220.127.116.11 Healthy Start for School Exemptions (FTB)
If an individual receives both FTB Part A and an income support payment, and their FTB child turns 4 in that income year, an age appropriate health check must be undertaken, or an appropriate exemption must be granted, in order for the individual to be eligible for the FTB Part A supplement for that child in that year.
- general exemptions,
- special circumstances exemption, and
- death of an FTB individual.
Children in a specified class may be exempted from the health check requirement, as determined by the Minister.
The Minister has specified the following class of children to be exempted from the health check requirement:
- the child turning 4 has a severe disability or medical condition and has undergone a medical assessment suitable to the child's needs by a recognised health professional.
Act reference: FAAct section 61A(6) Exempt class of children
Special circumstances exemption
If special circumstances exist in relation to the FTB individual or their partner (or both) that make it inappropriate to arrange a health check for the child, an exemption from the requirement for the individual to arrange the health check for their child may be granted at the discretion of Centrelink. Special circumstance exemptions may be granted after the end of the allowable timeframe after the income year in which the child turned 4, provided that Centrelink has been made aware of the circumstances before the end of the allowable timeframe.
In deciding whether a special circumstances exemption applies, the particular facts of each case need to be considered. This exemption should only be granted in unusual and unexpected situations.
Factors that may give rise to a special circumstances exemption include, but are not limited to, the following:
- individuals having lost, then regained, care of a child, particularly where care is regained late during the allowable timeframe after the year in which the child turned 4 years of age,
- the individual's medical circumstances,
- issues of isolation and/or remoteness, relating to difficulties in accessing doctors/nurses or other medical practitioners to conduct health assessments, for example, where access is only available through the flying doctor service and used for emergencies only,
- retrospective backdating of income support payment to the income year the child turned 4, where this occurs late during the allowable timeframe after the year in which the child turned 4.
It will usually be a combination of factors rather than a single factor that makes the circumstances unusual, unforeseen or exceptional to warrant a special circumstances exemption and circumstances must be considered on a case by case basis. Below is an example of a situation where a special circumstances exemption should not be applied.
Example: Cecelia lives on a remote cattle station in NT and receives FTB Part A for her child who is turning 4 in the 2012-13 income year. The nearest medical facility is several hundred kilometres away. The Royal Flying Doctor service provides remote medical services on-line and by radio and provides a visiting service at least twice a year, as well as in emergency situations. After receiving her letter informing her of the health check requirement, Cecelia requests a special circumstances exemption on the basis that she will have to wait until the next available opportunity to organise a physical check for her child, which could be several months away and she does not want to be put in danger of missing out on her supplement at the end of the year.
Based on these facts, this would not constitute special circumstances. Even if Cecelia cannot get her child's health checked some time during the 2012-13 income year, she still has another year after that to get the health check completed and to notify Centrelink. Cecelia has an obligation to ensure the health check is completed for her child before she can receive her supplement and must make every reasonable effort to do so.
Death of the FTB individual
If the FTB individual dies either during the income year in which the child turns 4, or within the subsequent 2 years after the year in which the child turned 4 for income years prior to 2012-13, the policy is that a special circumstances exemption will apply in these situations. Similarly, if the child dies during the income year in which the child turns 4, or within the subsequent 2 years for income years prior to 2012-13, the same rule applies.
If the FTB individual dies either during the income year in which the child turns 4, or within the subsequent year after the year in which the child turned 4 for income year 2012-13 onwards, an exemption will apply. Similarly, if the child dies during the income year in which the child turns 4, or within the subsequent year for income year 2012-13 onwards, the same rule applies.
Example: Janine receives FTB for her son Elroy who turns 4 in the 2011-12 income year. Janine passes away in the 2013-14 income year. Special circumstances will apply as Janine passed away within the 2 subsequent years that Elroy turned 4.
Example: Joshua receives FTB for his daughter Gertrude who turns 4 in the 2012-13 income year. Joshua passes away in the 2013-14 income year. Special circumstances will apply as Joshua passed away within the first 12 months that Gertrude turned 4.
However, as the special circumstances exemption applies to the individual, the health check requirement will still apply in relation to the child following a change of care that occurs within the income year the child turns 4, when the new carer meets the criteria to be subject to the requirement.
Act reference: FAAct section 61A(2) Other FTB recipients, section 61A(2A)(2)(iv) special circumstances exist in relation to…