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. Meeting priority needs using vouchers & stored value cards

Vouchers & stored value cards

A voucher is a device that specifies a particular monetary amount that enables a person to acquire goods or services, excluding cash and excluded goods. Preloaded cards distributed by Centrelink and gift cards purchased directly from retailers are considered to be vouchers for the purposes of income management.

A stored value card refers to a portable device that is capable of storing monetary value in a form other than physical currency, and is capable of being reloaded, i.e. the BasicsCard.

Note: A voucher should only be considered if the person has declined the use of a BasicsCard, the BasicsCard is temporarily unavailable, or cannot be used in the location. The delegate may consider authorising a one-off payment before issuing a voucher.

In the case of vouchers (including gift cards), stored value cards, crediting an account, transfers to an account, expense payments and restricted direct payments, the delegate must not give the voucher or the card to the person or make the transfer or payment to the person unless the delegate is satisfied that the goods and services that the person can access as a result of the action are:

  • goods and services that meet the person's priority needs as described in (or the priority needs of the person's partner or dependants), and
  • not excluded goods and services.

The Commonwealth will make arrangements with the third party who holds the account to be credited, or who will accept the voucher or stored value card to confirm that the third party will not allow access to cash or to excluded goods and services.

The range of goods and services which may be acquired by a person using a voucher or stored value card depends on the specific nature of the voucher or stored value card. SS(Admin)Act Part 3B allows the accessible range to be restricted.

Note: It is not possible to purchase a voucher (i.e. a gift card) with the BasicsCard.

Example: Laura is subject to the VIM measure. She is going to Adelaide for 3 weeks to visit her children in boarding school and to make arrangements for her brother to go to a nursing home. As Adelaide is not an income managed location and there may be a limited number of approved BasicsCard merchants for Laura to access, Centrelink may issue Laura with a voucher to pay for her priority needs while she is in Adelaide.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Part 3B Income management regime

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