188.8.131.52 Stability of residence exemption for under 18s
Circumstances of exemption
This exemption may be available to young people who are homeless and unable to obtain stable accommodation. This would also apply to young people leaving the state care and protection system.
DHS officers have discretion to determine on an individual basis, what constitutes unstable accommodation. The main factor influencing this is whether the person is in a position to maintain attendance in a course, given their circumstances. Unstable accommodation would generally be characterised by:
- a lack of access to basic amenities, such as running water and power,
- a lack of access to facilities, such as telephone and personal transport, and/or
- loss of a support network, particularly the family support network.
Examples: Living on the streets, in a hostel or refuge, or moving from house to house every 2 or 3 weeks.
Duration of exemption
The young person can be given an exemption for up to 13 weeks. The exemption can be extended for:
- very marginalised young people, OR
- young people attending counselling, OR
- young people involved in other programs.
Activity test (1.1.M.160) requirements
An EPP is required, UNLESS the young person has been exempted from the activity test. Activities may include part-time education or training, job search or other activities. If the young person is undertaking counselling or mediation or other community programs, and these are considered appropriate to their circumstances, then they can be approved activities.
Early school leavers (1.1.E.05) who are living in unstable accommodation and are unable to study or undertake training full-time are still expected to undertake education or training or other activities appropriate to their capacity. Activities may include participation in part-time education or training or other approved activities, such as counselling or mediation.
Act reference: SSAct section 543A(2A)(i) … is homeless and unable to…, section 543A(2B) If the following circumstances exist…, section 544DA(5) Youth Allowance Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers, section 542H Special circumstances exemption, section 542 Situations in which a person is not required to satisfy the activity test