3.1.7.10 Who is affected by an SWPP

Temporary exemption from the SWPP - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As part of the Australian Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SWPP does not apply from 25 March 2020 to 24 September 2020 to the following payments: JSP, PP, YA, Austudy, farm household allowance and SpB (nominated visa holders only).

A person already serving an SWPP at 25 March 2020 will no longer serve the waiting period and be backdated to the date of claim.

Note: Farm household allowance cannot be backdated to date of claim because it is not a payment under social security law covered by the relevant Instrument.

At the end of the exemption period, recipients do not have any remaining preclusion period to serve.

Explanation: An SWPP does not resume for a person in receipt of JSP, PP, YA, Austudy, farm household allowance and SpB at 24 September 2020.

Summary

People claiming certain social security payments MAY be subject to an SWPP (1.1.S.455) if they or their partner have engaged in seasonal work (1.1.S.60) or intermittent work (1.1.I.195) in the 6 months before lodging a claim.

The SWPP applies to the following payments:

  • jobseeker payment
  • partner allowance
  • YA (full-time student, Australian Apprentice and other)
  • austudy payment
  • disability support pension
  • carer payment
  • sickness allowance
  • widow allowance
  • SpB (nominated visa holders), and
  • parenting payment.

Note: SA closed to all new recipients on 20 March 2020 and ceases on 20 September 2020 (1.2.5.30).

Act reference: SSAct section 16A(1)-'seasonal work preclusion period'

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.7.20 SWPP Provisions

Payments the SWPP does NOT apply to

The SWPP does NOT apply to:

  • age pension
  • CP for a woman who transfers from WP under section 198AD
  • SpB (other than nominated visa holders), or
  • DSP (permanently blind).

Note: SpB cannot be paid to a claimant to whom JSP is not payable because of an SWPP, or who would not get JSP if they were to claim, because of an SWPP.

Act reference: SSAct section 729(2) Qualification for SpB

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Act 2018 Schedule 3 item 98(5) Saving and transitional provisions-WP

SWPP affected people & partners

CP (other than a woman who transfers from WP under section 198AD) and DSP claimants (other than the permanently blind) are subject to SWPP. Claimants for other pensions are not. If the non-affected pensioner has a partner who is subject to an SWPP, any earnings of the pensioner from seasonal or intermittent work, or during their partner's seasonal or intermittent work period, may be included in the calculation of an SWPP for the affected person. This is explained in the following table:

If the SWPP affected claimant … and the pension partner … then …
IS a seasonal/intermittent worker is NOT a seasonal/intermittent worker an SWPP applies. The SWPP calculation includes the pensioner's income during the partner's seasonal work period.
IS a seasonal/intermittent worker IS a seasonal/intermittent worker an SWPP applies. The SWPP calculation includes the pensioner's income during the partner's seasonal work period.
is NOT a seasonal/intermittent worker IS a seasonal/intermittent worker an SWPP MAY still apply. The SWPP calculation is based on the pensioner's seasonal work earnings and their partner's income during the seasonal work period.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.7.20 SWPP Provisions, 3.1.7.30 Calculating an SWPP

Overseas workers

If the seasonal/intermittent work occurs overseas, an SWPP can still be applied. The amount earned overseas is converted to Australian dollars, using the exchange rate that applied at the time the income was earned.

Exemption from an SWPP

A person may be exempt from the SWPP if they were an intermittent worker (as opposed to a seasonal worker) and were in receipt of income support payments for a continuous period exceeding 12 months on the day before the person commenced the intermittent work.

The exemption may apply whether or not the kind of payment received has changed over the period and whether any part of it occurred before or after 20 September 2006.

A person may also be exempted from an SWPP if the person is undertaking:

  • an activity as part of Stream C employment services, OR
  • a rehabilitation program (DES - DMS - see note below), OR
  • an activity as part of the CDP for a person who would otherwise have been referred to Stream C employment services or DES - DMS, if not for the person being placed in CDP.

Note: Under the definitions in the SSAct and the Disability Services Act 1986, a 'rehabilitation program' means DES - DMS.

People undertaking an activity as part of CDP will be eligible for the exemption based on their ESAt (1.1.E.104). The ESAt is used to determine a job seeker's barriers to employment, work capacity, and referral to an appropriate employment services program or stream. CDP participants may be exempt from the SWPP if their ESAt indicates that they would have been referred to Stream C or DES - DMS.

A person may also be exempted from the SWPP if the person is making a claim for JSP or YA within 14 weeks of their partner's death, or if the person was pregnant when their partner died, within 14 weeks of their partner's death or before the pregnancy ends, whichever is the longest period.

Act reference: SSAct section 16A(1)-'seasonal work', see paragraph (aa), section 553C(6) Exemption for death of person's partner (YA), section 633(6) Subsection (2) does not apply … (JSP)

Waiver of an SWPP

An SWPP can be waived if the claimant is in severe financial hardship and the hardship is a result of unavoidable or reasonable expenditure.

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.S.120 Severe financial hardship - assets test hardship, 1.1.S.125 Severe financial hardship - OWP, SWPP, LAWP, IMP, 3.1.7.80 Waiver of the SWPP

Last reviewed: 1 July 2020