Asset Hardship provisions

If you are in severe financial hardship and have little or no entitlement to a payment, you can apply to be paid under the Asset Hardship provisions.

You are considered to be in severe financial hardship if:

  • your total income (including any payment paid under the assets test) is less than the maximum rate of that payment
  • your readily available funds are less than the allowable limit
  • there is no other course of action which you could be expected to take to improve your financial position.

Note: the applicable allowable limit varies by payment type.

Rate of payment under the hardship provisions

The rate payable depends on each individual case. It is calculated using a special formula.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for a hardship payment if:

For pensions:

  • your pension is reduced or not payable because of the assets test
  • you own an asset which you cannot sell or be reasonably expected to sell
  • you cannot borrow against the asset or be reasonably expected to borrow against the asset
  • you are in severe financial hardship because of the assets test
  • you would otherwise qualify for payment under the income test, and
  • gifting provisions do not apply or can be disregarded.

For allowances and benefits:

  • your allowance or benefit is not payable because of the assets test
  • you own an asset which you cannot sell
  • you cannot borrow against the asset
  • the asset is on the market to be sold at a realistic price
  • you are unable to qualify for any other Australian Government assistance
  • you are in severe financial hardship because of the assets test
  • you would otherwise qualify for payment under the income test, and
  • gifting provisions do not apply or can be disregarded.

Allowable limits for Asset Hardship provisions by payment type

ABSTUDY
Age Pension
Austudy
Bereavement Allowance
Carer Payment
Disability Support Pension
Special Benefit
Widow B Pension
Wife Pension, and
Youth Allowance (Students)

 

The allowable limit of readily available funds are:

  • Single - $21,504.60
  • Couples (combined) - $32,416.80

Newstart Allowance
Parenting Payment (partnered)
Partner Allowance
Sickness Allowance
Widow Allowance, and
Youth Allowance (Job Seeker)

The allowable limit of readily available funds are:

  • Single (no children) - $13,247
  • Single (with children) - $14,333.80
  • Single (aged 60 plus and on income support for a minimum of nine months) - $14,495
  • Couples (combined) - $23,920

Parenting Payment (single)

The limit for Parenting Payment (single) is $18,501.60

Note: these amounts are annual limits and current as at 20 March 2013 and will be indexed twice yearly in line with indexation in March and September each year.

Claiming

You will need to complete a Claim for consideration under hardship provisions form for a pension, allowance or benefit.

Note: where both members of a couple are applying for payment under the hardship provisions, each person must claim in their own right. This can be done by each completing separate forms or completing one claim form with both partners’ details provided.

Other assistance available

The Pension Loans Scheme is a voluntary arrangement that provides income support for a short or indefinite period. It is a regular fortnightly pension payment to supplement or top-up a reduced pension entitlement.