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11.4.2.40 Determination Process for the Vulnerable Welfare Payment Measure Where a Person Meets the Vulnerable Welfare Payment Measure Youth Triggers

Duration of Vulnerable Welfare Payment Recipient Determinations due to youth triggers

If a person meets any of the youth trigger criteria, the person will be a vulnerable welfare payment recipient for a 12-month period, unless the person is granted an exclusion (see below) or is no longer eligible for the measure. After 12 months has elapsed, the person's circumstances will be reassessed. The delegate will consider if any youth trigger factors are still present.

 

If any of the youth triggers are present at the time of this reassessment, and the person is not excluded from this measure, the person will be considered to be a vulnerable welfare payment recipient for a further 12-month period. A person will be considered to be a vulnerable welfare payment recipient at each 12-month reassessment as long as the youth trigger factors are present, unless an exclusion is granted.

 

If, after 12 months has elapsed, no youth trigger factors are present the person will no longer be considered a vulnerable welfare payment recipient. For example, a person receiving a CrP due to prison release will no longer be considered a vulnerable welfare payment recipient due to youth triggers at the 12-month reassessment, unless they are eligible under another youth trigger (if they receive the unreasonable to live at home rate of payment, for example).

 

Consideration of a person' circumstances

A person who is placed on the Vulnerable Welfare Payment Recipient Measure (vulnerable measure) may ask the delegate to consider their circumstances at any time. This request for reconsideration of personal circumstances must be actioned unless there has been a request for reconsideration within the previous 90 days. A person may appeal against any decision of the delegate through the regular review and appeal mechanisms (11.1.13).

 

When considering a person's circumstances, the delegate will assess first whether the person continues to qualify as a vulnerable welfare payment recipient due to the youth triggers. If the person no longer qualifies under any of the youth triggers, they will no longer be a vulnerable welfare payment recipient, and will generally no longer be income managed. They may still be eligible for the vulnerable measure if a social worker makes a determination that a person is a vulnerable welfare payment recipient (11.4.2.30).

 

Where the person has requested a consideration of their circumstances, and the person does still qualify as a vulnerable welfare payment recipient due to any of the specific criteria, the delegate must assess whether the person is granted an exclusion unless there has been a request for reconsideration within the previous 90 days.

 

Exclusion from the vulnerable measure when a person meets the youth triggers

When reconsidering a person's circumstances the delegate (a Centrelink social worker) will consider whether a person will be excluded from income management. A person will be excluded if:

  • the vulnerable measure of income management would, due to specific and unusual individual circumstances, place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk, or
  • it is not practicable to income manage a person under the vulnerable measure of income management.

 

An exclusion from the specific criteria will apply for 12 months unless ended earlier at the delegate's discretion. At the end of the exclusion period, a person can request, and/or a social worker may determine that the exclusion be continued. If the exclusion no longer applies and the person meets the criteria for VIM, they will be again placed on that measure of income management.

 

A person will also be excluded if they become a full-time student or apprentice. A person will not have to apply for this exclusion, and will be eligible for as long as they are a full-time student or apprentice.

 

When an exclusion is granted, the person is no longer considered to be a vulnerable welfare payment recipient through the youth triggers.

 

During the exclusion period a person may elect to participate in VIM. While the person remains on VIM the youth triggers will not apply.

 

Full-time students & apprentices

The youth triggers do not apply to full-time students or apprentices.

 

If a person is receiving ABSTUDY living allowance, or full rate of the PES (3.8.3.10), or is receiving YA and meeting the YA activity test through full-time study, or receiving YA as a full-time apprentice (3.2.3.10), or is receiving SpB and is a full-time student (3.7.5.70), the person will be considered to be a full-time student or apprentice.

 

Where income management would place a person's wellbeing at risk

The specific and unusual individual circumstances where income management would place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk include situations where the person:

  • cannot meaningfully engage with Centrelink because the person has mental health issues, or
  • does not have the capacity to comprehend the operation of income management, or
  • the person is experiencing serious instability in their housing or living situation and the application of income management would substantially impair a person's ability to meet housing costs.

 

Prior to granting an exclusion under these criteria, the delegate (a Centrelink social worker) may consider whether there are any options that would enable the application of income management without placing the person's wellbeing at risk. For example, if a restricted direct payment (11.1.3.80) from income managed funds will allow a person to meet their housing costs and remove the risk to the person's wellbeing, the delegate may determine that an exclusion is not required.

