3.11.5.70 Exemption for person undertaking a rehabilitation program

Introduction

A person receiving JSP who has a temporary incapacity for work or study and is undertaking a rehabilitation program may have an exemption from mutual obligation requirements, if they have a job or study to return to.

Criteria for exemption

A person qualifies for a mutual obligation rehabilitation program exemption if:

  • the person is incapacitated for work or study because of sickness or an accident
  • the incapacity is, or is likely to be, of a temporary nature
  • immediately before the incapacity occurred the person was
    • in employment and that employment is available to the person when the incapacity ends, or
    • receiving ABSTUDY or Austudy and the person is committed to resuming study when the incapacity ends
  • the rehabilitation program is intended to enhance the person's ability to work
  • the person is likely to undertake the rehabilitation program for at least 6 weeks, and
  • the person's participation in the rehabilitation program is likely to end within 208 weeks after JSP becomes payable.

Note: A person who ceases to meet all the above criteria (for example, the person no longer has that employment available after their recovery) stops being eligible for a mutual obligation rehabilitation program exemption. In this situation, the person may be eligible for a mutual obligation temporary incapacity exemption.

Rehabilitation program

For the purposes of SSAct subsection 602D(b), a person is regarded as undertaking a rehabilitation program when they are undertaking a planned series of activities that has been prescribed by an appropriate treating professional and forms part of a treatment plan. The rehabilitation program may be either vocational or non-vocational or a combination of both.

A vocational rehabilitation program is a managed process that provides an appropriate level of assistance, based on assessed needs, specifically aimed at assisting a person return to their employment. A vocational rehabilitation program may include activities such as a vocational assessment, guidance or counselling, a functional capacity assessment and vocational training.

A non-vocational rehabilitation program is a managed process that provides an appropriate level of assistance, based on assessed needs, that is not specifically employment related. A non-vocational rehabilitation program may include treatments and activities to assist a person with their life skills, behavioural issues and/or drug and alcohol dependency.

Note: Unless they qualify for a mutual obligation rehabilitation program exemption, JSP recipients would usually be unable to be exempt from their requirements if their incapacity is wholly or predominantly due to drug or alcohol misuse. However, participation in drug or alcohol rehabilitation may partially or fully meet a person's requirements.

Medical certificates

A person who meets the criteria for this mutual obligation exemption must provide a medical certificate to qualify for JSP but is not required to continue providing medical certificates while undertaking a vocational rehabilitation program.

A person must provide medical certificates while undertaking a non-vocational rehabilitation program.

Where a person's rehabilitation program includes both vocational and non-vocational activities, they will be required to provide medical certificates while undertaking the rehabilitation program.

Duration of exemption

The minimum period of the exemption is 6 weeks starting on the day the person commenced undertaking the rehabilitation program.

The maximum period of the exemption is 208 weeks after JSP becomes payable to the person.

Act reference: SSAct section 602D Relief from activity test–rehabilitation program, section 593(1)(a)(iii) Qualification for JSP

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020