11.4.2.10 Decision-making principles for identifying a VWPR

Decision-making principles

There are 2 ways a person can be a VWPR. A person will be considered a VWPR if:

  • they meet specific youth triggers, and/or
  • a Centrelink social worker makes an assessment that a person has an indicator of vulnerability and income management is an appropriate support.

Youth triggers for the vulnerable measure of income management

A person will be a VWPR, unless an exclusion applies. The youth triggers will apply to a person who satisfies 1 of the following:

  • under 16 years of age and receiving the SpB payment, or
  • receiving the unreasonable to live at home independent rate of payment for YA, DSP, or ABSTUDY, or
  • under the age of 25, and receives a CrP due to prison release.

If any of these criteria is satisfied the person will be a VWPR, unless 1 of the following applies:

  • The person is a full-time student or apprentice.
  • The person is already being income managed under VIM. If the person chooses to cease VIM they could be considered a VWPR due to the youth triggers.
  • The delegate determines that the vulnerable measure would, due to specific and unusual individual circumstances, place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk.
  • The delegate is satisfied that the person is involved in employment or study, is meeting their priority needs, and has received less than 25% of the basic rate of their payment for at least 4 of the last 6 fortnights.

The process of making and revoking these determinations is provided at 11.4.2.40.

Example: Sam is 19 years of age and lives in Bankstown. He receives YA as a job seeker and is considered to be independent as he satisfies the criteria for unreasonable to live at home, because his parents are unable to provide him with stable accommodation (3.2.5.30). Therefore, Sam is granted the unreasonable to live at home independent rate of payment. Sam has received his full rate of payment for the past 3 fortnights, and has not previously elected to participate in VIM. Unless a Centrelink social worker determines that Sam has specific and unusual individual circumstances, which mean that the application of income management would place his mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk, then Sam will be considered a VWPR, and will be placed on the vulnerable measure of income management.

Decision making principles for social worker assessment when making a vulnerable notice

For a person to be assessed as a VWPR, the delegate, i.e. a Centrelink social worker, must make a written determination that the person is a VWPR. In making a determination, the delegate must consider:

  • whether the person is experiencing an indicator of vulnerability (11.4.2.20)
  • whether the person is meeting their priority needs and the priority needs of their partner, children or other dependents
  • whether income management is an appropriate support for the person experiencing vulnerability
    • to meet their responsibilities
    • to build and maintain self-care, and
    • to manage their money.

If a person is already being income managed, either through VIM or a compulsory measure, and the delegate is assessing whether to make, continue or end a VWPR determination, then the delegate may consider whether, if the person was not placed on the VWPR Measure:

  • it is likely that the person would experience an indicator of vulnerability
  • it is likely that the person would not apply appropriate resources to meet some or all of their relevant priority needs, and
  • whether income management would be an appropriate support for the person likely to experience vulnerability
    • to meet their responsibilities
    • to build and maintain self-care, and
    • to manage their money.

The process for making these determinations is provided at 11.4.2.30.

The delegate may assess that vulnerable measure of income management is an appropriate support despite the fact that a person is willing to enter, or has entered, into a VIM agreement. The VWPR Measure can provide further assistance to a person on VIM where the person is not managing their circumstances and showing signs of vulnerability. Examples of situations where the delegate may consider a person's eligibility for VWPR include if:

  • A person is refusing or unwilling to allocate their income managed funds to meet their priority needs.
  • A person is struggling to address their priority needs even while on VIM (e.g. if the person has diminished capacity).
  • A person is frequently changing allocations and presenting in hardship whilst on VIM. This could be a result of addictive behaviours.

Example: Ben is living in emergency accommodation and is receiving DSP for substance addiction. He applied for VIM, however, whilst on VIM he has cancelled his allocation for rent, has all his funds going to his BasicsCard and frequently presents at the service centre in hardship requesting urgent payments. The social worker, as part of providing more intensive support to Ben, assesses him for VWPR and finds the vulnerable measure of income management would assist him. The social worker ensures that Ben has money allocated to his rent and continues to follow up with Ben to assist him to get longer term accommodation.

Other supports and referrals may also be considered appropriate responses to the person's vulnerabilities. However, if income management would assist in the allocation of funds towards priority needs to address an indicator of vulnerability, it should be deemed an appropriate support regardless of other supports and referrals put in place.

Example: John's family pressure him for cash, and he has trouble saying no. His family is pressuring him so much that he is anxious, and running out of money to buy food and to pay his rent. He has had to ask for emergency food packages and he is worried that he is going to be evicted from his home. A Centrelink social worker assesses John and decides that income management is an appropriate support for him. He goes on to the VWPR Measure of income management. He can buy food with his income managed portion of his payment and pay his rent with Centrepay so that he has less cash available when his family pressure him for money.

Last reviewed: 11 November 2019