Welfare Reform

Changes to Income Management

The Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management Reform) Act 2023 (the Act) commenced 4 September 2023.

Three legislative instruments have been made to operationalise changes to enhanced Income Management from 4 September, following the commencement of the Act. The Act requires certain criteria to be defined in legislative instruments to ensure it can effectively operate.

The legislative instruments include operational elements for:

  • voluntary enhanced Income Management participation,
  • state and territory-based referral measures (Supporting People at Risk and Child Protection)
  • compulsory measures (Long Term Welfare Payment Recipient, Disengaged Youth and Vulnerable Welfare Payment Recipient (VWPR) measures) and VWPR Principles.

The new legislative instruments make the enhanced Income Management regime available in existing Income Management locations.

From 4 September 2023, Income Management participants are able to choose to move to enhanced Income Management. Existing Income Management participants who choose to move to the program will receive the same amount of money and there will be no change to the percentage of payment that is income managed.

Newly eligible participants in existing Income Management locations will be placed on the program and have access to the enhanced Income Management account and SmartCard. No new participants will get a BasicsCard.

Specialised Services Australia staff are available to support anyone who’s new to enhanced Income Management and provide tailored support, including with budgeting and paying bills, with the ability to refer people to Financial Information Service Officers or Social Workers for additional support.

More information on the enhanced Income Management program and the SmartCard is available on the Services Australia website.

Income Management participants do not need to do anything yet. Services Australia will send a letter with more information.

Enhanced Income Management

Since 6 March 2023, participants in former Cashless Debit Card (CDC) locations of Ceduna, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, East Kimberley, Goldfields and Cape York and Doomadgee regions have been able to volunteer for enhanced Income Management and get a SmartCard.

For more information about enhanced Income Management, SmartCard or how to volunteer: visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/smartcard, or call the SmartCard eIM hotline on 1800 252 604.

For a summary of participant data, refer to Income Management (IM) and enhanced IM – Participant Data.

Total estimated cost of delivering enhanced Income Management for the period 4 September 2023 to 3 March 2024.

Future of Income Management Consultation

The Australian Government is consulting on the future of Income Management across Australia.

The Department of Social Services (the department) has partnered with First Nations Organisation, ETM Perspectives (ETMP), to lead consultation on the future of Income Management.

For more information on the Future of Income Management Consultation, go to engage.dss.gov.au

Information about the consultation in First Nations languages is available to listen and download.

Last updated: