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.

3.8.13 UA - qualification & payability


This topic covers the following:

  • who may be paid UA
  • UA test day
  • election not to receive UA
  • absences from Australia
  • rate of payment - members of a couple.

Who may be paid UA

From 1 January 2022, only DSP recipients aged under 21, without children may receive UA. Recipients of PA and WA who were under the qualifying age for Age were able to receive UA until the cessation of PA and WA on 1 January 2022.

UA test day

UA test days are 20 March, 20 June, 20 September and 20 December each year. Qualification and payability provisions are applied to recipients on each UA test day and if met, UA will be paid on the recipient's payment delivery day on or after the UA test day.

Example: Jane is 19 years old and in receipt of DSP since 10 February 2020. Jane's first UA test day is 20 March 2020. On 20 March 2020, Jane is found eligible for UA. Jane will be paid the quarterly rate of UA with her next regular DSP payment.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061TA(3)-'utilities allowance test day'

Election NOT to receive UA

A person may elect NOT to receive UA for any reason. Where an income support recipient withdraws an election they had previously made, UA becomes payable from the next available UA test day. UA is NOT paid for any UA test days that had occurred while the election was in force.

Absences from Australia

UA is not payable for any UA test day after a person departs Australia permanently.

Provided a person remains qualified for income support and they satisfy payability conditions, UA is payable on a test day if their temporary absence from Australia has not exceeded 6 weeks.

Policy reference: SS Guide General rules of portability, Application of portability rules (portability table)

Rate of payment - members of a couple

UA is shared between eligible couples so that each receives half the instalment. For couples living apart due to ill health, or temporarily separated couples (1.1.T.47), they are both eligible for the equivalent of the single rate of UA as long as both recipients satisfy the eligibility criteria in their own right. Each recipient must satisfy payability conditions to receive the UA payment.

Example 1: Bob and Vera each receive Age. Both are eligible for UA, but it is not payable to either of them as the value of the UA is already incorporated into their rate of payment.

Example 2: Tom and Jane are under 21, receive DSP, and are without children. On the UA test day both are eligible for UA, and each receives the 'partnered' rate of UA.

Policy reference: SS Guide UA - current rates

Last reviewed: