1.1.D.240 Double orphan (DOP)

Definition

For the purposes of DOP, a double orphan is a child:

  • under 16 years of age, or
  • aged 16 to 19 years who is in full-time secondary education, and
  • whose parents or adoptive parents have both died, or
  • who has one parent dead and the other is
    • in long-term imprisonment, or
    • in a psychiatric hospital or nursing home on a long-term basis, or
    • 'uncontactable', that is, whose whereabouts are unknown, or
  • who has been granted refugee status by the Australian Government (or is in similar circumstances to a refugee and has been admitted into Australia under an approved special humanitarian program), and has not at any time lived in Australia with either or both parents, and whose
    • parents are outside Australia, or
    • parents' whereabouts are unknown.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(1A) A person is student child …, section 5(1B) A person is a young person …, section 993 Double orphan-not refugee, section 994 Double orphan-refugee, section 995 Refugee child

Parent in long-term imprisonment

For the purposes of DOP, a child's sole surviving parent is in long term imprisonment if the surviving parent:

  • has been convicted of an offence, and
  • has been sentenced to imprisonment
    • for life, or
    • for a term of at least 10 years, and
  • is serving the sentence, or
  • has been charged with an offence punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term of at least 10 years, and
  • has not been convicted of the offence, and
  • is in custody.

If the parent has been convicted, an individual's qualification is determined by the duration of the parent's prison sentence. If the parent has been charged with an offence but has not yet been convicted, an individual's qualification is determined by the maximum penalty that the offence carries.

Where the parent has been convicted and is serving the sentence, qualification is not affected by the parent's:

  • length of imprisonment at the time of claiming DOP (see example 1), or
  • eligibility for early parole (see example 2).

Example 1: A child's imprisoned parent has served 8 years of a 15 year prison sentence. The individual receiving the payment continues to qualify for DOP because the total sentence exceeded 10 years.

Example 2: A child's parent receives an 11 year prison sentence and is required to serve a minimum of 8 years. The individual receiving the payment continues to qualify for DOP because the total prison term exceeded 10 years.

A delegate must obtain verification of the term of the prison sentence or the possible maximum penalty that an offence carries before granting the claim.

Act reference: SSAct section 996 Long-term prisoner

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.10.20 Verification for DOP

Parent in a psychiatric hospital or nursing home on a long term basis

For the purposes of DOP, a child's sole surviving parent is in a mental hospital or nursing home on a long-term basis if:

  • the parent is a patient in a
    • psychiatric hospital, or
    • nursing home (1.1.N.140), or
    • similar institution, and
  • the delegate is satisfied that the parent requires care and treatment for an indefinite period.

A delegate must confirm the duration of the parent's admission to the institution before granting the claim.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'mental hospital patient', section 997 Patient on a long-term basis

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.10.20 Verification for DOP

Parent uncontactable

For the purposes of DOP a child's sole surviving parent is uncontactable if:

  • the parent's whereabouts are not known to the
    • child, or
    • individual or ACO (1.1.A.200) receiving DOP (see explanation), and
  • reasonable inquiries by the individual or ACO cannot be expected to ascertain the parent's location.

Explanation: In this context 'whereabouts' means an approximate or a roughly defined location. It does not mean the exact location.

Example 1: A child's sole surviving parent is known to be in the Port Macquarie region. It is reasonable to expect the individual receiving the payment to contact local authorities, such as the police, to attempt to locate the parent.

Example 2: A child's sole surviving parent is thought to be in New South Wales. It is unreasonable to expect the individual receiving the payment to locate the parent.

Act reference: SSAct section 998 Person uncontactable

Last reviewed: 12 August 2019