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3.1.13 Compliance Framework for Participation Payments


All people receiving participation payments are subject to the compliance arrangements set out in Division 3A of the SS(Admin)Act.


Social security law defines 'participation payments' as:

  • newstart allowance,
  • YA, unless the recipient is a full-time student or a new apprentice,
  • PP, if the recipient is subject to participation requirements, and
  • SpB, if the person is a nominated visa holder (section 23(1)-'nominated visa holder').


In this section of the Guide, people receiving participation payments are referred to as job seekers.


Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'nominated visa holder'


Objectives of the compliance framework

The purpose of the compliance legislation is to encourage job seekers to participate in employment and engage with employment services. Job seekers who have a good reason for their actions should not be penalised. Job seekers who do not meet their requirements should be reconnected with employment services as quickly as possible.


In some circumstances, a job seeker who fails to attend an appointment or fails to participate in an activity can have their income support suspended regardless of whether or not they have a reasonable excuse for their non-attendance. In these circumstances, the job seeker's payment is restored, with full back payment, once they agree to attend a further appointment. Consideration is then given separately as to whether or not a failure (and where applicable a penalty) should be applied for the initial non-attendance. These arrangements are designed to encourage early re-engagement following non-attendance.


Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 42A Simplified outline, section 42SA Immediate non-payment of participation payments for certain failures


Role of providers

Employment services providers do not make compliance decisions under social security law. Providers report non-compliance to Centrelink, for Centrelink to make compliance decisions. Providers are to consider the above objectives when deciding whether to report non-compliance. Guidelines for providers emphasise the discretion they have to consider strategies such as giving a job seeker another chance to attend an appointment or letting them make up time missed from an activity, if they believe this will be a more effective way of re-engaging the job seeker than compliance action.


Centrelink discretion

The legislation gives Centrelink officers, as delegated decision-makers, considerable discretion when deciding if a job seeker has a reasonable excuse for failing to meet their requirements and in deciding if they have been persistently non-compliant (see below). The legislation also gives Centrelink the discretion not to apply a NSNP failure, a connection failure, a reconnection failure or a serious failure, despite the failure being applicable. The discretion not to apply a penalty even where a job seeker has no reasonable excuse for their actions should be exercised only in exceptional circumstances.

Example: Jane is a 22 year old NSA recipient with a history of non-compliance over a 6-month period. Centrelink conducts a CCA and finds that Jane has no barriers to participation, However, Jane is 7 months pregnant and intends to claim PP as soon as her baby is born. Jane's pregnancy has not affected her capacity to comply and does not provide a reasonable excuse for any of her past failures, so Centrelink could apply a serious failure. However, the decision maker decides not to do so as applying the failure would serve no purpose as a deterrent to future non-compliance and would cause unnecessary financial hardship to Jane and her child.


In this section

This section contains the following topics: Types of Failures & Penalties No Show, No Pay Failures Connection & Reconnection Failures & Penalties Serious Failures & Penalties Compliance Failures & Penalties - General Rules Compliance Activities Comprehensive Compliance Assessments Unemployment Non-payment Periods Reasonable Excuse Payment Pending Review - Compliance Framework Transitional Arrangements


Last reviewed: 1 July 2011


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Last Edited: 26/06/2012 2:35:56 PM

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