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. Qualification for certain benefits & PPS advance payments


This topic outlines advance payment qualification guidelines for the following payments:

  • jobseeker payment
  • parenting payment (single)
  • parenting payment (partnered)
  • youth allowance, and
  • austudy payment.

Qualification criteria

To qualify for an advance, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • have a payable social security entitlement, AND
  • have received a social security entitlement for the 3 months immediately before applying for an advance which may include periods covered by the notional continuous period of receipt rules (for example, a recipient may have been receiving YA for 2 months and JSP for one month), AND
  • lodge the application at an office of the department or a place or with a person approved for the purpose by the Secretary, AND
  • must be in Australia when the application is lodged, AND
  • request, and be entitled to, between $250 and $500 in advance, AND
  • NOT have received an advance in the last 12 months if they claimed their last advance after 1 January 1997, except for certain pension PPS (1.1.P.51) recipients, AND
  • NOT owe any money to the Commonwealth that is being recovered, or may be recovered, by repayments from their social security payment, except for certain pension PPS recipients, AND
  • NOT be currently repaying a previous advance, (excluding an FTB, PhA or MOB advance), AND
  • be able to repay the advance without suffering financial hardship.

Some of these criteria are explained in more detail later in this topic. Others are explained in the topics listed in the policy reference below.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security entitlement', section 23(1)-'social security payment', section 38B Notional continuous period of receipt of income support payments, section 1061A Qualification for advance payment, section 1061D(1) to (2) Lodgment of application, section 1061ED Amount of advance payment — pension PP (single), section 1061EE Amount of advance payment — certain other social security payments

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8 Supplementary benefits - qualification & payability, Formula for calculating certain benefits & PPS advance payments, Repayment of advance payments - benefits & pensions

Applications for advance payments

A person may apply for an advance payment of their social security entitlement:

  • in writing (including on-line applications), OR
  • in person, OR
  • by telephone (except Independent under 18 year old YA recipients).

Act reference: SSAct section 1061B Application, section 1061C Form of application, section 1061D Lodgment of application, section 1061E Application may be withdrawn, section 1061EA Secretary to determine application, section 1061EB Payment of advance payment

Duty of care issues

The likelihood of an advance being misused is not a factor in assessing an application for an advance. If a recipient may have a gambling, alcohol or other addiction, consider the following options:

  • referring the recipient to a social worker
  • suggesting that the recipient apply for a smaller advance, or
  • thoroughly assessing expenses, as rejection under hardship may be appropriate.

Young people aged under 18 years receiving the independent rate of YA (except if rurally isolated) are required to have a face-to-face contact before receiving the advance. They can, of course, enquire via the telephone. This will ensure that 'at risk' under 18 year old recipients are accessing advance payments only after having a thorough assessment of their individual circumstances and will ensure that they are fully made aware of the impacts of taking up the offer of an advance.

Advances not payable

While SpB recipients cannot qualify for an advance payment, time spent on this payment counts towards the 3-month qualifying period once a recipient subsequently moves to a payment for which an advance payment is payable.

Advances received in the last 12 months

A person CANNOT qualify for an advance if they received the whole amount, or the first instalment, of an advance in the last 12 months.

Exception: Any PPS recipient who applies for an advance within 28 days of becoming unpartnered may receive an advance regardless of when they received their last advance, as long as they have repaid any earlier advance.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061A(4) to (6) Disqualification—other social security entitlements

Recipients with debts (1.1.D.40) owed to the Commonwealth

Recipients who owe debts to the Commonwealth under SSAct Part 5.2 do NOT qualify for an advance payment. This includes debts that are only recoverable under SSAct Part 5.2 (section 1228), such as debts recovered on behalf of other Government departments.

Example: An Austudy debt being recovered under Part 5.2 disqualifies the applicant for an advance.

Note: Debts under OTHER Commonwealth Acts such as a taxation debt under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 or a child support debt under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 DO NOT preclude the person from receiving an advance.

Act reference: SSAct Part 5.2 Amounts recoverable under this Act, section 1061A(4)(d) Disqualification-other social security entitlements, section 1228 Overpayments arising under other Acts and schemes

Recipients currently repaying a previous advance

Recipients must fully repay an existing advance of an income support payment before another can be granted. Advances of income support payments, however, may be held concurrently with advances of FTB, PhA or MOB.

Note: Outstanding balances of less than 5c will be disregarded for the purposes of determining a recipient's eligibility for a further advance. However, the outstanding balance will be incorporated into the new advanced lump sum balance owed by the recipient.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061A(4)(b) Disqualification—other social security entitlements

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