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3.12.3 Extreme Circumstances Causing Departure from the Home


Last updated 21 December 2006

Criteria for extreme circumstances

A person applying for a crisis payment due to extreme circumstances must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • has left or cannot return home because of an extreme circumstance,
  • cannot reasonably be expected to remain in, or return to the home because of the extreme circumstance,
  • has established or intends to establish a new home,
  • was in Australia when the extreme circumstance occurred,
  • claims the crisis payment within seven days of the extreme circumstance occurring,
  • on the day of the claim is receiving or has made a claim for (on that day or earlier) and is eligible for an income support pension and is eligible to receive payment on that day, and
Extreme circumstances categories

Extreme circumstances fall into two categories:

  • domestic or family violence, and
  • other extreme circumstances.
Persons unable to live in or return to their home for legal reasons

Legal reasons may be considered to be an extreme circumstance where the person has been removed from their home and is unable to remain in or return to the home. This includes where a person is subject to an apprehended violence order (AVO) or restraining order preventing the person from remaining in or returning to the home.

Where an order is issued for only a short period (e.g. two days), the person may still be eligible for crisis payment. The issuing of an order even for a short period is an indicator that extreme circumstances are present. While the order may no longer prevent the person from remaining in or returning to their home, the person may still decide not to return. Crisis payment eligibility in this case reflects the need for the parties to live separately to avoid further violence.

Whenever the person is subject to an order, eligibility for crisis payment requires that the person lived in the home immediately prior to being removed and subjected to the order, and that they have established or intend to establish a new home.

Other extreme circumstances

Other extreme circumstances are situations where people are forced to leave their home as a result of the person's home being considered uninhabitable for five or more days after the extreme circumstance has occurred. Examples of other extreme circumstances include, but are not restricted to:

  • fire,
  • flooding,
  • gas or other noxious smells,
  • home invasion,
  • health risks, such as water contamination,
  • smoke, and
  • structural damage to the home.
Examples of when a crisis payment is not payable in extreme circumstances

Extreme circumstance...


A crisis payment is not payable because...

If a person is subjected to domestic or family violence

the person intends to leave home and permanently/establish a new home

the person has not left their home.

If a person leaves their home

there is no evidence of  domestic or family violence, and the person intends to establish/has established a new home

there is no extreme circumstance precipitating the person's departure from the home.

If a person is forced to leave their home

a disaster relief payment or State Government assistance has been paid to the person

other assistance has been paid to the person.

If a person is forced to leave their home.

four crisis payments for extreme circumstances or domestic or family violence have been paid to the person within the twelve months prior to the date of this claim

the maximum of four payments for extreme circumstances or domestic or family violence in a twelve month period has been reached.

If a person is forced to leave their home

the person has been evicted

the person is not the victim of an extreme circumstance outside of their control.

A crisis payment is a one-off non-taxable payment to extend immediate financial assistance to people in severe financial hardship who:

  • are forced to leave their home due to extreme circumstances, such as domestic or family violence or a house fire, or
  • have been subjected to domestic or family violence by a family member and choose to remain in the family home after the perpetrator has left or been removed from the home, or
  • released prisoners released from either goal or psychiatric institutions.



In general terms, this is where someone is suffering from serious money difficulties, such as insufficient income to manage their basic living expenses. More detailed descriptions of various financial hardship situations are covered under the following topics:

  • financial hardship provisions under section 52Y of the VEA, for the purpose of the calculating a rate of service pension or income support supplement,
  • financial hardship for the purpose of crisis payment,
  • hardship amount for income stream purposes,
  • hardship assessment of lump sum advance repayments under section 79O of the VEA,
  • financial hardship for special deeming exemptions of 'saved' personal loans and 'frozen' unlisted property trusts,
  • early release of superannuation benefit due to severe financial hardship, and
  • proof of identity at time of pension claims in emergency or hardship situations.



Income support pension is:



Domestic or family violence is described by a variety of terms, including but not restricted to:

  • assault, sexual assault,
  • child, wife/partner, elder abuse,
  • domestic violence,
  • economic, social, verbal, emotional, psychological abuse,
  • exploitation,
  • financial coercion,
  • maltreatment, or
  • neglect.