Frequently Asked Questions
Enhanced Income Management
What is enhanced Income Management?
Enhanced Income Management mirrors the policy parameters of Income Management. On enhanced Income Management participants cannot purchase tobacco, pornography, alcohol, cash-like products, or gamble with their income managed funds.
A SmartCard supports enhanced Income Management.
Is enhanced Income Management the same as the former Cashless Debit Card (CDC) program?
No, enhanced Income Management is not the same as the CDC program. Participants who move to enhanced Income Management will experience some differences compared to the CDC program.
- will get a SmartCard
- cannot buy tobacco and pornography
- will not earn interest on the income managed account
- may have a different income managed percentage
Is it compulsory to be on enhanced Income Management?
Participants who were on the CDC and live in the Northern Territory or Cape York and Doomadgee region, will continue to be income managed. They cannot exit the program under the financial capability rule. Participants in the Northern Territory can apply for a 12 month exemption under the same rule.
Who can volunteer for enhanced Income Management?
People in Cape York and Doomadgee, Ceduna, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, East Kimberley and the Goldfields regions can volunteer for enhanced Income Management.
New and existing Income Management participants in the Northern Territory will not go onto enhanced Income Management. They will remain on their Income Management measure with a BasicsCard for now.
You can go to servicesaustralia.gov.au/smartcard or call the SmartCard eIM hotline on 1800 252 604 for more information on how to volunteer.
Will participants income managed percentage change on enhanced Income Management?
Participants in the Northern Territory and volunteers in Ceduna and surrounds, East Kimberley, Goldfields and Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions will have 50 per cent of their payment income managed and 50 per cent paid to their personal account.
The Family Responsibilities Commission will determine the income managed percentage for participants who live in the Cape York and Doomadgee region.
All participants will have 100% of lump sum payments paid to their enhanced Income Management account.
What is a SmartCard?
On enhanced Income Management, participants will get a SmartCard.
A SmartCard is a Visa debit card that is linked to an enhanced Income Management account. Participants will receive their SmartCard from Services Australia or Traditional Credit Union (TCU).
Participants can use their SmartCard:
- to shop online or in store; at over 1 million places with Visa or EFTPOS around Australia
- for tap to pay purchases or mobile payments such as ApplePay and GooglePay
- to set up regular expenses via BPAY and direct debit from their enhanced Income Management account.
To enable tap to pay, participants can either:
- log into their enhanced Income Management online account
- log in through the SmartCard eIM app
- contact Services Australia or TCU
What are the excluded goods and services on enhanced Income Management?
On enhanced Income Management, participants will not be able to use a SmartCard or income managed funds to do any of the following:
- buy tobacco or tobacco products
- buy pornography
- buy alcohol or homebrew kits
- buy giftcards and cash-like products
- get cash out
How can participants get a SmartCards?
Participants can get a SmartCard at select Services Australia service centres or participating Agents.
Participants can get a TCU SmartCard by visiting a TCU branch or contact TCU for help.
Participants can keep using their existing card until they get a SmartCard.
For more information:
- visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/smartcard
- call the SmartCard eIM hotline on 1800 252 604
- call TCU on 1800 828 232
Where can participants get additional support?
There is a range of local support service providers to assist participants including:
- emergency relief
- financial counselling services
- mental health services
- drug and alcohol rehabilitation
- additional family support services
- targeted youth services
Support service directories are available, listing a range of services in each location and can be found at: dss.gov.au/supportservices
The Disability Gateway is a free Australia-wide service to help people with disability, their families and carers find trusted information and services.
Visit www.disabilitygateway.gov.au or call 1800 643 787. The Disability Gateway phone line is available Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm AEDT.
How can participants check their account balance?
There are 5 ways to check your account balance:
- Online by logging in to your account
- Mobile App, download the eIM SmartCard app via the App Store or Google Play
- SMS “BAL XXXX” from your registered mobile where XXXX is the last 4 digits of your card number to 0488 112 114 and receive a reply with your balance
- ATM balance enquiries from participating Westpac and DC Payments ATMs.
- Call the Services Australia SmartCard eIM hotline on 1800 252 604.
There are no fees charged for any methods of balance checking.
Does a SmartCard have tap to pay or contactless capability?
Contactless payments will be “off” by default. Participants can enable tap to pay through their enhanced Income Management online account, through the SmartCard eIM app, or by contacting their card issuer.
When participants tap to pay, they don’t need to enter a PIN for purchases of $100 or less. The maximum value threshold can be temporarily increased from time to time.
For security reasons, participants must make one PIN transaction before they can start to use the contactless functionality.
Can participants in the Northern Territory still choose between card issuers?
Participants who live in the Northern Territory can choose TCU or Services Australia as their SmartCard issuer.
What is happening with Income Management?
The Australian Government is undertaking further community consultation on the future of the Income Management program.
If participants don’t agree with a decision what can they do?
If participants do not understand or agree with a decision relating to any enhanced Income Management measure, they can either:
- ask Services Australia to explain the decision
- apply for a formal review
If Services Australia is reviewing a decision under social security law, enhanced Income Management will continue until the review is finalised.
For more information, see servicesaustralia.gov.au/reviews-and-appeals
Do enhanced Income Management participants get the BasicsCard (green card)?
Participants on enhanced Income Management will get a SmartCard.
This means participants on enhanced Income Management will not receive a BasicsCard, and continue to use their existing card until they receive a SmartCard. Participants will be able to access more merchants, shop online and use BPAY.
Where can participants use the SmartCard?
On enhanced Income Management participants can use a SmartCard at merchants that accept Visa or EFTPOS, including overseas. Participants cannot use a SmartCard to buy excluded goods and services.
Can participants use income managed funds for grocery shopping?
Participants on enhanced Income Management can shop at supermarkets and grocery stores that accept Visa or EFTPOS, and to shop online at Coles and Woolworths.
Can participants shop at any business including online shopping?
Participants on enhanced Income Management can shop at most online shops and websites with the exception of blocked merchants who sell excluded goods and services.
eBay, Gumtree, Amazon, PayPal and Catch.com.au are blocked merchants as they sell excluded goods and services.
In situations where it is not possible to purchase unrestricted goods on enhanced Income Management, contact the SmartCard eIM hotline on 1800 252 604 for assistance.
Can participants build up savings in their enhanced Income Management account?
Participants can build up savings in their enhanced Income Management account to make larger purchases items such as electrical appliances, vehicles or a holiday.
Where can participants get more information?
For more information:
- go to servicesaustralia.gov.au/smartcard
- call the SmartCard eIM hotline on 1800 252 604
- visit a Services Australia Service Centre