- aged 22 years or older and have a job, or
- aged 22 years or older and getting ABSTUDY as a full-time student, or
- aged 25 years or older and getting Austudy as a full-time student, and
- under Age Pension age and meet an income and assets test
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Eligibility and payment rates
Eligibility for Sickness Allowance
To be eligible for Sickness Allowance, you must:
- be 22 years or older and have a job, or
- be 22 years or older and getting ABSTUDY as a full time student, or
- be 25 years or older and getting Austudy as a full time student, and
- be under Age Pension age, and
- meet income and asset test requirements, and
- meet residence requirements
You will need to provide a medical certificate from your doctor and you must have work or study to return to when you are better. Otherwise, you may need to check your eligibility for another Centrelink payment such as Newstart Allowance.
We review your circumstances regularly to ensure that you are getting the correct payment amount. If your or your family circumstances change, this may affect your payment.
Payment rates for Sickness Allowance
The payment rates for Sickness Allowance are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year.
You are not usually paid for the first 7 days for which you are eligible.
Maximum payment rates of Sickness Allowance
|If you are:||Maximum fortnightly payment:|
|single, aged 22 years or older, with no children||$515.60|
|single, aged 22 years or older, with a dependent child (or children)||$557.90|
|single, aged 60 years or older, after nine continuous months on payment||$557.90|
|partnered, under Age Pension age||$465.50 (each)|
Income and assets tests for Sickness Allowance
The amount of Sickness Allowance you get depends on both you and your partner's income and assets. The test that results in the lowest payment rate will apply.
Your income affects the amount of payment you receive. Read more about the income test for Newstart Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Widow Allowance.
An asset is any property or possession you own either partly or in full. It includes assets held outside Australia and debts owing to you:
- See the assets test for homeowners if you own or are buying your home
- See the assets test for non-homeowners if you are renting or boarding
- Payment may be deferred when your liquid assets are $5,500 or more (single), or $11,000 or more (couple or single with dependants)
- Asset Hardship provisions may apply
Residence requirements for Sickness Allowance
To be eligible for Sickness Allowance you must satisfy residence requirements. You must:
- be an Australian resident, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
You must also meet residence requirements on the day you lodge your claim. Generally you will need to be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim.
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
If you are not an Australian resident, but arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport after 26 February 2001 and have lived here continuously for at least 10 years since 26 February 2001, you may qualify for payment of Sickness Allowance for up to 6 months. If you qualify for payment under this exemption, you will not need to serve the 104 week newly arrived resident’s waiting period.
Other benefits while receiving Sickness Allowance
- register an intent to claim
- complete your forms
- complete the supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Sickness Allowance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you don’t have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately don’t tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed if you give us incorrect information about your employment income.
Sickness Allowance while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.
If you leave Australia temporarily, you will only be paid outside Australia for a negotiated period of up to 6 weeks, for the following approved reasons:
- an acute family crisis. For example, to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill
- humanitarian reasons. For example, to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings, or
- eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia
If you have been granted Newstart Allowance under a residence exemption available to certain New Zealand citizens, and your payment stops while you are outside Australia you will not be able to be re-granted payment under the exemption on your return.
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you are leaving Australia and you:
- plan to live in another country
- are travelling on a cruise ship
- are leaving due to an acute family crisis, for medical treatment overseas or for humanitarian reasons, or
- you are receiving payment under a residence exemption available to New Zealand citizens
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia's immigration department when you leave Australia and when you return.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
If you want someone else to handle your Centrelink, Child Support or Medicare business you can authorise them to deal with us on your behalf.
Weekly payment option
You may be eligible to receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly, in certain circumstances.
How much you earn affects your payment. We need to know what you have earned each fortnight so you are paid the right amount.
Information you need to know about your claim
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
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