Asset hardship provisions

You can apply if you're suffering severe financial hardship and your assets reduce your payment or stop you getting one.

We may consider you to be in severe financial hardship if all of the following apply:

  • your total income, including any payment paid under the assets test, is less than the full rate of that payment
  • the funds you can access are less than the readily available funds limit
  • there’s nothing else you can reasonably do to improve your financial position.

Who can apply

If you’re eligible for a pension, we’ll consider you for severe financial hardship if all of the following apply:

  • because of the assets test you’re on a reduced pension or it’s not payable
  • you own an asset which you can’t sell or be reasonably expected to sell
  • you can’t borrow against the asset or be reasonably expected to borrow against it
  • you’d otherwise qualify for a payment under the income test
  • the gifting rules don’t apply or we can disregard them
  • you’re unable to qualify for any other Australian Government help.

If you’re eligible for an allowance or benefit, we’ll consider you for severe financial hardship if all of the following apply:

  • the asset is for sale on the market at a realistic price
  • the assets can’t be sold
  • your allowance or benefit isn’t payable because of the assets test
  • you can’t borrow against the asset
  • you’d otherwise qualify for payment under the income test
  • the gifting rules don’t apply or we can disregard them
  • you’re unable to qualify for any other Australian Government help.

What severe financial hardship is

We consider you to be in severe financial hardship if all of the following apply to you:

  • your readily available funds such as bank accounts, shares and managed investments are less than the readily available funds limit
  • your other income is less than the applicable rate of pension or allowance
  • there’s nothing else you can reasonably do to improve your situation.

What the readily available funds limit is

These amounts are indexed in March and September each year, in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Payment type Readily available funds limits
ABSTUDY
Age Pension
Austudy
Bereavement Allowance
Carer Payment
Disability Support Pension
Special Benefit
Youth Allowance for students

Single $24,551.80

Couples combined $37,013.60

JobSeeker Payment
Parenting Payment partnered
Partner Allowance
Sickness Allowance
Widow Allowance
Youth Allowance for job seekers

Single with no children $14,937.00

Single with children $16,159.00

Single aged 60 or older and on income support for at least 9 months $16,159.00

Couples combined $26,972.40

Parenting Payment for single parents

$20,854.60

How to claim

To apply, you need to complete a Claim for consideration under hardship provisions form. If both you and your partner are applying, you both need to fill in and sign a claim form.

To make a claim follow these steps:

  1. Call the Financial Information Service line and ask us to send the form to you. Don’t forget to ask for 2 forms if you and your partner are going to fill in separate forms.
  2. The form will be sent to you by mail.
  3. Fill in the form.
  4. Return your completed form by either visiting a service centre, by mail or through your Centrelink online account.

What other help is available

You may also want to consider other help such as:

Page last updated: 30 June 2020