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. Start day for RA


There are no separate legislative provisions governing the start date for RA, because it:

  • is an add-on to other social security payments, and
  • does not require a claim form.

The start day provisions for RA are generally the same as those for the primary payment to which the RA payment is added.

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.3 Start days

Recipient privately renting when claim is lodged

If a recipient indicates that they rent privately at the time they CLAIM a pension, benefit or allowance, RA is payable from the start day of that payment. This applies even if verification or sufficient information is not provided at that time, ALTHOUGH payment of RA will usually be delayed until verification is provided. In this case, payment of RA is governed by the legislative date of effect for that payment.

Example: A recipient qualifies for JSP, but fails to provide the full rent verification at the time of claiming. When payment of JSP commences, it does not include RA because the verification is still outstanding. When the recipient provides the full verification 6 weeks later, they are paid arrears of RA for the period since commencement of JSP.

Policy reference: SS Guide RA - verification required, 8.3 Start days

FA Guide Rent assistance

Existing recipient starts renting privately

RA is granted in accordance with the legislation governing a rate increase for the primary payment, if an existing pensioner, beneficiary, allowee or FTB recipient starts to:

  • rent privately, AND/OR
  • pay more than the threshold amount of rent.

Delays in determination

If a recipient qualifies for RA, it is important that claims are determined and paid quickly, especially to homeless recipients who have secured accommodation. There should be no delay in payment to a homeless recipient who advises that they have obtained accommodation and RA is required, EVEN IF the advice comes from someone acting on their behalf.

Example: A hospital social worker may be acting on behalf of a homeless recipient.

Explanation: If assistance is not available when required, the recipient may experience considerable difficulty in retaining accommodation even for a short period.

Note: Some recipients may be paid RA without documentary evidence, on financial hardship grounds (


If the recipient's primary payment is backdated with RA for a significant period, the delegate should be satisfied that the recipient qualified for RA throughout the entire period.

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.3.3 Backdated start days

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