Telephone Allowance

Purpose of Payment

To assist with the cost of maintaining a telephone service.


Telephone Allowance is payable to telephone subscribers who are in Australia and are:

  • receiving Disability Support Pension (under 21 years of age without children), Parenting Payment (single), or
  • receiving a social security benefit, including Widow Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Partner Allowance, Parenting Payment (partnered), or Special Benefit, provided they are at least 60 years of age and have been receiving a social security pension or benefit continuously for the previous 9 months; or
  • receiving a Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (job seeker) and who have a partial capacity to work; or who is a single principle carer; or
  • certain recipients in other circumstances.

A telephone subscriber is a person who has a telephone line or mobile phone service connected in either their or their partner’s name.


There are two rates of Telephone Allowance – a standard rate and a higher rate.

The higher rate of Telephone Allowance is payable to recipients of Disability Support Pension who are under 21 years of age without children, if they or their partner have a home internet connection.

The standard rate applies to all other eligible recipients.

Telephone Allowance is automatically paid quarterly on the customer's first payment delivery day after 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September each year.

Telephone Allowance is indexed on 20 September each year in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Pension Supplement recipients and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders:
As of 20 September 2009, Telephone Allowance is not paid as a separate allowance to recipients of the Pension Supplement or to holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Telephone Allowance is incorporated in the Pension Supplement which is automatically paid to pensioners and other eligible income support recipients with their regular fortnightly payment.

Telephone Allowance (higher rate) is incorporated in the Seniors Supplement (together with the former Seniors Concession Allowance) which is paid to eligible Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders in quarterly instalments.

Further information

For more information on the following topics please click on the topic.

Additional information about Telephone Allowance, the Pension Supplement or the Seniors Supplement can also be obtained from the Department of Human Services on 13 2300 or from the Department of Human Services website.

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