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 social security payments. 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. Payability of BVA

Note: BVA closed to new entrants on 20 March 2020 and ceased completely on 20 September 2020 after those receiving BVA before 20 March 2020 had finished their bereavement period. The following information is for historical purposes only.


Even though a person is qualified, BVA is NOT payable to a person in the circumstances listed in the following table. If more detail about the circumstance is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Circumstances More detail
BVA is NOT payable.
  • The person is serving a waiting period OR
  • The person is subject to a NARWP (1.1.N.70), unless the person has a QRE (1.1.Q.35) or a NARWP exemption. Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP) Exemptions from waiting periods

Allowance is not payable before the start day. 8.3 Start days
All the general payability provisions. 3.1.6 General payability provisions

Income & assets testing

Payment of BVA is subject to the ordinary income test and the assets test.

For people who are employed, the following table explains the treatment of income:

If the person is … then income from employment …
working is assessed as income under the income test.
on leave with pay including lump sum leave payments for the period of leave, is converted to an annual rate of income and the normal income test is applied.
on leave without pay does not exist, and cannot be assessed.

Policy reference: SS Guide Pensions income test, 4.2.2 Benefits income test & limits

Multiple entitlement exclusion

BVA is NOT payable to a person:

  • who is already receiving a DVA service pension, OR
  • when another social security pension, social security benefit, or service pension becomes payable, OR
  • who is an armed services widow/er in receipt of a pension under the VEA.

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

SSAct pre-20 March 2020 section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 321 Multiple entitlement exclusion

Employment income nil rate period - an incentive to take up work

A BVA recipient who loses payment because of ordinary income (1.1.O.30), made up entirely or partly of employment income (1.1.E.102), may qualify for an employment income nil rate period. To assess qualification for an employment income nil rate period see 3.1.12.

During the employment income nil rate period a BVA recipient can:

  • be paid certain supplementary benefits
  • retain their PCC, and
  • have their payment resumed if they report a fall in income sufficient for BVA to be payable again.

Explanation: This policy provides incentives for recipients to take up work, particularly casual or short-term work.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4A) Despite subsection (4) …, section 23(4AA) For the purposes of subsection (4A) …, section 1061ZEA Further extended qualification rule: loss of payment because of employment income

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period, PCC due to employment


From 1 January 2019 changes were made to the NARWP for BVA. A person who is granted a permanent visa on or after 1 January 2019 is subject to a 208 week NARWP for BVA. A person who was a holder of a permanent visa before 1 January 2019 is not subject to a 104 week NARWP, but is still subject to the 104 week qualifying residence requirements (

Note: Different payments have different waiting periods. The length of the NARWP depends on a person's situation and payment type. A person who has fully served a NARWP for one payment may still be serving a NARWP for other payments. Refer to specific payment guide topics for individual rules.

Exemptions from the NARWP

There are a number of exemptions from the NARWP for BVA, and situations where a NARWP does not apply (see for details). This includes:

  • Australian citizens
  • refugee, former refugee or a family member of a refugee.

There are also other exemptions specific to other payment types (, FA Guide and PPL Guide

Act reference: SSAct pre-20 March 2020 section 322 Newly arrived resident's waiting period, section 323 Duration of newly arrived resident's waiting period

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for BVA, 1.1.N.70 Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP), Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP), Exemptions from the NARWP

Last reviewed: