A review of the welfare system will exclude the age pension and family tax benefits with unemployment benefits and disability pensions the major targets.
Fairfax has reported Minister for with Social Services, Kevin Andrews as warning the system risked becoming ''unsustainable''.
Mr Andrews has commissioned former Mission Australia head, Patrick McClure to conduct a ‘broad’ review of payments, which are worth more than $70 billion a year.
Major areas off-limits
But the age pension - which at $36 billion last financial year accounted for about half of all welfare spending - would not be examined in the review.
Nor would the review consider Family Tax Benefits Parts A and B, which cost $19 billion last year, or Mr Abbott's $5.5 billion-a-year paid parental leave scheme.
When asked by Fairfax why he was excluding these expensive programs, Mr Andrews said the review was “essentially limited”.
“It's about the normal things, DSP [disability support pension], Newstart, that sort of thing, basically."
The ABC reported that the review into the DSP and Newstart allowance was due to be handed to the Government in February and was likely to recommend making it tougher for people to qualify for the payments.
Mr Andrews said one in five Australians was receiving an income support payment.
But he has ruled out touching the age pension.
The number of people receiving Newstart has fluctuated over the 10 years to 2012, with a decline to 399,401 recipients in 2008, down from more than 500,000 in 2002.
However, that figure jumped after the global financial crisis and was just shy of 550,000 people in 2012.
The number of people qualifying for the Disability Support Pension has steadily increased over the decade from 658,000 to 827,000 in 2012.