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. Telephone allowance (TAL) - description

What is TAL

TAL is a supplementary allowance that provides financial assistance to eligible income support recipients who are telephone subscribers, to help with the cost of maintaining a telephone service and a home internet connection.

A telephone subscriber is a person who has a telephone line or mobile phone service connected in either their, or their partner's (1.1.P.85) name.

How TAL is paid

TAL is a quarterly payment that is paid into a recipient's bank account on or after the TAL test days of 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September each year.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061Q Qualification for TAL, section 1061R TAL not payable in some circumstances

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.7 TAL - qualification & payability, TAL - current rates, 1.1.T.30 Telephone allowance payday (TAL)

Background information

TAL was introduced from 1 July 1992 to replace telephone rental concession vouchers, following an audit into the administration of the voucher system.

TAL was extended to eligible CSHC holders from September 2001.

From 20 March 2008, there are 2 rates of TAL - standard TAL being paid to subscribers of a telephone service and a higher rate of TAL being paid to eligible recipients who also subscribe to a home internet connection.

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

  • pension supplement ( for most pensioners and other income support recipients who have reached the qualifying age for Age
  • the transitional rate of pension (, and
  • seniors supplement for CSHC holders. (Note: The final instalment of seniors supplement was paid in June 2015.)

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