Income management: a quick guide

15 Jul 2015

Explains what income management is, who can be placed on it, what measures it involves, and where it is heading.


Income management sets aside (or ‘quarantines’) a proportion of a recipient’s Australia Government income support payment to pay for necessities such as food, clothing, housing and utilities. Recipients can spend their income-managed funds using a PIN protected debit card, known as the BasicsCard, or by arranging for Centrelink to make payments on their behalf (for example, regular rent and utilities payments).

What is income management for?

The objectives of income management are to:

  • reduce immediate hardship and deprivation by directing welfare payments to the priority needs of recipients, their partner, children and any other dependents
  • help affected welfare payment recipients to budget so that they can meet their priority needs
  • reduce the amount of discretionary income available for alcohol, gambling, tobacco and pornography
  • reduce the likelihood that welfare payment recipients will be subject to harassment and abuse in relation to their welfare payments and
  • encourage socially responsible behaviour, particularly in the care and education of children.
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