENDITURE, and
  • the income support recipient has insufficient LIQUID ASSETS or other assets (excluding the individual's principal home) that could be realised to avoid the extreme financial hardship.

Act reference: SSAct section 9A(7)-'hardship amount', section 9A(7)-'unavoidable expenditure', section 9A(7)-'liquid assets'

Policy reference: SS Guide Commuting an Asset-Test Exempt Income Stream

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