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.

4.14.1 Overview of special disability trusts


This section contains general information on the measure that has effect from 20 September 2006. A special disability trust is a trust established primarily for succession planning by parents and immediate family members for the future care and accommodation needs of a person with severe disability.

'Special' refers to the social security treatment of the trust and is not a reference to the principal beneficiary's disability.

Characteristics of special disability trusts

Before the means test concessions can be granted, a trust must legally exist. In general, for a trust to then be considered a 'special disability trust', it must meet the following requirements:

  • the principal beneficiary (also known as beneficiary) must have a severe disability
  • have only one principal beneficiary (i.e. the person for whom the trust is established)
  • the primary purpose must be to provide for the care and accommodation needs of the principal beneficiary
  • have a trust deed, or be established via a will, that contains all of the compulsory clauses set out in the model trust deed (for trusts established before 20 September 2006, the trustee can be issued with a waiver notice for certain requirements)
  • have more than one trustee OR a professional trustee
  • comply with the legislative requirements
  • provide annual financial statements and a statutory declaration to Centrelink or DVA, and
  • conduct independent audits when required.

Act reference: SSAct section 1209M Beneficiary requirements, section 1209Q Trustee requirements, section 1209R Trust property requirements, section 1209S Reporting requirements, section 1209T Audit requirements, section 1209U Waiver of contravention of this Division

Social Security (Special Disability Trust) Guidelines 2021

Policy reference: SS Guide Waivers for special disability trusts, 4.14.2 Eligibility of the principal beneficiary of a special disability trust

Last reviewed: