11.4.2.40 Determination process for the VWPR measure where a person meets the VWPR measure youth triggers

Duration of VWPR Determinations due to youth triggers or a youth released from prison or psychiatric confinement

If a person who meets any of the youth trigger criteria is reassessed and the trigger criteria no longer applies, they can exit the measure.

Consideration of a person's circumstances

A person who is deemed to be a VWPR may ask the delegate to consider their circumstances at any time. This request for reconsideration of personal circumstances must be actioned unless there has been a request for reconsideration within the previous 90 days. A person may appeal against any decision of the delegate through the regular review and appeal mechanisms (11.1.13).

When considering a person's circumstances, the delegate will assess first whether the person continues to qualify as a VWPR due to the youth triggers. If the person no longer qualifies under any of the youth triggers, they will no longer be a VWPR, and will generally no longer be income managed. They may still be eligible for the vulnerable measure if the delegate makes a determination that a person is a VWPR (11.4.2.30).

Where the person has requested a consideration of their circumstances, and the person does still qualify as a VWPR due to any of the specific criteria, the delegate must assess whether the person is granted an exclusion unless there has been a request for reconsideration within the previous 90 days.

Exclusion from the vulnerable measure when a person meets the youth triggers

When reconsidering a person's circumstances, the delegate (a Centrelink social worker) will consider whether a person will be excluded from income management. A person will be excluded if:

  • the vulnerable measure of income management would, due to specific and unusual individual circumstances, place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk, or
  • it is not practicable to income manage a person under the vulnerable measure of income management.

An exclusion from the specific criteria will apply for 12 months unless ended earlier at the delegate's discretion. At the end of the exclusion period, a person can request, and/or a delegate may determine that the exclusion be continued. If the exclusion no longer applies and the person meets the criteria for VWPR, they will be again placed on that measure of income management.

A person will also be excluded if they become a full-time student or apprentice. A person will not have to apply for this exclusion, and will be eligible for as long as they are a full-time student or apprentice.

When an exclusion is granted, the person is no longer considered to be a VWPR through the youth triggers.

During the exclusion period a person may elect to participate in VIM. While the person remains on VIM, the youth triggers will not apply.

Full-time students & apprentices

The youth triggers do not apply to full-time students or apprentices.

If a person is receiving ABSTUDY living allowance, or full rate of the PES (3.8.3.10), or meets the definition of a full time student under SSAct section 541B, or is receiving YA as a full-time apprentice (3.2.3.10), or is receiving SpB and is a full-time student (3.11.3.10), the person will be considered to be a full-time student or apprentice.

Where income management would place a person's wellbeing at risk

The specific and unusual individual circumstances where income management would place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk include situations where the person:

  • cannot meaningfully engage with Centrelink because the person has mental health issues, or
  • does not have the capacity to comprehend the operation of income management, or
  • the person is experiencing serious instability in their housing or living situation and the application of income management would substantially impair a person's ability to meet housing costs.

Prior to granting an exclusion under these criteria, the delegate (a Centrelink social worker) may consider whether there are any options that would enable the application of income management without placing the person's wellbeing at risk. For example, if a restricted direct payment (11.1.3.80) from income managed funds will allow a person to meet their housing costs and remove the risk to the person's wellbeing, the delegate may determine that an exclusion is not required.

Where a person is on the vulnerable measure of income management due to a youth trigger, and they have previously been on a different measure of income management, the delegate (a Centrelink social worker) will consider the person's whole income management history when assessing whether the vulnerable measure of income management would place a person's physical, mental or emotional wellbeing at risk. For example, if a person has been on the Disengaged Youth Measure of income management for a reasonable period of time, a determination that a person should be excluded from the vulnerable measure of income management because it would place the person's mental, physical or emotional wellbeing at risk would only be made in exceptional cases.

Where it is not practicable to income manage a person

The delegate may grant an exclusion if the person is involved in employment or study, has received less than 25% of the base rate of payment for 4 of the last 6 fortnights and is using their resources effectively to meet priority needs. The base rate of payment is calculated in the following way:

  • for a person on YA or DSP, the 'base rate of payment' is the maximum fortnightly rate of payment made under the ABSTUDY Scheme (as applicable), or
  • if the person has received a CrP due to prison release, the 'base rate of payment' will be the MBR of the social security pension or social security benefit payable to the person as provided by SSAct section 1061JU(4), or
  • for a person receiving SpB, the 'base rate of payment' will be the maximum rate of SpB the person will be eligible for (the equivalent rate of SpB). This will usually be the same rate as the maximum rate of JSP or YA, but will depend on the person's circumstances, as SpB is individually calculated.

Example 1: Annie is 15 years old and residing in a Vulnerable Income Management Measure area but has no fixed address, spending most nights alternating between friends or relatives houses. Annie attends her local Centrelink office to find out what support is available and finds out she is eligible for the SpB payment. Once Annie receives the SpB payment, she will be income managed under the vulnerable measure because she meets the youth triggers. This means that half of Annie's SpB payment will be paid straight into her bank account, and the other half will be directed to essential items such as food, clothing and rent. Annie will remain on the vulnerable measure of income management for 12 months. If Annie thinks income management is harmful to her, she can request a Centrelink social worker consider her circumstances. Annie is happy to remain on income management and does not request a consideration.

After 12 months, Annie is taken off the vulnerable measure of income management. Annie can choose to go onto the voluntary measure of income management if she wants to continue being income managed.

Example 2: Phil is placed on the vulnerable measure of income management because he is receiving the unreasonable to live at home rate of payment, and lives in Logan (QLD) where income management is in place. He has left home due to domestic violence. Phil is being pursued by his parents, and needs to change accommodation regularly. He alternates between staying a few nights in youth hostels and staying with friends in exchange for groceries or contributing to other household bills. Arranging transfer of income managed funds to these different sources of accommodation is difficult, as some places will not accept income managed funds, and he does not know where he will be from one day to the next. Phil is extremely agitated about his whole situation. After being told by Centrelink that his payment will be income managed, Phil requests to see a social worker to discuss his situation. The Centrelink social worker determines that continuing Phil on income management could affect his living situation, and put his physical and emotional wellbeing at risk. The Centrelink social worker makes a decision to exclude Phil from income management. The social worker continues to work with Phil to improve his circumstances, to refer him to other support services in the area.

Example 3: Matthew will be eligible for the vulnerable measure of income management as he will receive a CrP due to prison release. Matthew is also going to live in Playford, South Australia. As Matthew will receive a CrP, will be residing in an area where vulnerable income management is in place and will continue to receive an income support payment, he will be automatically income managed under the vulnerable measure. Matthew likes the help that income management provides. After remaining on the measure for 12 months, Matthew will leave the vulnerable measure of income management. Matthew can then participate in VIM if he chooses.

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020