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. Determining the rate of DRA


The rate for DRA is determined by the Minister for Emergency Management. The current determination is the Social Security (Disaster recovery allowance rate calculator) Determination 2020.

Income cut-off test

A person's DRA payment rate will be nil if their income is greater than a certain amount (the 'income cut-off rate'). The DRA income test is used to determine that amount. The income cut-off test is detailed in 4.2.7.

How is the rate of DRA determined?

The following table explains the steps in determining the rate of DRA payable:

Step Description
1 Calculate the person's maximum rate of JSP or YA they would otherwise receive.
2 Calculate the person's disaster affected income.
3 Multiply the person's disaster affected income by 26 to work out person's annualised disaster affected income.
4 Multiply the average weekly income by 52 to work out the annualised weekly income.
5 IF the person's annualised disaster affected income is less than the annualised weekly income, then the person's rate of payment is an amount equal to the person's maximum rate.
IF the person's annualised disaster affected income is more than the annualised weekly income, then the person's rate of payment is nil.

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.2.2 Benefits income test & limits

Maximum rate

Calculate the maximum rate of JSP or YA the person may be eligible to receive. The person's rate of DRA CANNOT exceed their maximum rate of JSP or YA.

Disaster affected income

A person's disaster affected income is the fortnightly income that the person has received, or is likely to receive, in the 13-week period after the person suffered a loss of income as a direct result of the major disaster.

Average weekly income

The average weekly income means the average weekly ordinary earning for a full-time adult in Australia according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As at 17 August 2023, the average weekly ordinary earning is $1,838.60.


DRA is designed to be made available in a short period of time, without the delays associated with some other types of income support payments. For this reason, when assessing a person's disaster affected income, a simplified definition of 'income' is used. Sources of income which can take time to assess or verify have been excluded from the definition of income. Income from the following sources are not taken into account when determining a person's rate of DRA:

  • income from bank accounts held in trust
  • payments that compensate a person for lost earnings or lost earnings capacity, and
  • income from private companies.

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