2.8.3.40 ACCS (temporary financial hardship) - Determinations

Summary

This topic sets out the requirements for an ACCS (temporary financial hardship) determination and covers:

  • making a determination,
  • requirements for determinations,
  • when a determination must be made,
  • date of application,
  • requesting additional information,
  • deemed refusals,
  • date of effect,
  • changes to determinations.

Making a determination

There are 2 ways in which an ACCS determination can be made to account for an individual's (1.1.I.90) temporary financial hardship:

  • individuals can apply to Centrelink for a determination, or
  • the Secretary can make a determination on their own initiative in relation to that individual.

A determination that an individual is experiencing temporary financial hardship gives an ACCS (temporary financial hardship) entitlement (1.1.E.30) of:

  • a subsidy equal to 100% of the actual fee charged, up to 120% of the CCS hourly rate cap (1.1.H.20), and
  • up to 100 hours of subsidy per fortnight.

Act reference: FAAct section 85CH(1) Determinations on own initiative or on application

Requirements for determinations

Determinations of ACCS (temporary financial hardship) must:

  • specify the day that it takes effect, which must be a Monday and cannot be more than 28 days before the application was made. This can be either Monday in a CCS fortnight (1.1.C.10) as long as that Monday falls within a CCS fortnight where the individual is CCS eligible on the first Monday of the CCS fortnight (this is because an individual can only receive ACCS when they are CCS eligible),
  • specify the whole weeks (from Monday to Sunday) for which it has effect (that is, a determination cannot be made for part of a week):
    • a determination may commence or cease mid-way through a CCS fortnight. The FAAct Schedule 2, section 11(5) provides that the recognised activity test result will be 100 hours for the CCS fortnight. However, the application of the activity test result for these 'shoulder' week/s is not included in the counting of weeks towards the total of 13 weeks, (i.e. only the week/s specified in a determination will count towards the total of 13 weeks for ACCS (temporary financial hardship)), and
    • the increased subsidy is paid for all sessions of care (1.1.S.40) during a week where the individual is eligible for ACCS (temporary financial hardship) for at least 1 session of care during the week,
  • identify the child to whom it relates, and
  • identify the individual to whom it relates.

These requirements apply regardless of whether the determination is made in relation to an application from an individual, or on the initiative of the Secretary.

While a determination is linked to a particular child and a particular individual, if the individual has multiple children, the individual can select which children the application relates to and have multiple determinations (1 for each child selected) in effect.

Where a determination is made in relation to 1 or more temporary financial hardship circumstances, the determination will clearly outline which circumstances have, and have not, been taken into account in reaching the determination.

Act reference: FAAct section 85CH Determination of temporary financial hardship, Schedule 2 clause 11(5) Individual eligible for CCS and ACCS in same CCS fortnight

When a determination must be made

Determinations for ACCS (temporary financial hardship) must be made within 28 days from the date of application. If a determination is not made within the 28 days, the application will be deemed to have been refused (a 'deemed refusal').

Act reference: FAAct section 85CH Determination of temporary financial hardship

Date of application

The date of application for ACCS (temporary financial hardship) is the date when the application has met all form and manner requirements, and the correct evidence has been provided. If the supporting evidence upon which the applicant is relying on is not provided, the application will be taken to have never been made.

Act reference: FAAct section 85CH Determination of temporary financial hardship

Requesting additional information

Once an application is made, additional information may be requested from the individual to assist the decision-making process. The notice for additional information should specify the period in which the information must be given. This is to ensure that a decision can be made within 28 days from when the application was made (date of application). If the requested additional information is not provided within the specified timeframe requested by Centrelink, the decision maker can make a decision based on the information currently available to them.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 67FI Request for information in relation to eligibility or entitlement for CCS or ACCS

Deemed refusals

Centrelink has 28 days from the date of application in which to make a decision. Under FA law, if a decision is not made within this timeframe, the application is deemed to be refused (a 'deemed refusal').

Individuals should provide all the necessary information and respond to Centrelink requests for additional information as soon as possible.

When an application is 'deemed refused', it is automatically assigned for internal review by Centrelink. The application will be assessed and a decision will be made (that is, reject the application or accept the application and make a determination). The decision the Centrelink reviewing officer makes can be appealed by the individual, in line with the Centrelink's review and appeal processes.

Act reference: FAAct section 85CH Determination of temporary financial hardship

Policy reference: FA Guide 6.2 Internal Reviews, 6.3 External Reviews

Date of Effect for Determinations

The start date of ACCS (temporary financial hardship) must be on a Monday. Individuals can ask for their application to be backdated up to and including 28 days from the date the application was taken to be made.

It is not possible to backdate to prior to the date of the circumstance or event that gave rise to the temporary financial hardship. Otherwise, as long as all other criteria are met for a favourable determination, then any request for backdating should be approved, noting that it cannot increase the number of weeks the individual is eligible for ACCS (temporary financial hardship); no greater than 13 weeks.

Changes to determinations of ACCS (temporary financial hardship)

A determination of ACCS (temporary financial hardship) can be changed (i.e. varied or revoked), if:

  • an individual no longer finds themselves in temporary financial hardship, or
  • Centrelink determines that an individual is no longer/or was never in temporary financial hardship.

If a determination is varied, it can only reduce the number of whole weeks for which it takes effect, not to increase the number of weeks of ACCS (temporary financial hardship). Variations can include changing the start date of the determination to a later Monday or bringing forward the end date to an earlier Monday.

If a determination is revoked, the whole determination is taken not to have been in effect.

Act reference: FAAct section 85CI Revocation of determinations

Last reviewed: 2 July 2018