220.127.116.11 ACCS (grandparent) - Evidentiary Requirements
An individual applying for ACCS (grandparent) is required to provide evidence of:
- their grandparent relationship to the child, and
- their principal care arrangements:
- that they have all or at least 65% of ongoing daily care, and
- substantial autonomy for day-to-day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development.
This topic provides an overview of the evidentiary requirements for ACCS (grandparent) and covers:
- best evidence,
- use of third party evidence,
- evidence for grandparent relationship,
- evidence for principal care.
Generally, grandparents will have access to documentary evidence or other forms of evidence from third parties who can support their ACCS (grandparent) application regardless of whether it is a formal or informal arrangement. However, there may be circumstances where they:
- do not have evidence readily available as they are providing care in an emergency situation, or
- they have not been caring for their grandchild for long enough and as a result cannot obtain the evidence from a third party. That is, the third party cannot confirm the existence of an established carer relationship or responsibility for decision making. In cases such as these, a grandparent may use a statutory declaration.
The list of types of evidence below are acceptable. Not all will be relevant to each circumstance so grandparents should provide the most relevant to their caring arrangement with their grandchild.
- Evidence such as, a family court order, custody order, or parenting plan (1.1.P.20) or order (1.1.F.10).
- Third party evidence such as a letter from the child's school or general practitioner, receipts from medical expenses or statement from social worker which may be evidence to support an informal arrangement.
- Where a grandparent cannot supply other evidence, they can provide a statutory declaration.
- If a grandparent relationship or principal care arrangement has already been established as part of another family assistance claim and third party evidence to support this has already been provided and meets the requirement for ACCS (grandparent), there is no requirement for individuals to provide third party evidence again as part of an application for ACCS (grandparent).
Example: Centrelink already holds a copy of a court order that gives a grandparent guardianship of their grandchild until the child turns 18. This existing evidence can be used for ACCS (grandparent) purposes.
Use of third party evidence
The following types of third party evidence may be considered, noting that other third party evidence may be considered on a case-by-case basis:
- letter from the child's general practitioner, or other allied health provider, stating the grandparent is responsible for the child's medical care and expenses,
- letter from a pharmacist stating the grandparent pays for prescriptions for their grandchild and/or seek advice for managing their grandchild's health,
- letter from the child's school stating that the grandparent is the person to call regarding decisions about their grandchild's schooling, including the child's wellbeing while at school,
- receipts from medical expenses, travel, school uniforms etc.,
- evidence that the grandparent has a CWA (1.1.C.52) with the child care service (1.1.A.90) and pays for child care. If the grandparent does not have a CWA and is not paying for child care, they cannot be eligible for ACCS (grandparent). Having a CWA and paying for child care is not sufficient evidence by itself that the grandparent meets eligibility requirements.
Evidence for grandparent relationship
Evidence is required to make the determination that a grandparent relationship exists.
Evidence for grandparent relationship includes, but is not limited to:
- family court order or custody order,
- parenting plan or order,
- birth certificates of the grandparent's own children and their children,
- a combination of birth certificates and marriage certificates for step-grandparents,
- adoption papers to prove relationship,
- artificial conception or surrogacy documentation where the child has not been adopted or does not hold an Australian passport, in the cases of international surrogacy,
- ACCS (grandparent) specific statutory declaration.
Circumstances where a grandparent is required to demonstrate their relationship, where it involves surrogacy, are likely to be rare and complex. Please contact the Department of Education and Training for consideration.
Evidence for principal care
Evidence is required to make a determination that the grandparent is the principal carer (has all or at least 65% care AND substantial autonomy to make decisions about the child's care, welfare and development).
Evidence for principal care includes, but is not limited to:
- family court order,
- custody order,
- parenting plan or order,
- foster care placement (if the child is 'at risk' (1.1.A.110) and as a result, the grandparent is the foster carer, the child may also be eligible of ACCS (child wellbeing),
- court order for graduated return to care where child is being integrated back into the family,
- where formal care arrangements do not exist, a letter from child's school, general practitioner or other third party (who has regular dealing with the family and can independently verify the circumstances) stating the grandparent has responsibility for the day to day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development,
- statutory declaration in limited circumstances.
Third party evidence is preferred over a statutory declaration, to ensure the reliability of the percentage of care and substantial autonomy, given the significant financial benefit provided by ACCS (grandparent). However, a statutory declaration is sufficient in certain circumstances.
Grandparent principal carers, not in receipt of an income support payment (1.1.I.50) and therefore not eligible for ACCS (grandparent), will also be considered exempt from the CCS activity test, provided they meet the same evidentiary requirements applying to ACCS (grandparent).
Policy reference: FA Guide 3.5.2 CCS - Activity Test