A person is considered the main supporter of a child if the child is a secondary pupil child of that person (1.1.S.66).
Note: The following paragraphs identify SSAct sections that determine whether a person is a principal carer of a child. SSAct subsection 5G(2) specifies that subsections 5(18) to (22) and subsection 5(24) apply for the purposes of determining whether a person is the main supporter of a secondary pupil child in the same way they apply for the purposes of determining if a person is the principal carer of a child.
Act reference: SSAct section 5G Main supporter of secondary pupil child, section 5F Secondary pupil child
Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.S.66 Secondary pupil child
SSAct subsection 5(18) specifies that only one person at a time can be the main supporter of a particular secondary pupil child. In all shared support situations, it is necessary to determine which of the supporters is the main supporter.
In shared support cases a written determination must:
If the support of a secondary pupil child is being shared by 2 people and only one of them has legal responsibility for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child, and the child is in the adult's care, only that person is the main supporter.
Act reference: SSAct section 5(18) Only one person at a time can be the principal carer of a particular child, section 5(19) If the Secretary is satisfied that...
If 2 or more people have responsibility for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the secondary pupil child then the person with the greater degree of care and control of the secondary pupil child is generally the main supporter of that secondary pupil child. If the secondary pupil child is not in the care of the person(s) who has legal responsibility for their day-to-day care, welfare and development, then the main supporter of the secondary pupil child is the person with whom the secondary pupil child is living, and on whom they are wholly or substantially dependent. If the secondary pupil child can be regarded as the dependent of more than one person in this latter circumstance the main supporter is generally the person who has the greater degree of responsibility for the secondary pupil child's day-to-day care, welfare and development.
In cases where individuals are a member of a couple only one person can be eligible for main supporter status.
Example: Rhiannon and Kate are in a registered relationship and have 2 secondary pupil children, Lucas and Clare. Both Rhiannon and Kate are eligible for income support, however, only one of them can be regarded as the main supporter of both Lucas and Clare.
If both members of a couple could be assessed as being the main supporter and neither agrees to surrender claim for that status:
Act reference: SSAct section 5(20A) to section 5(20D) Principal carer-which member of a couple can be principal carer
The following table explains when a person is the main supporter of a secondary pupil child, and hence where the secondary pupil child can be regarded as a secondary pupil child.
If the secondary pupil child...
Then the secondary pupil child...
- leaves Australia temporarily, AND
- continues to be absent for MORE THAN 6 weeks, AND
- is NOT in the company of a person who is the main supporter of that secondary pupil child,
CANNOT be a secondary pupil child at any time after the 6 weeks, while they remain outside Australia (section 5(21)).
Example: Jack is a secondary pupil child of Jill. Jack goes overseas on a student exchange programme for 20 weeks, whilst Jill remains in Australia. Jill loses her main supporter status after 6 weeks elapses. When Jack returns to Australia, Jill is eligible to be considered Jack's main supporter once more, subject to meeting the usual criteria.
- is not a secondary pupil child because:
- the child returns to Australia, but leaves again within 6 weeks of last arriving in Australia,
CANNOT be a secondary pupil child during the entire period of the subsequent overseas absence.
Example: Jack is the secondary pupil child of Jill. Five weeks after returning from his 20 week exchange program Jack goes on a 4 week study tour overseas. Jill is not a main supporter during this 4 week period, because Jack has left Australia within 6 weeks of last arriving in Australia.
Act reference: SSAct section 5(21) Principal carer-child absent from Australia, section 5(23) Principal carer-child born outside Australia, section 5(24) Principal carer-child subsequently departs Australia, 5G(2) Subsections 5(18) to (22) (inclusive)...
Last reviewed: 2 January 2013