Special Benefit

A payment if you’re in severe financial hardship and can’t get other income support from us.

Eligibility basics

  • 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.

Read more about who can get Special Benefit

How much you can get

The amount of Special Benefit you can get depends on your circumstances.

Read more about how much you can get

Income and assets test

Your income and assets determine how much Special Benefit you can get.

Read more about income and assets tests

Residence rules

On the day you claim Special Benefit you must be an Australian resident and in Australia.

Read more about residence rules

Waiting times

You may have to wait to get Special Benefit depending on your situation.

Read more about waiting times


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.

Read more about mutual obligation requirements

Not meeting mutual obligation requirements

Not meeting your mutual obligation requirements as a job seeker can affect your Centrelink Payment.

Read more about not meeting your mutual obligation requirements.

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.

Read more about reviews

Change of circumstances

We need to know about changes that could reduce, increase or stop your Special Benefit payment.

Read more about change of circumstances

While travelling outside Australia

There are rules about when we can pay your Special Benefit while you’re outside Australia.

Read more about Special Benefit while travelling outside Australia

Weekly payment option

Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.

Read more about weekly payments

Income reporting

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.

Read more about income reporting for your main income support payment

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.

Read more about when you reach age pension age

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn


jobactive - helping you get work

Start looking for work now using the jobactive website.

Read about jobactive on the Department of Jobs and Small Business website.

Help in your language

We have a range of translated information in your language.

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

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.

Read more about the Green Army Programme

Page last updated: 22 September 2017