Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Lump sum received help

The application form asks the applicant to disclose the details of whether they, or any financially associated person, has or will receive a lump sum over $2000, either:

  • 12 months before
  • 12 months after

signing the application for legal assistance.

General principles

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) must determine:

  • whether the applicant cannot afford private legal representation
  • whether the applicant is capable of paying a contribution towards the cost of legal proceedings.


If the applicant answers ‘Yes’ to this question, they will be asked to disclose how much was received, when it was received, and details of the sum.

‘Details’ includes providing VLA with sufficient particulars to determine whether the applicant should be given a grant of aid. If money was received in the past, and has been spent, full particulars should be given to show how it was spent.

If the sum is yet to be received, and the applicant submits that a portion of the funds is ‘earmarked’ for other items of expenditure, then full details should be supplied.

Example 1

‘I received $10,000 from my father’s will 6 months ago. At the time, I had to pay the sum of $4000 towards his funeral costs. A further sum of $2500 was spent in repairing my car (a 1994 Commodore) to replace the transmission. The balance was spent in day to day household expenses over the last five months. Receipts showing the funeral expenses and transmission repairs are attached.’

Example 2

‘I will be receiving an inheritance of $150,000 from my uncle’s estate in seven months. However, I am only 19 years of age. The terms of the Will only allow me to receive the money in stages: $10,000 on my twentieth birthday; $10,000 on my 21st birthday, and the balance when I am 24. Copy of Will attached.’

Example 3

‘My personal injuries claim against the TAC was settled one month ago. I will be receiving a lump sum payment of $10000 in four months’ time. Enclosed is a copy of the terms of settlement. I owe Centrelink $4000.’

Sale of excluded assets

From time to time, applicants may sell an ‘excluded asset’. These assets are those which were originally excluded from the means test calculations, such as motor vehicle in which the applicant has an equity up to the value of $11,280.

Further information

See the VLA Handbook for lawyers for further information about how lump sum payments are treated in the assets test.

Please note that if your client answers 'yes' to the question about receiving a lump sum, the application will be manually processed.

Reviewed 24 January 2022