 

Where a person is on the vulnerable measure of income management due to a youth trigger, and they have previously been on a different measure of income management, the delegate (a Centrelink social worker) will consider the person's whole income management history when assessing whether the vulnerable measure of income management would place a person's physical, mental or emotional wellbeing at risk. For example, if a person has been on the Disengaged Youth Measure of income management for a reasonable period of time a determination that a person should be excluded from the vulnerable measure of income management because it would place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk would only be made in exceptional cases.

 

Where it is not practicable to income manage a person

The delegate (a Centrelink social worker) may grant an exclusion if the person is involved in employment or study, has received less than 25% of the base rate of payment for 4 of the last 6 fortnights and is using their resources effectively to meet priority needs. The base rate of payment is calculated in the following way:

  • for a person on YA or DSP, the 'base rate of payment' is the maximum fortnightly rate of payment made under the ABSTUDY Scheme (as applicable), or
  • if the person has received a CrP due to prison release, the 'base rate of payment' will be the MBR of the social security pension or social security benefit payable to the person as provided by SSAct section 1061JU(4), or
  • for a person receiving SpB, the 'base rate of payment' will be the maximum rate of SpB the person will be eligible for (the equivalent rate of SpB). This will usually be the same rate as the maximum rate of NSA or YA, but will depend on the person's circumstances, as SpB is individually calculated.

 

Where it is not practicable to income manage a person after 12 months on this measure

Once a person has been subject to income management for the vulnerable measure for 12 months or more, the delegate will also consider whether the person:

  • has successfully engaged in a supportive relationship that has provided mentoring, coaching or case management that included a transition to independence, and/or
  • has demonstrated the skills and ability to manage their money and to live independently.

 

Where the delegate is satisfied that the person's circumstances are consistent with either of the situations above, and that this is likely to continue, they may determine that income management is no longer required, and grant the person an exclusion.

 

Example 1: Annie is 15 years old and residing in a Vulnerable Income Management Measure area but has no fixed address, spending most nights alternating between friends or relatives houses. Annie attends her local Centrelink office to find out what support is available and finds out she is eligible for the SpB payment. Once Annie receives the SpB payment she will be income managed under the vulnerable measure because she meets the youth triggers. This means that half of Annie's SpB payment will be paid straight into her bank account, and the other half will be directed to essential items such as food, clothing and rent. Annie will remain on the vulnerable measure of income management for 12 months. If Annie thinks income management is harmful to her, she can request a Centrelink social worker consider her circumstances. Annie is happy to remain on income management and does not request a consideration.

 

After 12 months, Annie is no longer receiving SpB, so she no longer meets the youth triggers, and is taken off the vulnerable measure of income management. Annie can choose to go onto the Voluntary Measure of Income Management if she wants to continue being income managed.

 

Examples 2: Phil is placed on the vulnerable measure of income management because he is receiving the unreasonable to live at home rate of payment, and lives in Logan (QLD) where income management is in place. He has left home due to domestic violence. Phil is being pursued by his parents, and needs to change accommodation regularly. He alternates between staying a few nights in youth hostels and staying with friends in exchange for groceries or contributing to other household bills. Arranging transfer of income managed funds to these different sources of accommodation is difficult, as some places will not accept income managed funds, and he does not know where he will be from one day to the next. Phil is extremely agitated about his whole situation. After being told by Centrelink that his payment will be income managed, Phil requests to see a social worker to discuss his situation. The Centrelink social worker determines that continuing Phil on income management could affect his living situation, and put his physical and emotional wellbeing at risk. The Centrelink social worker makes a decision to exclude Phil from income management for 12 months. The social worker continues to work with Phil to improve his circumstances, to refer him to other support services in the area. At the end of 12 months Phil can request that a social worker consider his circumstances again to see if his exclusion should be continued.

 

Example 3: Matthew will be eligible for the vulnerable measure of income management as he will receive a CrP due to prison release. Matthew is also going to live in NT. As Matthew will receive a CrP, will be residing in an area where vulnerable income management is in place and will continue to receive an income support payment, he will be automatically income managed under the vulnerable measure. Matthew likes the help that income management provides. After remaining on the measure for 12 months, Matthew will leave the vulnerable measure of income management. Matthew can then participate in VIM if he chooses.

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Last reviewed: 12 August 2013


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Last Edited: 01/08/2013 1:09:41 PM


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