Place-Based Income Management

Income management started on 1 July 2012 as part of a trial of new approaches to tackle entrenched disadvantage in the Building Australia’s Future Workforce package. The trial is currently funded to 30 June 2016.

As part of this package, a targeted model of income management has been introducted in five Local Government Areas:

  • Bankstown (New South Wales)
  • Logan (Queensland)
  • Rockhampton (Queensland)
  • Playford (South Australia)
  • Greater Shepparton (Victoria)

Why these locations?

These sites were chosen based on a number of factors including unemployment levels, youth unemployment, skills gaps, the numbers of people receiving welfare payments, and the length of time people have been on income support payments.

Who does it apply to?

In the trial sites, income management may apply to:

  • People who volunteer for income management
  • People assessed by a Centrelink social worker as being vulnerable to financial crisis, which could include people referred by state housing authorities because they are at risk of homelessness due to rental arrears
  • Young people receiving the Unable to Live at Home allowance, Special Benefits, or Crisis Payment (Prison Release), who are automatically put on the vulnerable measure of income management
  • People referred for income management by state child protection authorities

How does it work?

Income management does not change the amount of payment a person receives. It just changes the way that they receive part of their payment. People participating in income management receive the balance of their payments in the usual way.

Income management works by ensuring that part of the person’s payment is allocated to pay for priority items such as food, housing, clothing, utilities, education and medical care. Centrelink assists people on income management to identify their expenses and helps them adjust their allocations as required.

Income management limits expenditure of income support payments on excluded items, including alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and gambling. There is no restriction on how a person can use the proportion of their payments that are not income managed.

What percentage of a person’s Centrelink payment/s is income managed?

A person on income management generally has fifty per cent of their regular income support and family assistance payments income managed. Under child protection income management, seventy per cent of peoples’ income support payments are income managed.

Lump sums and advance payments are one hundred per cent income managed.

How can people spend their money?

People can spend their income managed funds in the following ways:

  • by allocating money to the BasicsCard, which can be spent at various stores for items such as food, clothing, petrol, health and hygiene products
  • asking Centrelink to make payments from their income management account for regular expenses such as rent and bills, school meals programmes
  • asking Centrelink to make one-off payments to stores
  • if their priority needs have been met, people can allocate their income managed funds to other items (as long as they are not excluded items). This means people can plan ahead to buy larger items such as motor vehicles or whitegoods with their income managed funds.

Income managed funds cannot be used to purchase excluded goods, including alcohol, tobacco, pornography, or gambling.

What other support services do people receive?

People who are participating in income management will be offered a free and confidential referral to Financial Wellbeing and Capability services, for financial counselling and money management skills training.

The Government has provided over $12 million to boost Financial Wellbeing and Capability services in these five locations.

Communities for Children services, part of the Australian Government’s Family and Children Programme Activity, are also available in the sites to provide parenting and early childhood support.

Incentives are also available for each measure of income management.

More information

For more information:

  • go to humanservices.gov.au
  • talk to your local Centrelink social worker
  • call the Income Management Line (for customers only) on 1800 132 594

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