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 intended only as a guide to social security payments. 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.S.120 Severe financial hardship - assets test hardship

Usage

This definition is to be used when applying hardship provisions to social security pension and social security benefit income support recipients.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(1)-'social security benefit'

Definition

A single person is in severe financial hardship if:

  • their readily available funds are equal to or less than the specified limit (as set out below), AND
  • they CANNOT reasonably be expected to sell or borrow against assets (1.1.A.290) to improve their financial position.

A partnered person is in severe financial hardship if:

  • the combined readily available funds of the person and their partner are equal to or less than the specified limit for a member of a couple (as set out below), AND
  • they CANNOT reasonably be expected to sell or borrow against assets (1.1.A.290) to improve their financial position.

Readily available funds - allowable limits

The readily available funds limits for Age, DSP, CP, YA (student), Austudy and ABSTUDY are:

  • for a single person, the annual MBR of age pension (plus pension supplement and ES) payable to a single person
  • for a member of a couple, twice the annual MBR of age pension (plus pension supplement and ES) payable to a partnered person.

The readily available funds limits for JSP, PPP, YA (other), WA and PA are:

  • for a single person with no dependent children, the annual MBR of JSP, (plus ES) payable to a person who is single with no children
  • for a single person with a dependent child or children, or who is aged 60 years or older and has been on income support for more than 9 months, the annual MBR of JSP, (plus ES) payable to a person who is single with dependent children or aged over 60 with 9 months on income support
  • for a member of a couple, twice the annual MBR of JSP, (plus ES) payable to a partnered person.

The readily available funds limit for PPS is:

  • the annual MBR of PPS plus pension supplement basic amount and ES.

Act reference: SSAct section 1129 Access to financial hardship rules-pensions, section 1131 Access to financial hardship rules-benefits

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.6.7 Asset hardship rules

Last reviewed: