3.2.5.30 Unreasonable to Live at Home (YA, DSP & SpB)

Criteria for unreasonable to live at home

Young people are considered to be independent for YA, DSP and SpB purposes if they cannot live at the home of either or both their parents (1.1.P.20) because:

  • of extreme family breakdown or other similar exceptional circumstances, OR
  • it would be unreasonable to expect the person to do so as there would be a serious risk to his or her physical or mental well-being due to violence including family violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or other similar unreasonable circumstances, OR
  • their parents are unable to provide the young person with a home because they lack stable accommodation.

Where a young person is deemed to be independent for YA, DSP and SpB purposes on the basis that it is unreasonable for them to live at home, consideration should also be given to the young person's eligibility for CrP.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'parent', section 1067A(9) Unreasonable to live at home

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.5.40 Assessment of Extreme Family Breakdown & Other Similar Exceptional Circumstances, 3.2.5.50 Assessment of Serious Risk, 3.2.5.60 Parents Unable to Provide a Home (YA, DSP & SpB), 3.2.6 YA at the Away from Home Rate, 3.7.4.20 Qualification for CrP - Extreme Circumstances (domestic & family violence)

Support for the young person - parents/long term guardians

If a young person is receiving continuous financial or other support from parents or another person acting as a long-term guardian, they CANNOT be considered independent under this category.

'Continuous' support is not tied to any specific period of time, nor to a specified amount or type of support and may be direct or indirect, financial or otherwise.

In order to be considered continuous support the support must, when considered in the context of the young person's situation, taking into account other support they receive, allow for the young person's basic needs. Basic needs includes, for example, food, accommodation, clothing and utilities. Continuous support must be regular and/or stable support that enables the young person to have a reasonable expectation that it will be received. Consideration should be given to the nature and intention of the support, that is, whether it is continuous rather than emergency in nature and intent, and whether it shows on-going concern for the young person.

Example: Continuous support may include regular payments, which may include, but are not limited to payments for school fees, regular provision of food, meals and subsidised accommodation.

Where an offer is made to provide financial or other support to a young person by a parent or another person who has previously acted as a guardian on a long term basis but not provided continuous support, consideration should be made as to the reliability of the offer. In particular, it must be confirmed that the support will be regular and/or stable and that the young person has a reasonable expectation that it will be received, including based on having previously received such support.

In considering whether support qualifies as continuous support decision makers must have regard to all the circumstances of the case when making their decision.

Example: Jane is estranged from her mother and is unable to live with her. However her mother provides her with $20 per week, which Jane uses to assist in supporting herself. As this amount is clearly inadequate for Jane to meet her basic needs, it would not be considered continuous support.

Situations where parents have separated

Where a young person's parents are separated and an assessment has found it is unreasonable for the young person to live at the home of the parent they have normally lived with, an assessment should be made if it is reasonable for the young person to live with their other parent. In exceptional circumstances, it may be unreasonable for the young person to live with the other parent. Such exceptional circumstances may include situations where:

  • the other parent does not meet the definition of a parent for the purposes of the parental income test, and
  • either:
    • it has been verified that there has been no parental concern for the young person for at least the past 2 years, or
    • the young person would be considered as qualifying for the 'away from home' rate of payment based on the home circumstances of the other parent.

In such exceptional circumstances the young person would be considered independent.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'parent', section 1067A(9) Unreasonable to live at home

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.5.40 Assessment of Extreme Family Breakdown & Other Similar Exceptional Circumstances, 3.2.5.50 Assessment of Serious Risk, 3.2.5.60 Parents Unable to Provide a Home (YA, DSP & SpB), 3.2.6 YA at the Away from Home Rate, 3.7.4.20 Qualification for CrP - Extreme Circumstances (domestic & family violence)

Support for young person - Commonwealth, state or territory

If a young person is receiving payments in the nature of income support (other than a social security benefit) on a continuous basis from an Australian Government department or an instrumentality of a state or territory government they cannot be considered independent under this category.

In this context, income support is considered to be payments received directly or indirectly by the young person intended to meet, or to assist in meeting, their general living costs regardless of whether it is adequate for this purpose. Such payments can be considered to be continuing where they are received on a regular basis and the young person has a reasonable expectation that they will be available for a reasonable period of time.

Example: Provision of board and lodgings on a long term basis would be regarded as income support.

Support provided by an Australian Government department or an instrumentality of a state or territory government that is not regarded as continuing income support is not relevant in the assessment of independence.

Example: Emergency payments or payment made by a government department to a temporary caregiver or accommodation provider are not regarded as income support.

Young people who are considered independent under this category, are subject to ongoing provisions about 'continuous support' and receipt of other government payments, which may affect the rate of YA, DSP and SpB payable.

'At risk' young people who do not meet the 'unreasonable to live at home' criteria

If a dependent full-time secondary student living at home aged less than 18 years is not benefiting from the FTB payment made to their parents on their behalf, a social worker may determine that the young person can apply for YA.

A young person in this situation is not considered to be independent, however, in making the determination that the young person's situation does not meet the 'unreasonable to live at home' provisions, the social worker may determine that the young person is not benefiting from the FTB payment being made to their parents on their behalf and that the young person can apply for YA as a dependent student to ensure they are not at risk of discontinuing full-time study while living in the parental home.

Failure to assist a young person in this situation may place them at risk of disengaging from education as a result of the parent using the FTB for purposes other than providing support to the young person while living in the parental home and studying.

Dependent full-time secondary students living at home who are aged 18 years or more may apply for, and directly receive, YA in their own right, even if their parents currently receive FTB for them. Dependent young people who remain in the parental home deemed eligible to apply for YA prior to their 18th birthday are still subject to the YA parental income test.

Act reference: SSAct section 543A(2AA) Paragraph (2)(b) does not apply to a person who is aged…

Last reviewed: 2 July 2018