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. Alignment of an entitlement period for partnered recipients


Generally, recipients with partners (1.1.P.85) will have their entitlement periods (1.1.E.125) aligned. The principle of this is to ensure that, as far as possible, changes in circumstances affect each partner from the same point in time. This makes changes in rates easier to explain to recipients.

One member of couple already in receipt of payment

If one member of the couple is already in receipt of a social security payment, when their partner claims a new payment, the partner's entitlement period will automatically align with the existing recipient's entitlement period.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security payment'

Both partners already in receipt of payment

Where both members of the couple are recipients they will generally need to have their entitlement periods aligned.

Example: Where they have just become partners.

The following general rules will apply:

  • Where one member of a couple is in receipt of a benefit other than benefit PPP, their partner's entitlement period will be aligned with the benefit recipient's period. The intention of this is to reduce, as far as possible, the need for continuation forms to be issued for short periods which could eventuate should the beneficiary partner change their entitlement period.
  • In all other cases, the couple should be asked their preferences and provided the entitlement periods are aligned, this will usually be accommodated.

Neither partner already in receipt of payment

Where both partners lodge claims at the same time, they should be asked their preferred payment delivery day. Their entitlement period will flow from this or default to 14 days from date of lodgement.

Partners who do not need to have their entitlement periods aligned

Some couples are not required to have their entitlement periods aligned.

Example: Where one member of the couple is:

  • being paid through group payments (1.1.G.68), or
  • a CIS recipient being paid overseas.

It is considered that these recipient groups have relatively few changes in circumstances and that insisting on alignment would be unnecessary.

Act reference: SSAct section 4(2) Member of a couple-general, section 4(3) Member of a couple-criteria for forming opinion about relationship

Policy reference: SS Guide Determining member of a couple relationships

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