- aged 22 years or more and have a job, or
- aged 22 years or more and getting ABSTUDY as a full-time student, or
- aged 25 years or more and getting Austudy as a full-time student
- under Age Pension age and meet an income and assets test
Disability Champion Paul’s story
In this Disability Champion video, Paul talks to us about how working part time has helped him gain new skills, friends and confidence.
Eligibility and payment rates
Eligibility for Sickness Allowance
To be eligible for Sickness Allowance, you must:
- be 22 or older and have a job, or
- be 22 or older and getting ABSTUDY as a full-time student, or
- be 25 or older and getting Austudy as a full-time student
- be under Age Pension age
- meet income and asset test requirements
- meet residence requirements
You will need to give us a medical certificate from your doctor and you must have work or study to return to when you are better. Otherwise, you may be eligible 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.
Find out more about Claiming Sickness Allowance.
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 seven days for which you are eligible for Sickness Allowance.
Maximum payment rates of Sickness Allowance
|If you are:||Maximum fortnightly payment:|
|single, aged 22 or more, with no children||$501.00|
|single, aged 22 or more, with a dependent child (or children)||$542.10|
|single, aged 60 or more, after nine continuous months on payment||$542.10|
|partnered, under Age Pension age||$452.30 (each)|
Income and assets tests for Sickness Allowance
The amount of Sickness Allowance you get depends on both you and your partner's (if you have one) income and assets. The test that results in the lowest payment rate will apply.
Your income affects the amount of payment you receive.
|Family situation||Your fortnightly payment reduces by||Your fortnightly payment reduces by||Your fortnightly payment reduces to $0 once your income reaches the maximum amount|
|Single, no children||50 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||$94 plus 60 cents for each dollar you earn over $250||$942.50|
|Single, aged 60 or over and have been receiving payment for at least nine months continuously||50 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||$94 plus 60 cents for each dollar you earn over $250||$1,022.50|
|Single, principal carer, with a dependent child||40 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||40 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||$1,440.25|
|Single, with a dependent child (but not the principal carer)||50 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||$94 plus 60 cents for each dollar you earn over $250||$1,012.17|
|Single principal carer of a dependent child (granted an exemption for foster caring/home schooling/distance education/large family)||50 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||$94 plus 60 cents for each dollar you earn over $250||$1,841.00|
|Couple (each person)||50 cents for each dollar you earn over $62||$94 plus 60 cents for each dollar you earn over $250||$860.00|
In addition, if your partner earns income above $860.00, your payment is reduced by 60 cents for every dollar of income over $860.00.
If a couple is separated because of illness, they each will be paid $542.10 per fortnight.
One member of a couple may be paid $542.10 per fortnight if the other partner is imprisoned.
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 exceed or are $5,500 (if you are single) or $11,000 (if you are a couple or single with dependants)
- 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 six 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.
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
You can authorise another person or organisation to deal with us on your behalf and receive your Centrelink payments under a correspondence or nominee arrangement.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly in certain circumstances.