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. Continuation, variation or termination of PA

Note: PA ceased on 1 January 2022. The following information is for historical purposes only.


The following table lists the circumstances in which payment of PA may change.

Payment of PA is … until/when …

a recipient:

  • loses basic qualification
  • transfers to another payment
  • fails to comply with a notification requirement
  • fails to provide a statement for a specified period, OR
  • the allowance becomes not payable for other reasons.
suspended or cancelled

a recipient:

  • no longer qualifies for the payment or it is no longer payable, OR
  • has been requested to bring in a document relevant to their payment and they fail to do so.
  • there is a change in the persons circumstances
  • there is a change in partner circumstances
  • the partner starts to receive a different social security benefit, OR
  • the amount of PA being paid is incorrect.

Where necessary, these circumstances are explained in more detail in the rest of this topic.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 90 Automatic cancellation-transfer to new payment type

Cancellation or suspension

Normally suspension of PA occurs for very short periods of time.

Example: When a recipient is remanded in custody for less than 7 days.

PA can be restored and paid to the person if they subsequently meet the qualification and payability criteria. However, if payment is cancelled, the person cannot be re-granted PA, and will need to claim and qualify for another income support payment.

Partner loses qualification

Once PA has been granted, the recipient remains qualified for PA, even after their partner's eligibility for payment ceases. The PA recipient partner's eligibility may cease because they returned to work and therefore, their income may affect payment of PA. This also applies to PA recipients who are partners of DSP recipients. When DSP is suspended there is no need to suspend PA.

Example: When the PA recipient's partner starts working, they will be automatically cancelled at the end of the nil rate period.

If PA is cancelled, the person will NOT be able to be re-granted PA, as there have been no new grants of PA since 20 September 2003.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period

Recipients over age pension age

Recipients can choose to remain on PA when they reach age pension age instead of transferring to Age.

However, after they transfer to Age they are unable to transfer back as PA is closed to new entrants.

Death of the recipient

The estate of a deceased PA recipient is NOT entitled to one further instalment after the death of the recipient. However, payment should be made up to the end of the day immediately before the day on which the person dies, to the person best entitled to receive it.

As the person was a member of a couple (1.1.M.120), the partner may qualify for some bereavement assistance.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement payment provisions

Death of partner

A PA recipient qualifies for bereavement payment if their deceased partner was receiving:

  • a pension, AND the PA recipient was a long term social security recipient (1.1.L.120), OR
  • a benefit, AND BOTH partners were long term social security recipients.


PA recipients are not reviewed separately, but their income and assets are reviewed as part of any review of the primary allowance of the pension recipient.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.1.3 Reviews - Death of a Recipient

Last reviewed: