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. SpB reviews - quarterly & annual intensive reviews


This topic explains SpB quarterly and annual intensive reviews. This topic covers the following:

  • purpose of SpB reviews
  • information to be recorded
  • quarterly reviews
  • annual intensive reviews
  • file review of entitlement
  • cancellation if available funds limit exceeded
  • review of third party circumstances
  • recipient does not submit review form, and
  • review options.

Purpose of SpB reviews

SpB is ONLY paid when NO alternative form of support is available. Payment can ONLY continue beyond 13 weeks if a review occurs every 13 weeks to ensure that:

  • this is the correct payment
  • no other form of support is available, AND
  • the person CANNOT make alternative arrangements to change the situation which resulted in a need for income support.

A manual review is set if a person's eligibility or need for payment is LESS than 13 weeks.

Act reference: SSAct section 10A(2)-'employment', section 23(1)-'income support payment', section 729A Time limit on qualification for certain recipients of special benefit

Information to be recorded

A delegate reviewing SpB MUST record the following information:

  • if payment is to continue
    • that the SpB review indicates continuing entitlement, AND
    • that the person still satisfies SSAct section 729, AND
    • any change in circumstances, AND
    • the date to which the eligibility end date is to be updated, OR
  • if payment is NOT to continue, the reason.

Quarterly reviews

Depending on the length of time a person is initially identified as needing SpB, a person's claim is identified at grant as either:

  • short term, if the time is LESS than 13 weeks, OR
  • long term if it is 13 weeks or longer.

An SpB review form or a notification to complete an on-line review is automatically issued at:

  • the benefit continuation date plus 10 weeks, AND
  • every 13 weeks thereafter EXCEPT when an annual intensive review is due.

Annual intensive reviews

An annual intensive review is conducted when the recipient has been receiving payment for 12 months. The review must also be conducted for each subsequent 12 months that the recipient remains on payment.

NO review form is automatically issued for these reviews. Instead, Services Australia conducts a review of all the information supplied during the previous 12 months and may request the recipient to provide additional information or clarification of their circumstances. These reviews are not only income or assets (1.1.A.290) reviews, they provide an opportunity to discuss available options with SpB recipients.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(1)-'income'

File review of entitlement

At each review, information is considered to determine ongoing entitlement to payment and confirm whether the person:

  • continues to be entitled to SpB upon review (see example 1), AND
  • is receiving the most appropriate payment (see explanation), AND
  • has changed their income and assets details, AND
  • has changed, or anticipates changing, their
    • reason for payment, AND
    • circumstances (see example 2), AND
  • has had ALL options considered by a delegate (see example 3).

Example 1: Basic qualifications such as hardship and available funds test were met.

Explanation: The person is not entitled to any other payment.

Example 2: In AoS cases, is it reasonable for the person NOT to continue to accept support from the assurer?

Example 3: A social worker or employment service provider.

Cancellation if available funds limit exceeded

Payment is cancelled when available funds exceed either:

  • the equivalent of 2 weeks payment for short term cases, OR
  • $5,000 for long term cases.

Review of third party circumstances

When SpB was granted because a change in a third party's circumstances prevented them from continuing to provide support, a review should establish if the third party can again provide support. Any level of support provided by the third party MUST be established to determine the correct rate.

Recipient does not submit review form

If the review form is NOT submitted and actioned, payment is automatically:

  • suspended 3 weeks after the form was issued, AND
  • cancelled 6 weeks after the form was issued.

Review options

Some options to consider when making a decision about SpB are:

  • assessment by a
    • social worker
    • complex assessments officer, or
    • specialist, and
  • referral to an Employment Service Provider
  • vocational counselling or retraining opportunities, and
  • local community help.

Last reviewed: