2.8.2.10 ACCS (grandparent) - Eligibility

Summary

This topic explains the eligibility requirements for ACCS (grandparent) and covers:

  • ACCS (grandparent) eligibility requirements,
  • principal care,
  • 65% of ongoing daily care,
  • substantial autonomy for the day-to-day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development,
  • what is not considered principal care,
  • ACCS (grandparent) income support payments (1.1.I.50),
  • grandparent carers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for ACCS (grandparent).

ACCS (grandparent) eligibility requirements

To be eligible for ACCS (grandparent) an individual (1.1.I.90) (or their partner (1.1.P.30)) must:

  • meet the eligibility requirements for the CCS,
  • be the grandparent or great-grandparent of the child,
  • be the principal carer of the child by providing all or at least 65% of ongoing daily care and having substantial autonomy for the day to day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development,
  • receive an income support payment from DHS or DVA.

An individual must meet the ACCS (grandparent) eligibility requirements at the start of a CCS fortnight (1.1.C.10) in which a session of care (1.1.S.40) is provided.

Principal care

For a grandparent to be assessed as the principal carer of their grandchild, they must:

  • provide all or at least 65% of ongoing daily care for the child, and
  • have substantial autonomy for the day to day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development.

65% of ongoing daily care

An individual needs to meet 65% care at the start of the CCS fortnight in which the session of care is provided. The percentage of care does not need to be spread equally between the CCS fortnight as long as the fortnight average is 65%.

Example 1: A grandparent meets 65% if they care for the child 5 out of 7 nights per week (5/7 = approximately 72%).

Example 2: A grandparent does not meet 65% if they care for the child 4 out of 7 nights per week: (4/7 days= approximately 58%).

Example 3: A grandparent meets 65% if they care for the child 10 out of 14 nights per fortnight: (10/14 days= approximately 72%).

Example 4: A grandparent does not meet 65% if they care for the child 8 out of 14 nights per fortnight: (8/14 days= approximately 58%).

Where there is a regular shared care arrangement, the calculation of the percentage arrangement will follow the DHS care determination method on shared care arrangements.

Example: Marion and Damien share the care of their grandchild Justin with their daughter, Mandy. Marion and Damien take care of Justin 5 nights a week and Justin returns to his mother for the weekend. This arrangement is formalised in a court order and is in place until Justin turns 18 years old.

For as long as:

  • this court order is in place,
  • Justin attends child care,
  • Marion or Damien remain on an income support payment,

Marion or Damien will be eligible for ACCS (grandparent). The calculation of shared care arrangement follows the DHS care determination. When there is a change in those circumstances, such as a change in the court order, then a reassessment of the shared care arrangement would need to take place.

Policy reference: FA Guide 5.2.1.50 ACCS - Change of Circumstances

Substantial autonomy for the day-to-day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development

In addition to providing 65% of daily ongoing daily care a grandparent must have substantial autonomy for the day to day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development. This means the grandparent generally has the power to make decisions without consulting with the child's parents (1.1.P.10), when the child is in the grandparent's care.

Example: Elizabeth and Phillip are going on an overseas holiday for 4 weeks and are leaving Harry in the care of his maternal grandmother, Charlotte (who receives an income support payment). Harry's parents retain full authority for making decisions about Harry while they are overseas. Charlotte is not eligible for ACCS (grandparent).

In order to determine whether a grandparent has substantial autonomy for the child the following factors may be considered:

  • Is the grandparent the emergency contact for the child at the school and child care service (1.1.A.90)?
  • Does the grandparent make decisions about the medical and dental treatment to be provided to the child?
  • Is the grandparent responsible for the day to day costs (food, accommodation, transport etc.) and long term costs (school fees, clothing, healthcare)?

What is not considered principal care

In most cases, a grandparent will not be considered as the principal carer of the child if they reside in the same home as the biological parent.

If the grandparent is caring for the child whilst the parent is undertaking activities such as work or study, they are not regarded as having principal care, even if it is every day.

Example: Tania is on an income support payment and looks after her grandson Jackson 5 days a week, while his parents Martha and Ben are at work. Each week day, Martha drops off and picks up Jackson from Tania's house. As Martha and Robert retain all legal and financial responsibility for Jackson, Tania is not eligible for ACCS (grandparent).

It is not considered principal care where the grandparent cares for a child during the day and the child is with the parent at night.

Example: John is an income support recipient who lives with his son Jacob, who is a shift worker, and granddaughter Charlotte. Charlotte attends after school care, and John cares for her overnight while Jacob is at work. If anything serious happens to Charlotte while Jacob is at work, John calls Jacob. Therefore, John is not Charlotte's principal carer so he is not eligible for ACCS in relation to Charlotte's after school care.

ACCS (grandparent) income support payments

To be eligible for ACCS (grandparent) an individual must be in receipt of an income support payment. An income support payment is any of the following:

  • age pension,
  • austudy payment,
  • bereavement allowance,
  • carer payment,
  • disability support pension,
  • DSP (blind),
  • DVA income support supplement or service pension,
  • mature age allowance,
  • mature age partner allowance,
  • newstart allowance,
  • parenting payment,
  • partner allowance,
  • sickness allowance,
  • special benefit,
  • special needs pension,
  • widow allowance,
  • widow B pension,
  • wife pension, or
  • youth allowance.

Grandparent carers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for ACCS (grandparent)

Grandparents who are the principal carer of their grandchild/ren who are not in receipt of an income support payment, may be entitled (1.1.E.30) to CCS if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria. They will be exempt from the activity test, and entitled to 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight, with the rate of subsidy based on the family's income (1.1.I.20).

Grandparents who are not the principal carers of their grandchild/ren but care for them between 14% and 64% of the time may be eligible for CCS if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria, with entitlement based on their income and activity test.

Act reference: FAAct section 85CJ Eligibility for ACCS (grandparent)

Policy reference: FA Guide 3.5.2 CCS - Activity Test

Last reviewed: 2 July 2018