126.96.36.199 Assessment & mandatory procedures for YA, DSP & SpB - unreasonable to live at home
Mandatory procedures in assessment
All assessments for independent status under the 'unreasonable to live at home' (UTLAH) category must follow a number of mandatory procedures.
Explanation: The procedures result from ministerial directions and related government policies on the way assessments should be conducted for homeless youth.
The mandatory procedures are as follows:
- personal contact with recipients
- contact with parents unless
- the young person refuses permission, or
- there are circumstances of family violence, neglect or abuse, or
- if contact with the parent presents a severe risk to the young person or others such as siblings, or
- it has been verified that there has been no parental concern for at least the past 2 years
- privacy provisions governing the release of information about homeless recipients where this is in the public interest.
The following mandatory procedures also apply for people under 18 years of age:
- independent third party verification of the circumstances claimed
Example: Contact with grandparents, school counsellors, religious leaders.
- referral to a state/territory welfare department in certain circumstances
- referral to a Reconnect Service where available and appropriate, and
- intensive follow up of all UTLAH recipients identified through the social work assessment as being at high risk.
Assessment for under 18 year olds
All assessments of eligibility for independent status based on UTLAH provisions for students and unemployed people under 18 years, will always be conducted by a DHS social worker. This assessment must include the following:
- referral for appropriate support, including to relevant government and community facilities
- assessment of whether the young person can be regarded as independent under social security legislation, policy guidelines and related procedures, AND
- ongoing social worker contact with severely disadvantaged or vulnerable people, especially those aged under 16 years.
Assessment for over 18 year olds
Assessment of independent status based on UTLAH provisions for students and other young people aged 18 years or older, will be conducted by a DHS officer, with support from a DHS social worker if required.
Third party statements will be required for claimants aged 18 years or older if there is doubt about the reason/s the young person is unable to live at home, for example:
- when claimants and their parent/s provide conflicting statements regarding the reason the young person is unable to live at home, or
- the DHS assessor has reason to believe the claimant and their parent/s may be colluding to deliberately misrepresent their circumstances to DHS in order to claim independent status based on UTLAH provisions.
Referral to a state/territory welfare department
Social workers should refer a young person to a state/territory welfare department if they are:
- under 15 years of age and homeless or unsupported
- under 18 years of age and in the guardianship, care or custody of a state/territory welfare department, or
- aged 15 to 17 years (inclusive) and considered to be at risk of abuse, serious harm or violence.
YA and DSP claims from people referred to a state/territory welfare department can then be progressed against the independent status provisions. If the young person is under a state or territory court, ministerial or departmental order or direction, claims should be assessed under separate 'state care' independence provisions. If the young person is not under such an order or direction, they may be assessed under the UTLAH provisions.
SpB claims from people referred to a state/territory welfare department who are under 15 years of age or under 18 years of age and in the guardianship, care or custody of a state/territory welfare department should not be progressed until the outcome of the referral is known.
Act reference: SSAct section 1067A(9) Unreasonable to live at home
Policy reference: SS Guide 188.8.131.52 Unreasonable to live at home (YA, DSP & SpB), 184.108.40.206 Assessment of extreme family breakdown & other similar exceptional circumstances, 220.127.116.11 Assessment of serious risk, 18.104.22.168 Parents unable to provide a home (YA, DSP & SpB), 22.214.171.124 SpB for young people under 18 years of age