8.1.2 Immunisation Requirement Changes from 01/01/2012 to 30/06/2018
Immunisation requirements from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2015
From 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2015 payment of the FTB Part A supplement to an individual was conditional on the FTB child who had turned 1, 2 or 5 years during the relevant income year meeting immunisation requirements.
An FTB child met the immunisation requirements for the relevant income year if:
- the child was up-to-date and not overdue with vaccinations as per the standard vaccination schedule, or
- the child was on an approved catch-up vaccination schedule, or
- there was a conscientious objection covering all vaccines, or
- the child had a medical contraindication, or
- the child had natural immunity, or
- the child was in a class of person:
- exempted by the Minister from the requirement to be immunised, or
- which the Minister had determined met the immunisation requirements.
The classes of children the Minister had exempted from the requirement to be immunised, or determined met the requirement in a disallowable instrument were:
- participants in the vaccine study conducted by Murdoch Children's Research Institute,
- children who were unable to be immunised due to temporary unavailability of vaccine,
- children who were immunised overseas,
- children of practicing members of the Church of Christ - Scientist (religious exemption), and
- children who the Secretary exempted from the requirement to be immunised due to special circumstances.
Immunisation requirements from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2018
From 1 January 2016, the No Jab No Pay measure amended immunisation requirements for the FTB Part A end-of-year supplement. Immunisation requirements were extended to children who turned 1 in the relevant income year, and in each income year after that up to the end of the calendar year in which a child turns 19. The changes also removed vaccination objection based on personal, religious or philosophical beliefs (previously known as conscientious objection) as an approved exemption from meeting immunisation requirements.
Note: From 1 July 2018, new immunisation requirements apply. Where immunisation requirements are not met, rather than withholding the FTB Part A end of year supplement, an individual's FTB Part A child rate may be reduced (22.214.171.124, 8.1.1).
Part year effects for 2015-16 year
Two different sets of immunisation requirements were applied during the 2015-16 income year.
For the period 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015, immunisation requirements only apply to children who turn 1, 2 or 5 during the income year. From 1 January 2016 onwards, immunisation requirements were extended to included children who turned 1 in the relevant income year and in each income year after that until the age of 19 (up to the end of the calendar year in which they turn 19).
Individuals with care of a child, who were exempt or considered to have met the immunisation requirements prior to 1 January 2016 (e.g. conscientious objection), are entitled to the FTB Part A supplement during this period up to 31 December 2015, even if they are no longer considered to have met the immunisation requirements from 1 January 2016.
Example: Ally has an objection to vaccinations and made a 'conscientious objection' declaration for her daughter Rosie, who turned 1 during the 2014-15 income year. As Rosie turned 2 in the 2015-16 income year, Rosie met the immunisation requirements, as a vaccination objector, from 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015. Therefore Ally is entitled to at least half of the FTB Part A supplement for Rosie. At reconciliation for the 2015-16 income year Rosie is not up-to-date with her vaccinations, thus does not meet the immunisation requirements from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2016. Ally will receive part of the FTB Part A supplement for Rosie, in respect of meeting requirements from 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015 (as long as all other reconciliation conditions are met).
Effect on past period lump sum claims
For lump sum past period claims, in most cases, the immunisation requirements that were in place at that time (the past period) will apply.
If an individual submits a lump sum past period claim for the 2014-15 income year or 2013-14 income year (where a special circumstances extension to meet immunisation requirements has been granted) and any of the FTB children in their care turned 1, 2 or 5 years during that year, then they are still required to meet the immunisation requirements which applied from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2015.
Individuals with care of a child, who were exempt or considered to have met the immunisation requirements prior to 1 January 2016 (e.g. religious exemption) are entitled to the FTB Part A supplement during this period up to 31 December 2015, even if they are no longer considered to have met the immunisation requirements from 1 January 2016.
Example: Emma has 2 children, twins Andrew and Adam who turned 5 in the 2014-15 income year. Emma is a member of the Church of Christ - Scientist and in the income year in which Andrew and Adam turned 1, Emma provided Centrelink with a written declaration from a church official stating that she is a practicing member of the church, and a letter acknowledging the risks and benefits of immunisation and declaring that her children are not to be immunised because of religious convictions. This evidence was used to grant Emma an exemption for her children from meeting the immunisation requirements. As Emma already has an exemption in place, she meets immunisation requirements for the 2014-15 income year and will receive the FTB Part A supplement in respect of both Andrew and Adam (as long as all other reconciliation conditions are met).
Act reference: FAAct section 61B(3) to section 61B(3A) Exception - immunisation requirements
Removed exemptions from 1 January 2016
A child cannot meet, or be exempt from, the immunisation requirements for a period from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2015 (e.g. 2014-15 lump sum claims) on the basis of a relevant conscientious objection certification or Church of Christ - Scientist declaration made on or after 1 January 2016. If evidence is signed and dated on or after 1 January 2016, it is not a valid declaration/certification.
Example: Harry has never been eligible for FTB due to income, although due to illness his income was considerably lower during the 2014-15 income year so he decides to submit a past period lump sum claim. Harry has 2 children; the children turned 5 and 2 during the 2014-15 income year. Harry has an objection to vaccinations. Harry makes a declaration with his general practitioner in February 2016. Harry accompanies his lump sum claim form with his conscientious objection declaration and lodges it to Centrelink on 3 March 2016. Centrelink cannot accept the conscientious objection declaration form as it was completed and submitted after 1 January 2016, therefore Harry is not entitled to FTB Part A supplements for either of his children during the 2014-15 income year as he does not meet immunisation requirements.
Note: If the evidence required for the removed exemption (e.g. conscientious objection declaration) is signed and dated prior to 1 January 2016 and submitted to Centrelink or Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) after 31 December 2015 (but within the allowable timeframe for the relevant year) it can be accepted and applied.
Act reference: Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Act 2015 item 19(3) Application and transitional provisions
Certification of medical contraindication & natural immunity
Only eligible doctors can certify that immunisation of a child would be medically contraindicated or that a child does not require immunisation because the child has developed a natural immunity.
From 17 August 2017, the following recognised immunisation providers (1.1.R.09) are eligible to certify medical contraindication and natural immunity:
- a general practitioner that is vocationally registered, or a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM),
- a general practice registrar on a 3GA training placement,
- a paediatrician,
- a public health physician,
- an infectious diseases physician, or
- a clinical immunologist.
From 1 January 2016 to 16 August 2018 only general practitioners (1.1.G.12) could certify medical contraindication or natural immunity. Prior to 1 January 2016, medical contraindication and natural immunity were certified by recognised immunisation providers. If a child had a medical contraindication or natural immunity certified by a recognised immunisation provider prior to 1 January 2016, this will remain in place and will not need to be re-certified.
Act reference: Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Act 2015 item 19(2) Application and transitional provisions