What is the Liquid Assets Waiting Period test? 1

grey bubble man with question mark in his thought bubble wondering how long will the liquid assets waiting period be

The Liquid Assets Waiting Period (LAWP) is a period that you must wait before being paid an allowance (Newstart, Sickness and Youth Training), if you have ‘liquid’ funds above the threshold. The maximum LAWP is 13 weeks and is applied from the date that your employment ceased.

Liquid assets are any readily available funds, including those of your partner, which you can access within 28 days of the date you last worked.

What types of asset are considered to be liquid assets?

The following are considered to be liquid assets taken into account to determine the relevant waiting period:

  • Cash,
  • Shares and debentures,
  • Term deposits,
  • Other money available at short notice,
  • Payments made or due and able to be paid in respect of a claimant’s or spouse’s last paid employment,
  • 10-year insurance bonds (aka Investment Bonds), and
  • Amounts deposited or lent to banks or other financial institutions, whether or not the amount can be withdrawn or repaid immediately.

What assets are not considered to be liquid assets?

Superannuation and termination payments which have been rolled over or are going to be rolled over directly from the claimant’s employer are not considered to be liquid assets.

How is the liquid asset waiting period test calculated?

The steps to calculating the Liquid Assets Waiting Period (LAWP) are as follows:

  1. Determine the LAWP threshold – the threshold for single people with no dependants is $5,500. For couples and single people with dependants it is $11,000.2
  2. Calculate the excess liquid assets – liquid assets over that threshold amount.
  3. Calculate the waiting period number – divide the excess liquid assets by the relevant divisor. The divisor is $550 for a single person with no dependants and $1,100 for others.3
  4. Round the answer to the nearest whole number – the result is the Liquid Asset Waiting Period in weeks except that the maximum waiting period is 13 weeks.

Example: Jessica has left her current employer and is seeking new employment. She has $9,848 in her savings bank account, is single with no dependents and she is seeking Newstart Allowance. How long does Jessica have to wait until she receives Newstart Allowance? Calculate her waiting period:


  1. Determine the LAWP threshold: single person with no dependants is $5,500.
  2. Calculate the excess liquid assets:
    = $9,848 – $5,500
    = $4,348
  3. Calculate the waiting period:
    = $4,348 / $550
    = 7.90
  4. Jessica has a LAWP of 8 weeks.

There is a general 1 week waiting period, so Jessica should qualify for Newstart in 9 weeks. (Note: the Human Services website publishes a Table that shows a quicker way to determine the weeks of waiting – it sets it out on the basis of ranges of Liquid Assets held.)
The LAWP has a maximum exclusion period of 13 weeks.

How do the LAWP and Income Maintenance Period (IMP) operate together?

The IMP and LAWP are determined independently of each other and are served concurrently.

So When will the allowance commence?

The Centrelink Allowance to which you will be entitled will not commence until after the expiry of the LAWP – there will be no back-pay of the Allowance.

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1 Information above was updated and is current as at August 2019.
2 The thresholds are varied from time to time and should be confirmed on the Centrelink website.
3 Centrelink now calculates the waiting period on receipt of your completed application: they will confirm their methodology for you.

We acknowledge the resources of Securitor Financial Group Limited in drafting the majority of the detail in the above article: it has been extracted from the Support Information to advice documents. This post was originally created in January 2010; and has occasionally been updated – most recently in August 2019; or refreshed – most recently in April 2021.