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. Payability of PES


Even though a recipient is qualified, PES may not be payable to the recipient in the circumstances listed in the following table. If more detail about the circumstance is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Circumstances More detail

PES is NOT payable

The recipient is serving a NARWP (1.1.N.70) unless she or he has a QRE (1.1.Q.35).

This topic and Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP)

Before the start day.

8.3 Start days

The following general payability provisions:

  • recipient is imprisoned
  • failure to comply with a requirement under the Act, and
  • multiple entitlement exclusion.

3.1.6 General payability provisions

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PT PES not payable during NARWP, section 1061PU Newly arrived resident's waiting period, section 1061PV Length of NARWP


From 1 January 2019 changes were made to the NARWP for PES. A person who is granted a permanent visa on or after 1 January 2019 is subject to a 208 week NARWP for PES. A person who was a holder of a permanent visa before 1 January 2019 is subject to a 104 week NARWP for PES.

Note: Different payments have different NARWP periods. The length of the waiting period depends on a person's situation and payment type. A person who has fully served a NARWP for one payment may still be serving a NARWP for other payments. Refer to specific payment guide topics for individual rules.

Exemptions from the NARWP

There are a number of exemptions from the NARWP for PES, and situations where a NARWP does not apply (see for details). These include:

  • Australian citizens
  • refugee, former refugee or a family member of a refugee.

There are also other exemptions specific to other payment types (, FA Guide and PPL Guide 2.4.3).

Example: Yana came to Australia, with her daughter Abla, as a refugee in 2021. As she has not been in Australia for more than 4 years, Yana would have to serve the NARWP for most income support payments and concession cards. However, because she is a refugee under SSAct section 7(6AA), Anna is exempt from the NARWP for all payments and concession cards. She has immediate access to PPS and therefore PES (SSAct section 1061PU(3)) as long as she meets all other eligibility requirements.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PU Newly arrived resident's waiting period, section 7(6) A person has a qualifying residence exemption

Policy reference: SS Guide Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP), Exemptions from the NARWP

Multiple entitlement exclusion

PES is not payable to a recipient who is already receiving a PES under the ABSTUDY scheme.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PW Meaning of multiple entitlement exclusion

Income & assets testing

PES is not subject to any specific income or assets testing.

Explanation: The recipient cannot qualify for PES unless they are already receiving a PES qualifying income support payment. That payment MAY be income and assets tested.

Note: If the PES qualifying income support recipient loses payment because of ordinary income (1.1.O.30) made up entirely or partly of employment income, they remain qualified to be paid PES during the employment income nil rate period.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4A) Despite subsection (4) …, section 23(4AA) For the purposes of subsection (4A) …

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period, Qualification for PES

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