A payment for people aged 22 years or older, but under age pension age, who temporarily can't work or study because of an injury, illness or disability.
- 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
Eligibility & payment rates
To be eligible for Sickness Allowance, you:
- must be 22 years or older, but under age pension age, and have a job or getting ABSTUDY as a full time student, or
- must be 25 years or older, but under age pension age, and getting Austudy as a full time student, and
- must meet income and asset test requirements
- must meet residence requirements
- must provide a medical certificate from your doctor stating you can’t work or study
- may need to serve a waiting period
- must have work or study to return to when you’re better
Otherwise, you may need to check your eligibility for another income support payment such as Newstart Allowance.
We review your circumstances regularly to make sure you’re getting the right payment amount. If your or your family’s circumstances change, this may affect your payment.
The payment rates for Sickness Allowance are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year.
Maximum payment rates of Sickness Allowance
|If you're:||Maximum fortnightly payment:|
|single, aged 22 years or older but under age pension age, with no children||$528.70|
|single, aged 22 years or older but under age pension age, with dependent children||$571.90|
|single, aged 60 years or older but under age pension age, after 9 continuous months of payment||$571.90|
Income and assets tests are used to work out your payment rate. The test resulting in the lowest payment rate will apply.
Your first payment may be delayed when your liquid assets are $5,500 or more if you’re single, or $11,000 or more if you’re a member of a couple or single with dependants.
If you’re experiencing severe financial hardship and have little or no entitlement to a payment, Asset Hardship provisions may apply.
To be eligible for Sickness Allowance, you need to satisfy residence requirements. You must:
- be an Australian resident
- be physically present in Australia on the day you submit your claim, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
If you're a non-protected Special Category Visa holder, you may access a once only payment of either:
At the time of making a claim, you must have been living in Australia continuously for at least 10 years. Time spent in Australia before 27 February 2001 can't count towards these 10 years. If you're eligible, payment is made for a maximum continuous period of up to 6 months.
Once you’ve read about eligibility, the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- choose your claiming option
- provide supporting documents
- submit your claim
- we assess your claim and let you know the outcome.
Managing your payment
If you’re getting a payment tell us when your circumstances change. For example:
- 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
If you don’t tell us about the changes within 14 days, your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid and have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately don't tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud. A recovery fee may be imposed if you give us incorrect information about your employment income.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Sickness Allowance.
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.
Sickness Allowance can’t be paid to people who are over age pension age. You should apply to transfer to Age Pension to see if you’re eligible.
Read more about how to transfer to Age Pension.
In certain circumstances you may be eligible to get your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly.
How much you or your partner earn affects your payment. We need to know what you and your partner earn each fortnight so you're paid the right amount.
There is support to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Select the options that describe your circumstances, then explore a 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.