3.2.1.10 Qualification for NSA

Summary

This topic outlines the qualification criteria for NSA and the following subjects that relate to qualification:

  • people with a partial capacity to work (1.1.P.65),
  • principal carers (1.1.P.412),
  • NSA SCV holders, and
  • requirement for a proper claim.

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for NSA a person must meet ALL of the criteria listed in the following table. Where more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More Detail
ALL of the following
Be unemployed (1.1.U.30), AND

Explanation: The term unemployed is very specifically defined for this purpose and has particular meaning in relation to qualification of people with a partial capacity to work or who are principal carers (see below table for more detail). In certain circumstances, people who are in paid work can still be considered unemployed for NSA.

3.2.2 Who is Unemployed for NSA?
Satisfy the activity test (1.1.M.160), AND

Explanation: This is the legislative term used to describe a person's participation requirements and obligations to satisfy the terms of their individual EPP. Requiring job seekers to meet the activity test means that Centrelink and employment services providers can be sure that they are actively looking for work and doing everything that they can to become ready for work, or are participating in the paid labour market to the extent required.

3.2.8 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers

3.2.9 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Suitable Activities

3.2.9.210 Suitable Activity - Principal Carer

Satisfy the terms of EPPs (1.1.J.25) they have entered into, AND

Explanation: All job seekers without an activity test exemption receiving NSA or YA must enter into an EPP specifying what they will need to do to meet their activity test requirements and the help they will receive to get work.

3.2.8 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers

3.2.9 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Suitable Activities

3.2.11 Mutual obligation requirements for NSA/YA - exemptions

Be 22 years or over but under age pension age, AND SSAct section 23(5A) to section 23(5D)
Be an Australian resident, OR a certain SCV holder currently in Australia, AND

3.1.1 Residence Requirements

This topic

Not be subject to an AoS.

Explanation: An AoS is a commitment by one or more Australian residents to provide financial support to a new resident and repay the Commonwealth certain social security payments, if such payments are made to the new resident while the AoS is in force.

1.1.A.310 Assuree, assurer, assurance of support, assurance of support security

Act reference: SSAct section 23(5A) Pension age, section 23(5B) A woman born before 1 July 1935 reaches pension age when…, section 23(5C) A woman born within the period specified…, section 23(5D) A woman born during the period specified…, section 593 Qualification for NSA, section 7(2) An Australian resident is…

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.G.58 Grandfathering arrangements (NSA) pre 1 July 2012

People with a partial capacity to work

ESAts or JCAs inform whether a person has a partial capacity to work. ESAts or JCAs may also inform the types of activities a NSA recipient will be required to undertake to their capacity in order to meet activity test requirements.

For NSA purposes a recipient has a partial capacity to work if they have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment and they are assessed as being unable to work, or to be trained for work of, at least 30 hours a week independently of support within the next 2 years.

A recipient's work capacity at the time of assessment and work capacity within 2 years with intervention will be determined via an ESAt or JCA. Work capacity is assessed in bandwidths of 0-7 hours per week, 8-14 hours per week, 15-22 hours per week, 23-29 hours per week or 30 plus hours per week.

Payment eligibility and activity test requirements are based on a recipient's work capacity within 2 years with intervention.

The exception to this is when a person has a degenerative condition and their 'work capacity within 2 years with intervention' is less than their work capacity at the time of assessment. In this case, payment eligibility and activity test requirements are based on 'work capacity at the time of assessment'.

Job seekers with a 'work capacity within 2 years with intervention' of 30 or more hours per week are not considered to have a partial capacity to work.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.8 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers, 1.1.E.104 Employment services assessment (ESAt)

Principal carers in receipt of NSA

Job seekers classified under SSAct section 5 as a principal carer of a child must, unless exempted, satisfy the activity test by complying with approved activities outlined in their EPP.

A principal carer will meet their participation requirements if they are looking for suitable paid work where the work is of at least 30 hours per fortnight, and participating in any other activities as specified in their EPP.

A principal carer can also choose to fully meet their requirements by undertaking 30 hours per fortnight of (or any combination of) suitable paid work, approved study (where the total number of hours includes contact and non-contact hours) and in some circumstances voluntary work. If the principal carer is not fully meeting their requirements in this way they will generally be required to look for suitable work or undertake other suitable activities as part of their EPP until their requirements are met.

Principal carer job seekers who are meeting their requirements through paid work, study or a combination of paid work and study for a total of at least 30 hours per fortnight are not required to remain connected to their employment services provider or accept any offers of suitable paid work.

Principal carers who are undertaking approved study, by itself or in combination with other suitable activities, who do not fully meet their requirements will be required to accept any suitable paid work that fits around any study that is outlined in their EPP, and is appropriate in respect of their caring responsibilities.

Principal carers who are undertaking voluntary work by itself or in combination with other suitable activities to meet the activity test must remain connected to an employment services provider.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'principal carer'

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.8.20 Who Do Mutual Obligation Requirements Apply to?, 3.2.8.30 What Is a Job Plan?, 3.2.9.210 Suitable Activity - Principal Carer

Residence exemption - one-off period of NSA for SCV holders from New Zealand

New Zealand citizens who are the holders of an SCV who arrived in Australia at any time on or after 26 February 2001 and do not meet the definition of an Australian resident for social security purposes can qualify for NSA under certain circumstances.

New Zealand citizens who are SCV holders may be exempt from the residence requirements and able to qualify for a one-off period of payment for up to 6 months of either SA, NSA or YA (subject to other qualification requirements) if:

  • they are the holder of an SCV, and
  • immediately before claiming they have resided in Australia continuously for at least 10 years, which commenced on or after 26 February 2001.

Note: No applicant will be able to meet the conditions of this provision until 26 February 2011.

The 6 month period does not start until any relevant waiting and/or preclusion/exclusion periods have been served and payments commence.

Transfer between payments is not permitted under this residence exemption. For example, a person in receipt of NSA by virtue of this exemption would not be able to transfer to SA.

A temporary absence such as a holiday does not mean that a person ceases to reside in Australia and can be included in the 10 years.

SSAct section 38B may be applied to treat a person in certain circumstances as having received an income support payment in respect of the continuous 6 month period even though the person did not actually receive such a payment during a part or parts of the period, for example due to employment income.

To qualify and retain qualification for payment under this residence exemption the person must be the holder of a non-protected SCV. If a person is granted a different visa they will no longer qualify under these provisions, and must serve the NARWP before they may re-qualify for SA, NSA or YA.

An SCV holder who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 is a protected SCV holder, and may be regarded as an Australian resident. For more information regarding protected SCV holders, refer to 3.1.1.10.

Act reference: SSAct section 593 Qualification for NSA, section 7(7) For the purposes of paragraph 540(d)…, section 38B Notional continuous period of receipt of income support payments, section 23(1)-'waiting period'

Policy reference: SS Guide 9.1.2.40 New Zealand citizens, 3.1.1.10 Residence requirements, 3.1.2 Waiting & Preclusion Periods, 3.1.2.40 Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP)

Last reviewed: 20 March 2019