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. Claim lodgement - general provisions

General rule

As a general rule, a claim for a payment must be:

  • in writing (includes by electronic means)
  • in an approved form
  • completed
  • signed by the claimant and if relevant, their partner, and
  • lodged in a manner approved by the Secretary (including by electronic means, in person or by mail delivered to a specified place).

The Secretary may approve a different manner and form of a claim.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 16 How to make a claim

Place of lodgement

As a general rule, claims must be made in Australia. To meet this requirement, a claimant must be in Australia on the day the claim is lodged or the day the claim is taken to be made. The Secretary may approve lodgement outside Australia of claims under international social security agreements (1.1.A.120).

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 29 General rule

Completing claim forms

All necessary questions in the claim form MUST be answered. A claim form may specify that a form, document or other attachment needs to be provided with the claim form. A claim is complete and can be lodged when the required documentation specified in the claim and within the claimant's control is included with the claim. Different arrangements apply for a vulnerable claimant (see below).

A document specified in the claim is generally regarded as being within the claimant's control. However, Services Australia may determine on a case by case basis that a document is not within the claimant's control.

A document not already held by a claimant that may readily be obtained from a third party is generally regarded as being within the claimant's control. An example is an employment separation certificate.

An example of a document from a third party regarded as being outside the claimant's control is obtaining medical evidence from a treating doctor or specialist.

The provision of a document that is outside the claimant's control does not affect the day on which a claim is regarded as being complete for the purposes of setting the day the claim is made. Also, the provision of additional documentation not specified in the claim but requested separately does not affect the claim day. The provision of such information may be needed before Services Australia is able to assess the claim, which means the day the claim is determined may be delayed. However, the day the claim is made remains the day the claimant provides the required documentation specified in the claim and within the claimant's control.

Note: The online claim process assists a claimant to ensure that all of the required documentation is provided before the claim can be lodged.

A claim is made once it has been lodged. The manner in which a claim may be lodged may be restricted to online/electronic or postal lodgement. Vulnerable claimants and people with special circumstances may be able to lodge in an alternative manner after contacting Services Australia.

Notations, underlining or comments of any sort should NOT be made by staff on any claim form signed by a claimant and lodged with Services Australia. This also applies to statements, correspondence and other documents received which may be required later as evidence in proceedings.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 16 How to make a claim

Vulnerable claimant

A person in vulnerable circumstances who has a genuine difficulty in providing documentation with a claim is able to lodge the claim and provide any required documentation subsequently. The actual claim day is the claim lodgement day, and the deemed claim day (under the intent to claim provisions) is the contact day where applicable (

When a person in vulnerable circumstances contacts Services Australia in relation to a claim, Services Australia is able to change the usual claim process, including for an online claim, to enable the claim to be lodged without the usual documentation being included. This allows the claim process to be finalised as quickly as possible following the initial contact.

Generally, the documentation will need to be provided within 14 days after the claim is lodged. However, a longer period will apply where Services Australia is satisfied this is required for reasons beyond the claimant's control, determined on a case by case basis.

Claimants unable to sign due to lack of literacy or English

Claimants who CANNOT sign their name in English can print their name in block letters or use the script of their native language. Claimants who are unable to sign in English must have their mark witnessed by a person who can confirm their identity.

An interpreter should assist claimants from non-English speaking backgrounds who experience difficulty completing a claim form.

Claimants with disability

Claimants unable to complete a claim form because of a disability may have the form completed on their behalf by a responsible person, preferably a relative or friend, who knows of their circumstances. If the claimant is not present when the claim is lodged, arrangements must be made to verify their existence by a visit to their place of residence or contact with a person responsible for their care.

Example: Claimants with an intellectual or physical disability.

Details of the person who completed the form should be included on the claim form, and both they and the claimant must sign the claim form once it has been completed. If the claimant is unable to sign they:

  • make a mark and the person should witness the mark, OR
  • provide (or have provided on their behalf) verification from a medical practitioner or health professional that they are unable to sign.

If another person has completed a claim, nominee (1.1.N.80) arrangements should be considered.

Withdrawing a claim

A claimant can withdraw a claim that has not been determined. Staff should ensure that the claimant fully understands the consequences of withdrawing the claim.

The SS(Admin)Act allows claims to be withdrawn in any manner approved by the Secretary. Currently claims may be withdrawn orally or in writing.

Whenever a claim is withdrawn the delegate must be satisfied of the claimant's identity.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 33 Right to withdraw, section 34 Manner of withdrawal

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