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. Qualification for AGDRP


This topic explains the following issues relating to qualification:

  • requirement for a ministerial determination
  • qualification criteria for AGDRP
  • claims for deceased persons
  • income and assets testing, and
  • receipt of other pension or benefit.

Before any person can qualify for AGDRP

AGDRP can ONLY be paid if the Minister for Emergency Management (the Minister) determines in writing that an event is a major disaster (1.1.M.20) for the purposes of the payment. The Minister is also responsible for determining the circumstances in which persons are considered to be adversely affected ( by the major disaster for the purposes of SSAct section 1061L. In NO circumstances can payment of AGDRP be made without both these legislative instruments being in place. If there are any doubts, the National Emergency Management Agency should be contacted for advice.

Example: Disasters where a ministerial determination has been made and AGDRP has been activated include the 2009 Samoa tsunami, the 2009 Sumatra earthquakes, the Tasmanian bushfires in 2013, the 2015 New South Wales East Coast Storms and Floods and the 2019 North and Far North Queensland Monsoonal Trough.

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for SpB, SpB for disaster victims

Absence of a ministerial determination

If there is no ministerial determination to pay AGDRP, affected people may be paid SpB which can be administered in a manner that provides easy and quick access, provided they meet the qualification criteria. CrP may also be payable to a person affected by extreme circumstances if the person is not qualified for a state or federal disaster relief or recovery payment for the same extreme circumstance.

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for SpB, SpB for disaster victims

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for AGDRP, an applicant must meet ALL of the criteria in the following table. Where more detail is required the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More detail

The person's claim for AGDRP is lodged in accordance with the time limit set out in SS(Admin)Act section 27A, AND

This topic

The person is at least 16 years old or is receiving a social security payment, AND

The person is:

  • an Australian resident
  • the holder of a visa that is in a class of visas determined by the Minister for Social Services for the purpose of SSAct section 729(2)(f)(v), i.e. SCV, or
  • an Australian citizen who is not an Australian resident and who is covered by a ministerial determination, AND
3.7.1 SpB - qualification & payability

The person is adversely affected ( by a major disaster in a way that is determined by the Minister in relation to the particular disaster. Refer to the relevant operational instructions for guidance on how an individual is considered to be adversely affected. Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) - description

Act reference: SSAct section 1061K Qualification for AGDRP

Policy reference: SS Guide Determining the rate of AGDRP

Time limit on claims

Individuals have 6 months to lodge an AGDRP claim for an event, from the date the Minister determines the event to be a major disaster. An individual may lodge an AGDRP claim out of time where special circumstances applying to that person's claim justify late lodgement, and the claim is lodged within a reasonable period having regard to those circumstances. As noted in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Act which inserted SS(Admin)Act section 27A, disruption caused by the major disaster is unlikely of itself to justify late lodgement of a claim, as such disruption is likely to be experienced by all claimants.

Payments to a deceased person

If AGDRP is paid into a deceased person's account (including joint accounts) the amount is a debt to the Commonwealth which may be recovered.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PAAB Recoverable death payments

Income & assets testing

AGDRP is exempt from all Australian Government means testing arrangements and is non-taxable.

Receipt of other pension or benefit

If an applicant is already receiving a pension or benefit and they qualify for AGDRP, the disaster payment is paid in ADDITION to their regular payment. A person may qualify for, and receive, both AGDRP and DRA.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061M Amount of payment for disasters in Australia, section 1061N Amount of payment for disasters outside Australia, section 1061P(2) Determinations of rates

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