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. Short & long term categories of SpB


Before the available funds test can be applied, the delegate must decide whether the person:

  • is likely to be dependent upon benefit in the short or long term, and
  • faces, or has faced in the 4 weeks preceding claim, exceptional or unforeseen expenses (1.1.E.140).
  • Explanation: This would lead to disregarding some or all of the current available funds.

Policy reference: SS Guide Short term available funds test for SpB, Long term available funds test for SpB

Appropriate category for payment

A decision should not be made about the expected duration of SpB payment, without the delegate making every effort to explore the person's circumstances. The following table defines short and long term categories of SpB:

If the person is likely to depend on benefit for … then they will be in the …
less than 13 weeks short term category.
13 weeks or more long term category.

Act reference: SSAct section 729A(1) to section 729A(3) Time limit on qualification for certain recipients of SpB

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.2.6 Special payments reviews

Last reviewed: