ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Evidence of serious hardship

We may ask you to provide recent evidence to support your claim of serious hardship.

Last updated 8 March 2021

We can support you in special circumstances if you are unable to provide the following for yourself, your family or dependents:

  • food
  • accommodation
  • clothing
  • medical treatment
  • education
  • other basic necessities.

We call this 'serious hardship', and many situations can contribute to serious hardship, including family tragedy, financial misfortune, mental health challenges or impacts of natural disaster.

See also:


We may ask you to provide recent evidence to support your claim of serious hardship. Your evidence should support your current financial circumstances. Any documents you provide should be dated within four weeks of supplying them.

Types of evidence can include the following:

  • official eviction notice (not a warning of possible eviction due to rental arrears)
  • pending disconnection of essential services, like water, electricity or gas (does not include mobile phone or internet bills)
  • notice of impending legal action
  • letter from a charitable organisation regarding loss of employment or inability to provide for basic necessities
  • bank notice, for example, overdraft call or mortgaged property repossession
  • overdue medical bills
  • letter from a doctor verifying the inability to earn an income due to illness or caring for a sick family member
  • final notice from school regarding payment of mandatory fees
  • funeral expenses
  • repossession notice of essential items, like a car or motorcycle.

We take many factors into account when assessing your claim for serious hardship. Providing one or more of the documents listed above may not necessarily result in you being granted serious hardship status.

In some cases, these requirements may change, depending on your individual circumstances.