3.7.8 Cost of living payment

Background

The Government provided a one-off $250 cost of living payment to assist eligible payment recipients and concession card holders with higher cost of living pressures from 28 April 2022.

Qualification

A person is qualified for the $250 cost of living payment if they were residing in Australia and receiving a qualifying payment or holding a qualifying concession card on 29 March 2022, with payments made from 28 April 2022.

The payment was provided to:

  • recipients of Age, DSP and CP
  • recipients of JSP, YA (student, apprentice and jobseekers), PPS, PPP, SpB, Austudy and DOP
  • recipients of ABSTUDY living allowance
  • recipients of CA (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
  • recipients of farm household allowance
  • holders of a CSHC and certain PCC holders (not in receipt of a primary income support payment), and
  • eligible DVA payments and concession card holders.

Entitled to only one payment

A person can receive only one cost of living payment. Where a person qualifies for the cost of living payment in multiple ways they would only receive one payment.

Payability

The amount of the cost of living payment is $250.

The amount is the same for single people and each eligible member of a couple.

A claim is not required for the cost of living payment, it is paid automatically as a lump sum by Services Australia or DVA.

The cost of living payment is non-taxable and does not count as income.

For income management and Cashless Debit Card participants, 100% of the cost of living payment is restricted and placed in either their income management account or on their Cashless Debit Card.

Nil rate, suspended & backdating provisions

Those who have personal and/or partner employment income that reduces their rate to nil for a period that includes the test date are taken to be receiving a qualifying payment and qualify for the cost of living payment.

A person who is not receiving a qualifying payment or concession card on the test date does not qualify for the cost of living payment, for example, the person's qualifying payment or concession card is suspended. However, if the person subsequently commences to receive a qualifying payment/concession card in respect of the test date, for example, the payment/concession card is restored, the person qualifies for the cost of living payment.

A person whose claim for a qualifying payment or concession card is subsequently granted and backdated to a day before or on the test date, with the result that the person is receiving a qualifying payment or concession card on the test date, qualifies for the cost of living payment.

Limiting date

The cost of living payment cannot be paid on, or beyond, 1 July 2023.

Recovery of cost of living payment debts

The cost of living payment is not a recoverable debt unless the person knowingly made a false or misleading statement or knowingly provided false or misleading information.

Act reference: SSAct Part 2.6D 2022 cost of living payment

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