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.L.50 Liquid assets


This topic relates to the definition of 'liquid assets' in SSAct section 14A.

This definition relates to the liquid assets test waiting period (, which applies to:

  • jobseeker payment
  • youth allowance, and
  • austudy payment.

This definition also relates to the definition of 'severe financial hardship' (1.1.S.125) in SSAct section 19C and section 19D.


The liquid assets of a person means that person's cash and other readily realisable assets. It also includes such assets of the person's partner (1.1.P.85) and any such assets owned by BOTH the person and their partner.

Example: Liquid assets include:

  • cash on hand from any source (including borrowings)
  • shares and debentures, term deposits
  • other money available at short notice
  • some payments made or due to be made by a person's last employer
  • 10 year insurance bonds
  • amounts deposited or lent to banks or other financial institutions whether or not the amount can be withdrawn or repaid immediately (excluding bonds or bank guarantees for the purposes of an AoS)
  • assets given to a son or daughter in some circumstances
  • loans
  • unencumbered proceeds from sale of business
  • monies in trust funds, bank accounts including mortgage offset accounts, BUT NOT balances of mortgage redraw accounts, and
  • compensation payments.

Further details about the treatment of some types of liquid assets are in

Assets not considered liquid

Liquid assets DO NOT include:

  • proceeds from the sale of the person's principal home in some circumstances
  • draw down loan facilities, such as margin loan facilities, mortgage redraw account balances or credit card limits
  • the value of a person's investment in a first home saver account (within the meaning of the First Home Saver Accounts Act 2008)
  • bonds or bank guarantees for the purposes of an AoS
  • voluntary one-off payments of a person's non-housing debts in some circumstances
  • the surrender value of a life insurance policy
  • an amount of an AGDRP that the person received, if the Secretary is satisfied that the length of time since receiving the payment is still reasonable in the circumstances
  • an amount of an Australian Victim of Terrorism Overseas Payment (AVTOP) that the person received if the Secretary is satisfied that the length of time since receiving the payment is still reasonable in the circumstances
  • NDIS amounts (1.1.N.03) and returns on NDIS amounts, held by, or on behalf of, an NDIS participant, (1.1.N.05) to pay for future disability expenses in accordance with the participant's NDIS plan (1.1.N.06), and
  • superannuation benefits paid by employers directly to nominated superannuation accounts or superannuation payments that have been rolled over or are going to be rolled over to another superannuation fund.

Note: Under transitional arrangements that applied to some employment termination payments (ETPs) (1.1.E.105) made between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2012, employment termination payments and/or transitional directed termination payments that were rolled over into superannuation funds were not considered liquid. This historical transitional arrangement is no longer in place.

For full-time tertiary students claiming YA or Austudy the recipient's liquid assets can be reduced by certain allowable deductions directly related to their course of study. A student's liquid assets may be reduced for reasonable expenditure incurred, or likely to be incurred, such as:

  • up-front course fees
  • HECS-HELP payments
  • student union fees
  • costs of text books
  • costs of any tools or equipment required to undertake the course, including computer software
  • expenses directly related to any field trips undertaken for the purposes of the course, and
  • such other expenses as are approved by the Secretary.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(1) Principal home, section 14A Social security benefit liquid assets test definitions, section 19C Severe financial hardship definitions, section 19D Severe financial hardship-CrP definition, section 549A Liquid assets test waiting period (YA), section 575A Liquid assets test waiting period (Austudy), section 598 Liquid assets test waiting period (JSP)

Policy reference: SS Guide Liquid assets test waiting period, Treatment of liquid assets, 1.1.S.125 Severe financial hardship - OWP, SWPP, LAWP, IMP

Last reviewed: