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. Utilities allowance (UA) - description

What is UA?

UA is a supplementary allowance that provides financial assistance to eligible income support recipients to help with the costs of utilities bills such as gas and electricity.

How UA is paid

UA is a quarterly payment that is paid into a recipient's bank account on or after the UA test days of 20 March, 20 June, 20 September and 20 December each year.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061T(2) Qualification for UA

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.13 UA - qualification & payability, Application of portability rules (portability table), General rules of portability

Background information

UA was introduced in December 2004 as a Government election commitment, with payments commencing in March 2005. UA was paid to age (or veteran) pension age recipients receiving a social security or DVA service pension or income support supplement.

Eligibility for UA was extended to mature age allowance, PA and WA recipients in September 2006, and to recipients of DSP, CP, WidB, WP and BVA in March 2008.

From 20 September 2009, as part of major pension reform, the value of UA was incorporated into the:

  • pension supplement ( for most pensioners and for other income support recipients who have reached the qualifying age for Age, and
  • transitional rate of pension (

UA is currently only paid to DSP recipients under 21 years without children.

Note: Mature age allowance was closed to new recipients from 20 September 2003 and completely phased out from 19 September 2008.

Note: PA and WA ceased on 1 January 2022.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061T Qualification for UA, section 1061VA(1) Quarterly pension supplement

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.13 UA - qualification and payability

Last reviewed: