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 pension advance payments


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

  • age pension
  • disability support pension, and
  • carer payment.

This topic does not apply to PPS.

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 DSP for 2 months and Age 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, an advance amount between the minimum pension advance amount and the maximum pension advance applicable to the person's relationship status, AND
  • NOT owe any money to the Commonwealth that is being recovered, or may be recovered, by repayments from their social security payment, AND
  • NOT have received an advance whether as a lump sum or in instalments more than 12 months ago which has not been fully repaid, 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 SS Guide topics referenced 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 1061D(1) to (2) Lodgment of application, section 1061A Qualification for advance payment, section 1061ECA Amount of advance payment — age and disability support pensions and CP, section 1061A(3) Disqualification — age and disability support pensions and CP

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8 Supplementary benefits - qualification & payability, Formula for calculating certain pension 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.

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.

Advances not payable

While recipients cannot qualify for an advance while they are receiving special benefit, periods where they received special benefit count towards the 3-month qualifying period.

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 age pension 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 disqualify the person from receiving an advance.

Act reference: SSAct Part 5.2 Amounts recoverable under this Act, section 1061A(3)(c) Disqualification — age and disability support pensions and CP, section 1228 Overpayments arising under other Acts and schemes

Recipients currently repaying a previous advance

Recipients must fully repay an existing advance, whether as a lump sum or in instalments more than 12 months ago, 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.

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