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. SpB for expectant mothers


There should be very few occasions when there is a need for expectant mothers to be paid SpB.

Explanation: Expectant mothers in receipt of JSP or YA can receive an exemption from mutual obligation requirements from 6 weeks before the expected DOB of the child to 6 weeks after the DOB.

As with all claims for SpB, all avenues of support should be explored and exhausted before the claim is granted. SpB may be paid to expectant mothers subject to all the usual SpB provisions, i.e. IF they:

  • are in hardship, AND
  • have no alternative means of support, AND
  • meet the other qualification criteria.

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for SpB

Confirmation of circumstances

The person needs to provide confirmation of the circumstances leading to their claim for SpB.

Policy reference: SS Guide Special payments - documentation required

Factors to consider for expectant mothers

The delegate should consider the following issues when determining whether payment of SpB is appropriate.

If the person is … then they …
living with their parents would NOT generally be considered to be in hardship if they are living with parents, who are providing and will continue to provide food, accommodation and monies for necessary expenses. This might be viewed differently if the person had established an employment history.
on paid maternity leave or received a lump sum payment should NOT be paid SpB during the period of the paid leave UNLESS they have incurred unforeseen expenses.
under 16 years of age, and living with their parents should NOT be paid SpB, as their parents have a legal responsibility to provide support. SpB is ONLY payable where the parents are unable to provide that support.


Example: If the parent was in receipt of a social security payment.

under 16 years of age, and NOT living with their parents should only be paid in accordance with guidelines for under 16 year olds.
a former student living in a residential facility for young pregnant women can continue with some studies and will not be regarded as a full-time student for the purposes of the Act. This means the person may qualify for payment.

All people under the age of 16 years, and former students should be referred for social worker assessment.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'parent', section 23(1)-'social security payment'

Policy reference: SS Guide Short term available funds test for SpB, SpB for young people under 18 years of age

Newly arrived residents

Pregnancy is NOT a change in circumstances for a newly arrived resident who is serving the NARWP.

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.N.70 Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP), Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP)

Duration of payment

Payment may be made from 6 weeks before the expected DOB, to 6 weeks after the DOB. This applies, irrespective of whether the child is adopted or stillborn, UNLESS eligibility for SpB ceases.

Example: If the person resumes paid employment or full-time studies, or ceases to be in hardship.

Possibility of other benefits

Some expectant mothers would be able to qualify for another allowance, pension or benefit.

Example: JSP (incapacitated) or YA (incapacitated) may be paid if there are complications during the pregnancy and JSP or YA may be paid during this period, with an exemption from mutual obligation requirements.

After the birth of the child, depending on the person's circumstances, they may qualify for PP and FTB.

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for JSP, Qualification for YA, 3.5.1 PP - qualification & payability

FA Guide 2.2.1 FTB eligibility criteria for individuals

Last reviewed: