3.1.4.30 Payment after Release

Summary

Some people may be eligible for immediate assistance when they are released from prison or psychiatric confinement. The assistance that they may receive includes:

  • crisis payment, and
  • an early payment of pension or benefit.

Explanation: This assistance recognises the difficulties a person may experience in providing for themselves and any dependants, when they are initially trying to re-establish themselves in the community following imprisonment.

Crisis payment

A CrP can be made to a person:

  • for whom a social security pension or a social security benefit is payable, AND
  • who is in severe financial hardship, AND
  • who have been in prison or psychiatric confinement, as a result of being charged for committing an offence, for 14 days or more, AND
  • who claims CrP within 7 days after release from prison or psychiatric confinement.

CrP CANNOT be paid to a person whose imprisonment or confinement was not as a result of being charged with committing an offence.

Example: An alcoholic who has asked to be taken into protective custody for a short period is not eligible for CrP on release.

Explanation: A person who has not been charged with an offence is not considered to have been imprisoned.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061JG Qualification-release from gaol or psychiatric confinement, section 23(5) For the purposes of this Act, a person is in gaol if…

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.7.4 CrP - qualification & payability

Early payment of first instalment of pension or benefit

Pensioners and beneficiaries released from prison have the same eligibility for an advance payment of social security pension or benefit in the case of severe financial hardship as any other person. This early payment will be recovered from the person's first instalment. As a matter of policy, no more than 7 days of the first instalment should be paid early with CrP. If the number of days from the person's release from prison to the first payday is less than 7 days, then the lesser number of days is the maximum that can be paid.

Early claims enabling payment of social security pension or benefit

A person in prison or psychiatric confinement may make a claim for CrP and a social security pension or social security benefit up to 3 weeks before their release date. Where a person is being released from prison outside usual working hours, or in a remote location, this will allow their claim/s to be processed, granted and their entitlement paid to them at the prison in anticipation of their qualification on release from prison. The start day for payment will be the day of release from prison.

If a person has received their payment in anticipation of their release and is not released on their expected release day, or for some other reason the payment is NOT payable on the day of their release, the payment becomes a recoverable debt.

Establishing the rate of CrP when the young person was in receipt of YA prior to imprisonment

CrP should be paid at the rate prior to imprisonment, provided the young person's circumstances have not changed.

Below are some examples that may be used to enable a YA recipient to be paid CrP in a timely manner. When assessing a young person for YA it is important that the usual Centrelink procedures are followed and, where necessary, social workers are involved.

Example 1: Young person was receiving YA prior to imprisonment at the maximum 'away from home' rate. If unable to establish rate in a timely manner, pay CrP at the appropriate maximum away from home rate - provided young person still claims they qualify for the away from home rate. Follow-up and verify the young person's claim by the end of the first pay period. Parents should be contacted during the assessment of a claim for the maximum away from home rate unless there are very good reasons not to do so.

Example 2: Young person claims they are now independent and living away from home but prior to imprisonment were receiving YA at the 'at home' reduced rate due to the parental means test. If unable to establish rate in a timely manner, pay CrP at the 'at home' reduced rate. Follow-up and verify the young person's claim by the end of the first pay period.

Establishing the rate of CrP when a young person has no previous Centrelink record prior to imprisonment

Example: Young person qualifies for YA on release and claims to be independent, (prior to imprisonment they were living away from home and working and supporting themselves). If unable to establish rate in a timely manner, pay CrP at the appropriate maximum 'away from home' rate. Evidence may be sought from previous employment, rental payment, etc. Follow-up and verify the young person's claim by the end of the first pay period.

Early claims for other social security payments

A person in prison or psychiatric confinement may make an early claim for certain other social security payments up to 3 weeks before the day on which the person becomes qualified for the payment. These other social security payments are:

  • carer allowance,
  • family tax benefit,
  • double orphan pension,
  • mobility allowance,
  • pensioner education supplement,
  • education entry payment,
  • fares allowance, and
  • telephone allowance.

Qualification and payability of released prisoners are detailed in the relevant topic (3.7.4).

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 51 Advance in case of severe financial hardship, section 13 Deemed claim, section 35 Claims by persons in gaol etc., Schedule 2 clause 3 Start day - general rule, Schedule 2 clause 4(3) … detained person makes a claim…, Schedule 2 clause 4(4) Subclause (3) does not have effect…

SSAct section 1223 Debts arising from lack of qualification, overpayment etc.

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.1.1.80 Claims from Prisoners

Last reviewed: 21 September 2015