Who can get it

You may get Special Benefit if you aren’t eligible for any other income support. You’ll need to meet some rules.

Rules for not being eligible for other income support

To get Special Benefit you must not be eligible for any other income support payment.

You may not be eligible for another income support payment because:

  • you haven’t lived in Australia long enough
  • you’re the holder of a temporary visa
  • you’re an Australian resident younger than 16.

What the rules are for claiming Special Benefit for a child

You may be the parent or guardian of a child and can’t get any other income support payment. If this is the case, you may be able to get Special Benefit for your child.

You must meet some rules. You can claim Special Benefit for a child if all of the following apply:

  • you can’t get any income or family support payments because you’re not a permanent resident
  • your child is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • you have custody
  • you’re in severe financial hardship.

Rules for severe financial hardship

You’re in severe financial hardship if all of the following apply:

  • you have less than $5,000
  • your income is less than the Special Benefit fortnightly payment
  • you can’t improve your financial position.

To get Special Benefit you’ll need to meet the income and assets test and all eligibility rules.

Changes to rules due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Due to COVID-19 we’ve made changes to some rules for Special Benefit. You may get it if you meet 1 of these:

  • you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident under 16
  • you haven’t lived in Australia long enough to qualify for Age Pension or Disability Support Pension
  • you’re the holder of an eligible temporary visa.

Eligible temporary visas include any of the following:

  • Humanitarian visas, subclasses 785, 786, 790 and 449
  • partner visas, subclass 309, 820
  • bridging visas, subclasses 060 and 070.

We’ve temporarily removed the newly arrived resident’s waiting period due to COVID-19. Read more about upcoming changes if you get a payment.

If you’ve been financially affected by COVID-19

If you’re financially affected by COVID-19, you may be able to get up to $10,000 of your super early. Read more about COVID-19 early release of super on the ATO website. You can apply through ATO online services.

Page last updated: 7 September 2020