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. Long term available funds test for SpB


The long term available funds test (1.1.L.90) generally applies to people identified as in long term need of benefit. Occasionally however, delegates will need to use discretion in deciding whether to use the short or long term available funds test.

Example: A person will generally fall into the long term category for SpB if they are:

  • an Australian citizen child in the custody of a non-permanent resident
  • caring for a child under 16
  • caring for an incapacitated person
  • under 16 years of age
  • not residentially qualified for another pension
  • socially marginalised
  • the holder of a subclass 449 Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa or subclass 786 Temporary (Humanitarian Concern) visa
  • the holder of a subclass 785 Temporary Protection visa
  • the holder of a subclass 790 Safe Haven Enterprise visa
  • the holder of a CJSV (9.2.14) - issued specifically for the purpose of assisting in the administration of criminal justice in relation to an offence of trafficking in persons, slavery or slavery-like practices
  • other long term cases including a dependent partner who is unable to qualify for any other payments and unable to be supported by their partner who is imprisoned long term etc.
  • the holder of a subclass 060 - Bridging F visa, or
  • the holder of a subclass 070 Bridging (Removal Pending) visa.

Example: Where a person who would generally fall into a long term category of SpB has an expectation that they will find employment within 3 months the short term available funds test should only be applied where the person has an actual job offer.

Policy reference: SS Guide Short term available funds test for SpB, 3.7.2 Common situations where SpB is claimed

What is the long term available funds test?

The available funds tests are primarily about liquid funds (1.1.L.60). The following table explains the long term available funds test when the person has no exceptional or unforeseen expenses (1.1.E.140):

If the person's available funds are … then SpB …
more than $5,000 is NOT payable, regardless of partner status or the number of dependants. No preclusion period applies, and the claim should be rejected.
$5,000 or less MAY be payable, subject to other conditions outlined in this chapter.

When applying the long term available funds test, the value of non-liquid assets that could reasonably be realised should be included in the person's available funds. This includes assets located overseas.

Example: Non-liquid assets that could reasonably be realised include a second house that could be sold or rented, a car, or a life insurance policy that could be surrendered.

If the person subsequently lodges another claim and the amount of available funds has been reduced, the delegate must establish that the person has not deliberately placed themselves in hardship.

EC &/or accommodation bond

Where the resident cannot (or does not) realise the value of the EC and/or the accommodation bond during their lifetime it should not be assessed under the SpB long term available funds test.

Reduction in available funds

If the person states that their funds have been depleted by any large purchase, they are required to produce confirmation of that purchase.

Example: A person who had repairs done to their car might provide a bill or receipt as proof.

If the purchase was not an exceptional or unforeseen expense, then the person's liquid funds should be deemed to include the amount of the purchase. Regular expenses do not need to be verified unless the amount paid seems excessive.

Example: Regular expenses would include gas, telephone bills, electricity bills, rent and mortgage payments and school fees.

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