2.1.3.10 FTB Immunisation Requirements

Summary

Immunisation requirements described below apply to FTB children from the beginning of the income year during which they turn 1 year old, up to the end of the calendar year in which they turn 19, in order for them to be eligible for the payment of FTB Part A supplement. For FTB Part A, the FTB child's immunisation status is checked on the relevant milestone date (their birthday) and each day after that until the requirements have been met.

Note: From 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2015, immunisation requirements were assessed in the income years in which the FTB child turned 1, 2 and 5 years (8.1).

This topic discusses the following:

  • immunisation requirements for FTB Part A,
  • immunisation requirements where an FTB child or individual claiming FTB dies,
  • other classes of children who have been determined to meet immunisation requirements, and
  • other children who the Secretary may determine meet the immunisation requirements.

Note: From 2012-13 onwards immunisation requirements need to be met by the end of the lodgement year (1.1.L.30), which is the year after the income year to be eligible for the FTB Part A supplement for that child.

Example: Emma turns 1 in the 2014-15 income year, therefore she must meet the immunisation requirements by 30 June 2016.

Immunisation requirements for FTB Part A

From 1 January 2016, payment of the FTB Part A supplement to an individual is conditional on the FTB child who is aged 1 or older in the relevant income year, meeting immunisation requirements for that income year. An FTB child may need to meet the immunisation requirements if:

  • the individual receiving FTB Part A is a parent of the child or partnered to the parent of a child on the last day of the income year, or
  • the individual has had care of the child for at least 182 days in the income year, including the last day of the income year.

An FTB child meets the immunisation requirements for the relevant income year if:

  • the child is immunised in accordance with the National Immunisation Program early childhood vaccination schedule or is on an approved catch-up vaccination schedule, or
  • the child has a medical contraindication, or
  • the child has natural immunity, or
  • the Secretary has determined that the child meets the immunisation requirements.

Notification that a child meets the immunisation requirements may be provided by an individual eligible for FTB or another party. Centrelink must be notified before the end of the allowable timeframe (the end of the income year directly after the income year or the extension end date if a special circumstances extension has been granted). In most cases Centrelink will be notified by the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) who is notified by the recognised immunisation provider (1.1.R.09).

Centrelink uses information held in the AIR to check whether immunisation requirements have been met.

Act reference: FAAct section 3(1)-'recognised immunisation provider', section 6 Immunisation requirements, section 61B FTB Part A supplement to be disregarded unless immunisation requirements satisfied

Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015

Policy reference: FA Guide 2.1.3.40 Immunisation - Approved Exemptions (FTB, CCB), 2.1.3.30 Vaccination Schedules (FTB, CCB)

Immunisation requirements where an FTB child or individual dies

If an FTB child dies, immunisation requirements for that income year for that child will not apply, and the FTB Part A supplement can be paid.

The immunisation requirements do not need to be met for a particular income year if the child dies before the end of the income year after that particular income year (or if a further period has been given due to special circumstances, the child dies before the end of that period).

If an individual receiving FTB dies, the individual's eligibility for the FTB Part A supplement for the relevant income years will no longer be conditional on the FTB child meeting the immunisation requirements for that income year, and the income year immediately prior to that income year. However, the immunisation requirement may still apply to other individuals eligible for FTB Part A in relation to the FTB child for the relevant income year.

Act reference: FAAct section 3(1)-'recognised immunisation provider', section 6 Immunisation requirements, section 61B FTB Part A supplement to be disregarded unless immunisation requirements satisfied

Other classes of children meeting immunisation requirements

Other classes of children who meet the immunisation requirements are children who are:

  • participants in an approved vaccine study
  • unable to be immunised due to temporary unavailability of a vaccine, or
  • immunised overseas and have had a recognised immunisation provider certify that they acquired the same level of immunisation if the child had been vaccinated in Australia.

The Secretary can determine a child meets immunisation requirements after considering decision-making principles set out in the following disallowable instrument:

In accordance with these decision-making principles, the Secretary can determine a child meets the immunisation requirements where:

  • the individual is not a parent of the child and has care of the child under a child welfare law, and the person with legal authority to make decisions about the medical treatment of the child does not consent to the child being immunised,
  • taking action to meet the immunisation requirements would result in the individual or the child being at risk of family violence,
  • the individual is a new permanent humanitarian visa holder and has not had the opportunity to immunise their child,
  • the child has been vaccinated overseas and the child is otherwise unable to meet the immunisation requirements as they are unable to have a recognised immunisation provider certify the child has received the same level of immunisation overseas.

