A payment if you’re in severe financial hardship and can’t get other income support from us.
- in severe financial hardship for reasons beyond your control
- unable to earn enough to support yourself and your family
- unable to get another income support payment
Eligibility & payment rates
Who can get it
You can get Special Benefit if you're in severe financial hardship.
How much you can get
The amount of Special Benefit you can get depends on your circumstances.
Income and assets test
Your income and assets determine how much Special Benefit you can get.
On the day you claim Special Benefit you must be an Australian resident and in Australia.
You may have to wait to get Special Benefit depending on your situation.
Check if you’re eligible before you start your claim.
- find out what you need before you start
- 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
Managing your payment
Mutual obligation requirements
There are things you must do to keep getting income support and have a better chance of finding work.
If you don't meet your mutual obligation requirements
Not meeting your mutual obligation requirements as a job seeker can affect your Centrelink Payment.
Try self service
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
Read more about using self service.
We review your Special Benefit to make sure you’re still eligible and getting the right amount.
Change of circumstances
We need to know about changes that could reduce, increase or stop your Special Benefit payment.
While travelling outside Australia
There are rules about when your Special Benefit can be paid when you travel outside Australia.
Weekly payment option
Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.
How much you or your partner earn affects your payment. We need to know what you and your partner earn so we pay you the right amount.
When you reach age pension age
When you reach age pension age, you may still get Special Benefit if you're not eligible for Age Pension.
My bank account is overdrawn
You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.
jobactive - helping you get work
jobactive is a service that helps connect you with employers and find work.
Read about jobactive on the Department of Employment website.
Help in your language
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 get from us.
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.
Regular deductions using Centrepay
You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.
Read more about how Centrepay works.
Green Army Programme
Provides training and work experience in environment and heritage conservation for young Australians while generating environmental benefits.