3.2.1.80 Variable Reporting for NSA

Allowing variable reporting

People can be allowed to lodge their Statement Reports at intervals other than fortnightly. This is known as variable reporting.

Where a person fails to return the report (for variable reporting periods only) a debt under the social security law may occur.

Factors to consider

Before people can be placed on variable reporting, the Secretary must be satisfied that:

  • the person may be reasonably expected to satisfy the qualification requirements of NSA, AND
  • it is reasonable to expect that NSA will be payable to the person for the period, AND
  • the person will comply with the Act during the period, AND
  • the person meets one or more of the allowable eligibility situations (further detail below).

Allowable eligibility situations

People may be eligible for variable reporting if:

  • they have been granted an exemption from their mutual obligation requirements due to lodging a claim for DSP, OR
  • they live in a remote community and are participating in certain approved activities, OR
  • they are undertaking the Adult Migrant English Program, OR
  • they have a current refugee exemption, OR
  • the Secretary considers variable reporting arrangements are appropriate in the person's circumstances.

In addition to satisfying one of the above, the person must satisfy the other requirements for variable reporting (see below for situations in which a person may not satisfy these other requirements).

Situations of doubtful eligibility

The Secretary may consider the following situations as indicative that the person cannot reasonably be expected to satisfy the qualification requirements of NSA, it is not reasonable to expect that NSA will be payable to the person for the period or the person will not comply with the Act during the period. The person:

  • is required to provide additional evidence that they satisfy the mutual obligation requirements, OR
  • has been unemployed and receiving NSA for less than 12 weeks unless they are aged over 55 (see exception 1), OR
  • has incurred overpayments through failing to comply with provisions of the Act (see example 1), OR
  • has contravened the Act (see example 1), OR
  • has changed address in circumstances likely to affect their qualification for NSA (see example 2), OR
  • has had changes in domestic circumstances that are likely to affect their qualification for NSA (see example 3), OR
  • is enrolled in part-time study, OR
  • is indebted to the Commonwealth under the Act (see exception 2).

Example 1: The person has a history of non-compliance through multiple failures to satisfy their mutual obligation requirements or notify Centrelink of changes in their circumstances.

Example 2: The person has moved to an area of lower employment prospects.

Example 3: The person has recently partnered and their partner's income may affect the rate payable.

Exception 1: Most people would not be approved for variable reporting before the 12 week point. Some relevant circumstances to consider are whether the person is:

  • incapacitated, OR
  • aged 55 and over, OR
  • transferring from a pension, benefit or allowance, OR
  • living in a remote community.

Exception 2: The following are exceptions to the rules regarding debts to the Commonwealth:

  • the debts were incurred by another person, such as a partner, OR
  • a systems fault produced dual entitlement, OR
  • the debts were other Australian Government department debts, CDEP debts, or fully repaid.

Act reference: SSAct section 600 Prospective determinations for some allowance recipients

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.1.70 Notification & Recipient Obligations for NSA

Last reviewed: 1 July 2015