126.96.36.199 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Exemptions - Parents & Foster Carers with Special Family Circumstances - Overview
This topic provides information on exemptions from mutual obligation requirements on the basis of special family circumstances for NSA/YA job seekers who are the principal carer of one or more dependent children, the main supporter of one or more secondary pupil children or an emergency and respite foster carer. If the parent has special family circumstances they may be granted an exemption, depending on the nature of their special family circumstances.
Principal carer and main supporter parents and emergency and respite foster carers on NSA or YA can be either considered for an exemption from all mutual obligation requirements (on a short or longer-term basis) or have a reduced level of mutual obligation requirements and negotiate flexible arrangements to meet these requirements.
Note: A non-principal carer who is, a registered and active foster carer, providing foster care to a child temporarily in an emergency or to give respite to another person from caring for the child will automatically be granted an exemption for special family circumstances.
Types of exemption
There are 2 types of special family circumstance exemptions for principal carer and main supporter parent and emergency or respite foster carer job seekers:
- exemptions granted on an automatic basis, and
- exemptions assessed and granted on a case-by-case basis.
For both exemption types, the job seeker is required to provide documentation that substantiates the existence and nature of the special family circumstance. In the case of automatic exemptions, once adequate verification is provided, an exemption must be immediately granted. The only discretion involved is setting the duration of the exemption.
A further step is required for the assessment of case-by-case exemptions. Once the existence and nature of a special family circumstance is verified, consideration must be given to the practical impact of this circumstance upon the job seeker's capacity to undertake the requirements outlined in their Job Plan. In making this determination, primary regard must be given to the extent to which the job seeker's child/ren or secondary pupil child/ren is/are able to attend school, and if necessary, outside school hours care, without the job seeker being constantly on hand or on call. Supporting statements of the THP and/or school (wherever information from these sources is appropriate) should be considered.
Further information on the assessment of exemptions for specific special family circumstances is contained in separate Guide references.
Rate of payment for automatic exemptions
Single principal carer parent job seekers who are granted an automatic exemption (of up to 12 months) under SSAct section 602C(3) and 602C(3A) or section 542FA(3) and 542FA(3A) will be paid a higher rate of NSA/YA for the duration of the exemption. This means that single principal carer parents who are granted an exemption due to foster caring, home schooling, facilitating distance education, caring for a large family or caring under a family law order for a child to whom they are related but are not the parent, will be paid an NSA/YA rate that matches the rate paid under PPS.
However, those single principal carer parent job seekers granted an exemption (of up to 12 months) for caring for a child with a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability or illness will not be paid this higher rate of NSA/YA.
Single parents granted an automatic exemption due to home schooling and distance education as main supporters of secondary pupil children will not be granted the higher rate of NSA/YA for the duration of the exemption. Exemptions regarding kinship care and emergency respite foster care also do not result in the higher rate of NSA/YA.
Act reference: SSAct section 1068-B5 Maximum basic rate for certain NSA recipients, section 1067G-B3A Despite point 1067G-B3
Special family circumstances of other kinds
Neither this topic, nor 188.8.131.52 nor 184.108.40.206 provide an exhaustive list of all types of special family circumstances for which an exemption from mutual obligation requirements may be obtained for principal carer and main supporter parent job seekers. For special family circumstances other than those discussed in this topic, the delegate should rely on the following principle when making a determination:
- once the existence and nature of a special family circumstance is verified, consideration must be given to the practical impact of this circumstance upon the principal carer/main supporter parent's capacity to look for or undertake part-time paid employment of 15 hours a week or to participate in a suitable combination of approved activities,
- in most cases regard should be given to the extent to which the principal carer/main supporter parent's child/ren or secondary pupil child/ren is/are able to attend school, and if necessary, outside school hours care, without the principal carer/main supporter parent being constantly at hand or on call, and
- supporting statements of the THP and/or school (wherever information from these sources is appropriate) should be considered.
Act reference: SSAct section 5E Relatives (other than parents), section 602B Relief from activity test-domestic violence etc. (NSA), section 602C Relief from activity test-people with disabled children and other circumstances (NSA), section 542F Domestic violence or other special family circumstances exemption (YA), section 542H Special circumstances exemption (YA)
Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.P.412 Principal carer, 220.127.116.11 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Exemptions - Special Circumstances, 18.104.22.168 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Exemptions - Principal Carer Parents with Special Family Circumstances - Case-by-Case Exemptions, 1.1.M.10 Main supporter (PP, NSA, YA, SpB), 1.1.S.66 Secondary pupil child