Recipients may be qualified for a particular payment or benefit, but may have to serve a waiting period before they can be paid. Subject to qualification for the payment or benefit, the recipient can be paid from the expiration of the waiting period. There are a number of different waiting and preclusion periods that may or may not apply to a particular payment or benefit.
Explanation: Waiting and preclusion periods are generally applied because recipients are expected to use their funds to support themselves, before receiving Government support.
Example: Money in the bank and/or lump sum payments received on termination of employment are examples of funds a recipient would be expected to use first.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'waiting period'
If more than one waiting period applies to a recipient, the payment or benefit is not payable until ALL the waiting periods have ended. In these cases, the waiting periods are served concurrently and the end date is the day on which the longest period ends.
Specific details about which waiting periods apply to a particular payment or benefit, and their relationship with any non-payment or rate reduction periods are located in the relevant payment or benefit topic in Part 3.
Policy reference: SS Guide 126.96.36.199 Liquid Assets Waiting Period, 188.8.131.52 Treatment of Liquid Assets, 184.108.40.206 Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period, 220.127.116.11 Ordinary Waiting Period, 18.104.22.168 Other Waiting Periods for NSA & YA
Some payments or benefits are also subject to the IMP. This is not a waiting period, although recipients subject to the IMP may incur periods of non-payment. The IMP is explained further in the referenced topic.
Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.4 Income Maintenance Period
Recipients in severe financial hardship (1.1.S.125) can have certain waiting or preclusion periods waived, in part or full, as indicated in the following table:
Name of Period
Details of Waiver
|Liquid assets waiting period||
Part or full
Ordinary waiting period
The recipient may claim for a waiver on severe financial hardship grounds, at claim or while serving a waiting period. The waiver should take effect from the date the recipient claimed severe financial hardship.
These provisions also apply to NSA incapacitated recipients. The claim can then be backdated to date of incapacity if the backdating provisions are met.
Unavoidable or reasonable expenditure by a recipient serving a waiting period includes the day-to-day cost of living, (referred to as the reasonable cost of living) for that part of the waiting period already served, plus other unavoidable or reasonable expenditure.
A recipient's reasonable cost of living does not have to be justified with receipts. The reasonable cost of living is an amount deemed by the delegate to be appropriate to the recipient's circumstances. The deemed amount cannot be exceeded.
Reasonable cost of living is capped at what the recipient would receive had they not been serving the waiting period. Therefore, income can reduce the amount allowed for a recipient's reasonable cost of living.
Act reference: SSAct section 598(5) If the Secretary is satisfied that the person is in severe financial hardship…
Recipients can be exempted from some waiting periods in specified circumstances. Reasons for exemption are explained in the referenced topic.
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 Exemptions from Waiting Periods
Last reviewed: 12 August 2013