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3.8.12 SCA - Qualification & Payability


Note: From 20 September 2009 SCA was replaced by the seniors supplement ( The final instalment of SCA was paid in September 2009. The information below is therefore the historical qualification and payability requirements which related to the SCA.



This topic explains the qualification and payability requirements for the SCA through the following related issues:

  • SCA test day,
  • qualification criteria,
  • payability criteria,
  • overseas absences,
  • election by CSHC holder not to receive payment,
  • limit of instalment payments in financial year,
  • provision of bank account details, and
  • retrospective CSHC grants.


SCA test day

SCA test days are 20 March, 20 June, 20 September and 20 December each year. Qualification and payability provisions are applied to CSHC holders on each SCA test day and if met, SCA will be paid as soon as practicable on or after the SCA test day.


Act reference: SSAct section 1061UA When seniors supplement is payable


Qualification criteria

To qualify for SCA, a person must be:

  • the holder of a CSHC and in Australia, OR
  • temporarily absent from Australia for a continuous period not exceeding 13 weeks and was the holder of a CSHC immediately before departing Australia.


Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZG Qualification rules, section 1061U Qualification for seniors supplement


Payability criteria

SCA is payable to a CSHC holder if they meet the SCA qualification criteria on a SCA test day. However, the CSHC holder may be qualified to receive SCA, but SCA will NOT be payable if:

  • the CSHC holder has elected not to receive SCA and has not withdrawn that election, or
  • the CSHC holder has not provided their bank account details as requested.


SCA is payable to a CSHC holder under the SSAct if they meet the SCA qualification criteria on a SCA test day. However, the CSHC holder may be qualified to receive SCA, but SCA will NOT be payable if SCA is paid under the VEA.


Act reference: SSAct section 1061UA When seniors supplement is payable, section 1061T Qualification for utilities allowance


Overseas absences

SCA is not payable for any SCA test day after a CSHC holder departs Australia permanently.


When a SCA test day occurs during a period of temporary absence, SCA is payable for that test day if the CSHC holder has been overseas for no longer than 13 weeks and they held a CSHC immediately before leaving Australia.

Example 1: Absent from Australia for more than 13 weeks

Mrs Andrews is going overseas from 1 May 2009 to 30 December 2009. On 31 July 2009, 13 weeks after her date of departure, her card will be cancelled. Therefore she will receive the instalment of SCA for 20 June 2009. As her card was cancelled on 31 July 2009 she will need to reclaim it when she returns to Australia.


Example 2: Absent from Australia for less than 13 weeks

Mrs Grant goes overseas from 26 August 2009 to 30 September 2009. As she is not away for 13 weeks her entitlement remains current. Mrs Grant will be entitled to receive the 20 September 2009 SCA instalment.


Act reference: SSAct section 1061UA When seniors supplement is payable


Election NOT to receive SCA

A CSHC holder may elect NOT to receive SCA for any reason. An election not to receive SCA can be made to Centrelink either in person, in writing (a short signed statement) or by telephone. The CSHC holder is not required to provide a reason for electing not to receive the payment. On a SCA test day, a CSHC holder who has an election recorded cannot be paid SCA. Where a CSHC holder withdraws an election they had previously made, SCA becomes payable from the next available SCA test day. SCA is NOT paid for any SCA test days that had occurred while the election was in force.


Limit of instalments

Prior to 20 March 2008, there was a limit of 2 UA or SCA instalments in a financial year. From 20 March 2008, UA and SCA have the same test days, so there is no longer a limit to the numbers of instalments in a financial year.


Provision of bank account details

If a CSHC holder has been requested to provide their bank account details (for payment of SCA or TAL) and they have not done so, SCA is not payable.


Retrospective CSHC grants

A claim for the CSHC may be lodged before a SCA test day but not processed until after the test day. If the CSHC is granted from the date of claim, eligibility for SCA should be established providing entitlement to the CSHC was maintained on the test day.


Policy reference: SS Guide Seniors Concession Allowance (SCA) - Description, Qualification for CSHC


Last reviewed: 12 November 2012


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Last Edited: 31/01/2013 3:02:33 PM

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