Approved vaccine study

An FTB child meets the immunisation requirements if the child is a participant in the vaccine study approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council. This means that participants in certain trials of new vaccines are not disadvantaged as a result of their participation in the study.

Temporary unavailability of vaccine

Where an FTB child is not vaccinated as required and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has declared that the relevant vaccine/s (or all vaccines) are temporarily unavailable, the child is considered to meet the immunisation requirements, provided that the child has received all other relevant vaccinations. An FTB child meets the immunisation requirements on this basis only until such a time as the vaccine becomes available.

Children vaccinated overseas & returns to Australia

An FTB child who was vaccinated in another country meets the immunisation requirements if a recognised immunisation provider completes and signs an immunisation history form for the vaccines administered overseas.

Example: Samantha and Michael's son Gus is aged 2 years and received his 2, 4, 6 month and 12 month vaccinations overseas in France during their posting. On return to Australia, Samantha visits her local doctor who completes and signs an Immunisation History Form (IM013) for Gus. Her local doctor provides this information to the AIR. For the purposes of FTB, Gus meets the age 1 and 2 immunisation requirements.

Act reference: FAAct section 3(1)-'recognised immunisation provider', section 6 Immunisation requirements, section 61B FTB Part A supplement to be disregarded unless immunisation requirements satisfied

Refusal of consent to vaccinate

The Secretary may determine that a child meets the immunisation requirements if satisfied that an individual has an FTB child in their care under a child welfare law (e.g. state or territory child protection order), who is required to meet immunisation requirements for the purposes of the FTB Part A supplement and neither the individual nor the individual's partner have the legal authority to make decisions about the medical treatment of the child; and:

  • if the child is aged under 15 years, a person (other than the child) with legal authority to make decision about medical treatment of the child has either refused to consent to the child being immunised, or does not provide consent within a reasonable period of time, or
  • if the child is aged at least 15 years - the child refuses to consent to being immunised, or does not provide consent to being immunised within a reasonable period of time. Evidence of the refusal must be provided.

When the Secretary makes such a determination, a review period must also be set so that it can be determined whether the child should continue to meet the immunisation requirements, for example, where the individual has gained legal authority to make decisions about the medical treatment of the child. The length of the review period is to be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the individual circumstances. The determination should be ended (and a debt should not be raised for the period the determination applied) if it is decided after the end of the review period (or earlier if new information becomes available which may trigger a review) that the child should no longer meet the immunisation requirements.

Risk of family violence

It may be appropriate for the Secretary to determine that a child meets the immunisation requirements, where taking action to meet immunisation requirements would result in the risk of family violence towards the individual, the child and/or their immediate family.

Where there may be a risk of family violence, the individual must be referred to a DHS social worker who will consider whether it is appropriate for the Secretary to make a determination that the child meets the immunisation requirements, and can also refer the individual to other services as required.

Family violence means violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family (including separated families), or causes the family member to be fearful.

When the Secretary makes such a determination, a review period must also be set so that it can be determined whether the child should continue to meet the immunisation requirements. The length of the review period is to be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the individual circumstances. The determination should be ended if it is decided after the end of the review period that the child should no longer meet the immunisation requirements.

New humanitarian visa holder

Where an individual has a child in their care who is required to meet immunisation requirements to receive the FTB Part A supplement, and has been granted a permanent humanitarian visa, and no more than 6 months have passed since the child's first entry to Australia, the Secretary may determine that the child meets the immunisation requirements. The individual will need to provide evidence so that the Secretary can be satisfied that the individual has not had the opportunity to immunise their child (e.g. evidence that the customer has only been in Australia for a short period and they may also have evidence that an appointment has been made in the future for the child to see a recognised immunisation provider).

The review period for this determination must not exceed 6 months after the child's first entry into Australia.

Children vaccinated overseas & remains overseas

Where an FTB child has been vaccinated overseas and remains overseas, the Secretary may determine the child meets the immunisation requirements if an overseas medical practitioner declares in writing which of the vaccines from the schedule the child has received.

Evidence must be provided on official letterhead, signed by an overseas medical practitioner which clearly details the child's full name and DOB, date when vaccinations were administered, the name of vaccine and which disease/s that child was vaccinated against as per the Australian vaccination schedule including a statement if vaccinations were unavailable. Evidence provided in a foreign language will need to be translated before a determination can be made.

Last reviewed: 20 September 2016