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. General assessment of SpNP claims

Note: There are no new grants of SpNP since 20 September 2000.


This topic explains the general assessment of SpNP claims including:

  • claim investigation
  • claimant's history since leaving Australia, and
  • delegation for SpNP.

Claim investigation

The delegate may need to use a variety of avenues to investigate a claim for SpNP.

Examples: Requesting that the overseas post make inquiries, writing directly to the claimant or a third person.

The onus to provide information is on the claimant, who can be requested to provide documentary evidence of income and/or expenses.

Explanation: Delegates will often have considerable difficulties in obtaining the information from overseas sources, particularly if there are language problems.

DSP claimant

A person claiming special needs DSP will need to provide medical evidence in addition to evidence of income and/or expenses. A medical examination may also be required.

Claimant's history since leaving Australia

The delegate will need to consider the issues in the following table, to determine whether a claimant is in special need.

Explanation: Special need cannot be established by a generalised answer.

Example: A claimant stating 'I have been maintained by my savings since I left Australia'.

Point in time Issue
Before leaving Australia
  • How was the claimant supported?
  • What income, cash and other assets did the claimant have?
Since leaving Australia to present
  • What has been the claimant's source of support?
  • What income, cash and other assets does the claimant own?
  • The claimant should be asked to provide a copy of their latest tax return and details of bank accounts and other investments, including balance and interest rate.
  • How is the claimant currently maintained?
  • Is the claimant receiving a pension or other government assistance from the country of residence?
    • If YES, documentary evidence such as an advice slip or pension certificate should be provided.
    • If NO, has the claimant applied for such a pension and with what result?
  • If no government assistance has been sought, the claimant should be advised that their claim may be rejected if they fail to seek a payment they are entitled to, that is a CFP (1.1.C.230).

A claim for SpNP should not be delayed if the claimant is awaiting a decision about a claim for pension from the country where they are living.

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3.3 CFP notices & reasonable action requirements

Delegation for SpNP

The delegation to approve or reject an SpNP claim is held at different levels.

Last reviewed: