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. Sickness allowance (SA) - description

Note: SA closed to all entrants on 20 March 2020 and ceased on 20 September 2020. The following information is for historical purposes only.

What is SA?

SA is an income support payment that provides financial assistance to people who are temporarily incapacitated for work or study and do not have adequate levels of income support.

These people are able to resume their employment or return to their studies once they have recovered from their incapacity.

Act reference: SSAct section 10A(2)-'employment'

How SA is paid

SA is usually paid fortnightly in arrears.

Supplementary assistance

There are 2 types of supplementary assistance that recipients of SA MAY receive. Payments that are included as part of the SA rate and payments that are in addition to the SA rate.

Recipients of SA MAY receive one or more of the following as part of their SA rate:

They may also be entitled to the following while in receipt of SA:

Bereavement payment provisions

Following the death of a partner (1.1.P.85), the surviving member of a couple (1.1.M.120) may be eligible for a bereavement payment.

Background information

Prior to 20 March 1996, incapacitated recipients remained on job search allowance, NSA or YTA if the period of their incapacity was less than 13 weeks, but were transferred to SA if the period of their illness extended beyond 13 weeks. Recipients were then transferred back to job search allowance, NSA or YTA on recovery.

From 20 March 1996, these transfers ceased. Recipients temporarily incapacitated for work due to illness or injury maintained an ongoing eligibility for job search allowance, NSA or YTA.

New recipients who are unemployed but are temporarily incapacitated now claim NSA or YA with temporary incapacity. New claimants who have employment or study to return to when they recover from the illness or injury will continue to claim and receive SA.

From 20 March 2020, SA recipients who require income support after their current medical certificate expires must transfer to JSP or another income support payment.

From 20 March 2020, recipients who would have previously claimed SA will claim JSP instead.

Act reference: SSAct pre-20 September 2020 section 666(1) Qualification for SA, section 666A Time limit on grants of SA

Policy reference: SS Guide Jobseeker payment (JSP) - description

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