Liquid Assets waiting period
If you have savings or other liquid assets over $5,499 you will have up to a maximum of 13 weeks to serve a Liquid Assets Waiting Period. That is, your first payment will be delayed. Make sure you apply as soon as possible so that you can start serving any waiting period sooner rather than later.
What is a liquid asset?
Liquid assets are funds you can access at short notice (i.e., within 28 days) and include:
- Money in the bank, including term deposits or other money deposited (but not balances of redraw accounts);
- Shares and debentures;
- Loans you have made to other people;
- Some amounts due from a former employer; and
- Trust funds probably aren’t liquid assets, but it is a good idea to attach information about this anyway to avoid any potential future overpayment.
How long will you have to wait?
If you are single then your payment will be delayed 1 week for every $500 you have above $5,000. The maximum period you can be made to wait is 13 weeks. Fractions are rounded down. For example, if you have $5,600 you would wait one week. If you are part of a Youth Allowance or Austudy Couple these amounts double. While you are waiting you can work and any income you earn in a waiting period won’t affect your payment, unless it is high enough to otherwise cut you off from payments.
Reducing the waiting period
You only need to declare the liquid assets you have at the time of claiming. Your waiting period could be made shorter if you legitimately spend money (liquid asset) before you make a claim. You run risks of overpayments and being charged with fraud if you hide money to get Youth Allowance or Austudy earlier. They will look at your bank accounts and may notice if you have suddenly withdrawn large amounts of money just prior to claiming without explanation, particularly if that money suddenly bounces back into your account after your claim is processed.
1. Disregarded amounts
If you are a full-time tertiary student, you can disregard money you need to spend in that year to cover reasonable course costs such as:
- Student Services Amenities Fee;
- Up-front course fees & HECS payments;
- Student association fee;
- Text books;
- Equipment costs, including computer software and hardware;
- Field trip expenses; and
- Study abroad costs.
The value of this future expenditure is disregarded and in effect subtracted from your total declared liquid assets. There is a question in the application form about “immediate study expenses”. This is where you can declare these costs to Centrelink. Proceeds from the sale of your home, if you are going to buy another one within 12 months of the sale, are also disregarded as part of your liquid assets.
2. Being exempt
If you are transferring from another payment within a 14 day period, you are exempt from the waiting period. If you have already served a Liquid Assets Waiting Period at any time in the last 12 months you are also exempt.
3. Severe Financial Hardship
If during a Liquid Assets Waiting Period, you experience severe financial hardship due to reasonable and unavoidable expenditure then the waiting period may be waived in full or part. You are deemed to be in hardship at the point when your current level of liquid assets is less than the maximum fortnightly amount of any Youth Allowance or Austudy you would be payable. This amount is doubled if you a part of a Youth Allowance Couple. Advise Centrelink when this happens. You will need to show that you have spent your liquid assets on reasonable and unavoidable expenditures, including: <SAME with these bullet points>
- rent or mortgage payments;
- medical expenses;
- bills including rates, water, gas, electricity and telephone;
- public transport;
- other unavoidable or reasonable expenditure include spending on:
- cost of repairs or replacement to essential whitegoods at home;
- school expenses (for your dependent children);
- funeral expenses;
- essential expenses arising from the birth or adoption of a child;
- expenditure to replace uninsured goods stolen or destroyed;
- costs of insurance for or essential repairs to car or home;
- car registration; or
- essential medical expenses
- or anything else reasonable in the circumstances.
These don’t necessarily need to be justified with receipts, but a list will be needed.
Applying for a payment
As soon you know that you want to apply for a Centrelink payment you should lodge an “intent to claim”. You can do this by phoning 13 24 90 or by going to the Centrelink portal. After you have lodged your “intent to claim” you have 14 days to submit the necessary documents. If your payment is approved, it will usually be back-paid to the day you lodged your “intent to claim”. Remember to keep copies of everything you give Centrelink. When speaking to Centrelink staff on the phone or in person, ask them for a receipt number. Email that, together with a short description of what you spoke about, to yourself, so you have a record in case you ever need it.
Need more help or advice?
If you need more advice about your specific situation contact an SRC Caseworker by completing the contact form (below) or call 9660 5222 and our reception team will complete the contact form with you.
Caseworker Contact Form
This information does not constitute legal advice. Seek qualified professional advice before making decisions about educational, financial, migration or legal matters. This information can change from time to time. Check for the most up-to-date information. Do not accept verbal advice by itself from any source including Centrelink. Get a decision in writing. Without this subsequent appeals or backdating are at risk.
Information updated on 27/02/23