Crisis Payment

A one off payment if you’re in difficult or extreme circumstances.

Eligibility basics

  • are eligible for an income support payment from us
  • have severe financial hardship
  • have an extreme life change such as leaving a violent relationship, getting out of jail or being a refugee, or
  • go through a natural disaster not covered by the Disaster Recovery

Eligibility & payment rates

Who can get it

Crisis Payment can help if you:

  • get out of jail
  • are experiencing family and domestic violence
  • have been in prison or psychiatric confinement for 14 days
  • have severe financial hardship
  • are a Humanitarian entrant in Australia for the first time
  • go through a natural disaster not covered by the Disaster Recovery Payment
  • are eligible for an income support payment - not including Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Benefit

If you get Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Benefit, you must also get another income support payment to be eligible for a crisis payment.

Other rules to meet

You must meet residence rules.

You must apply or make an intent to claim within 7 days of your crisis.

Who can’t get it

You can’t get Crisis Payment if you’ve received a Disaster Recovery Payment or another disaster relief payment for the same event.

Severe financial hardship

You’re in severe financial hardship if you’re:

  • single and your funds total less than 2 weeks of the highest rate of your income support payment
  • part of a couple and your funds total less than 4 weeks of the highest rate of your income support payment

Help in an emergency

Each disaster is different so the timing and type of financial help varies.

If you only got in-kind help, like new electrical goods or food, you can still claim for Crisis Payment.

Read more about how we help in an emergency.

How much you can get and how often

This one off payment is equal to a week’s pay at your existing income support payment rate.

It doesn’t include extra allowances or supplements.

How often you can claim

The number of times you can get Crisis Payment depends on the reason you’re making the claim. If you:

  • have arrived in Australia on a refugee or humanitarian visa, you can only claim once
  • are a released prisoner you can claim each time you leave prison - you must be in custody for more than 14 days and remain eligible for an income support payment each time you claim
  • are going through extreme circumstances, you can get up to 4 payments over 12 months

Residence rules

On the day you claim Crisis Payment you must meet the residence rules of your income support payment and:

  • be in Australia when the event occurred and when you submit your claim, or
  • have returned to Australia and claimed within 7 days of being released from a prison outside Australia


Check if you’re eligible before you start your claim.


  • find out what you need before you start your claim
  • fill in your claim form
  • submit the form and other documents we ask for
  • wait for us to assess your claim and tell you the result




We can help you if you are going through family and domestic violence or extreme circumstances.

We’ll help you get Crisis Payment and access:

Help in your language

We have a range of translated information in your language.

We provide free interpreters and translation of documents needed to access our payments and services.

Call our Multilingual Phone Service to speak with a skilled bilingual service officer about Centrelink payments and services.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money


We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Page last updated: 27 August 2017