Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period (NARWP) for Welfare Payments in Australia
If you are a new entrant with a relevant visa and are entitled to welfare payments in Australia, did you know you may have some waiting period before you are entitled to claim these benefits?
It wasn’t always the case, but it all changed at the end of 2017 when the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook made three key changes that affect how migrants get access to government services.
The three changes to the welfare payments wait period are:
1. A three-year wait for access to key payments including Family Tax Benefit, Paid Parental Leave and Carer Allowance.
2. The extension of the two years waiting period for Newstart and Youth Allowance from two years to three years.
3. The extension of the ‘Assurance of Support’ requirement. To back up a family visa application, someone can agree to financially back a migrant for two years, and this period has now been extended to three years.
It all kicked off on 1 July 2017, with the aim of saving the government over a billion dollars over the next few years.
The migrants most affected are the working-age people and migrants who may be eligible for payments like Austudy, Sickness Allowance and Special Benefit. Everyone sitting in a ‘waiting period’ will not be paid any of that benefit for the duration, even if they otherwise qualify.
Read the earlier article on CENTRELINK WELFARE PAYMENTS
Some Q&A on the welfare payments wait period in Australia:
Q: Are these waiting periods new?
A: No. Waiting periods were introduced for some payments by a Labor government in 1993, but it was only 26 weeks. The subsequent Coalition government extended it to 104 weeks in 1997, and included other payments as well.
Q: When does the waiting period start?
A: The waiting period begins either on the date of arrival in Australia or the date on which permanent residency was granted – whichever is later.
Q: Are any migrants exempt?
A: Yes. The group not subject to the waiting period includes refugees, humanitarian entrants, and some single parents.
Q: What about pensioners?
A: If a migrant is applying for the Age Pension, they must have lived in Australia for at least ten years. It’s the same for those applying for the Disability Support Pension.
Q: What about permanent migrants?
A: If the migrant is a permanent Australian resident, the waiting periods do not apply for many payments including Family Tax Benefit.
USEFUL RESOURCES RELATING TO WELFARE PAYMENTS IN AUSTRALIA
Information for migrants, refugees and visitors: LINK
Eligibility for payments: LINK
Updates about living in Australia: LINK
News for migrants: LINK
Information about the waiting periods: LINK
Accessing help: LINK
MIGRANT NINJA TIP – In the 2018-19 Budget, the Government announced more changes to the Wait Period for Welfare Payments in Australia. The proposal is that Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period (NARWP) should be further extended. Pending the passage of legislation, the NARWP will be extended to four years for a number of welfare payments, including Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Family Tax Benefit and the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.