220.127.116.11 Suitable Activity - Defence Force Reserves
Defence Force reservists can perform reserve training, reserve service or, on some occasions, continuous full-time service (including as an activity to meet their annual activity requirement - refer 3.2.10). Depending on what type of service a reservist is undertaking, it may affect their entitlement to payment. In most cases there will be some effect on their mutual obligation requirements AND, in some cases, the income test. There are also situations that can mean that the job seeker is no longer regarded as unemployed and therefore their payments will be cancelled.
Defence Force Reserve training
All recipients of income support undertaking a training camp in the Defence Force Reserves are taken to satisfy their mutual obligation requirements. This means that while they are participating in the training camp they are meeting their mutual obligation requirements and are not required to meet additional job search requirements.
A training camp is a programmed camp or a related training activity, and can include:
- induction and employment training courses for new recruits,
- a compulsory annual camp, which can last between 2 and 4 weeks, AND
- training courses, subsequent continuation or on-the-job training and other recognised training activities.
Attendance at a programmed training camp or recognised training activity is usually verified by the equivalent of a signed training notice or signal notice. Where a training notice is not issued a reservist must produce authorised documentary evidence of the training activity. If the activity cannot be verified as training, it should be regarded as service and the rules below apply.
Note: The issuing of a training notice depends on whether the reservist is serving in the Army, Air Force or Navy. This means that different documentation will be provided by each of the services.
Job seekers who are attending an Armed Forces Reserves training camp overseas may be granted an approved overseas absence exemption for the length of their camp.
Defence Force Reserve service
A reservist who undertakes Reserve service may continue to receive payment depending on the hours of service. Reserve service is where a reservist receives tax-free salary paid on a daily rate.
Reserve service of less than 35 hours per week
Reservists who undertake Reserve service of less than 35 hours per week are able to maintain qualification for payment. Reservists who are undertaking service MUST notify DHS and/or their employment services provider so that they can have this activity included in their Job Plan. Those doing between 20 and 35 hours per week will need to meet other requirements in their Job Plan, including job search requirements (18.104.22.168).
Reserve service of 35 or more hours per week
Reservists who undertake Reserve service of 35 hours or more per week are able to maintain qualification for payment for a maximum of 12 weeks during any 12-month period. After 12 weeks, whether service is continuous or cumulative, payment will be cancelled as the reservist will be considered employed.
This activity MUST be included in the reservist's Job Plan.
Note: Reserve service of 35 or more hours per week should only be suitable as an activity to satisfy requirements for those reservists who have been on payment for 3 months or more. This is to avoid the possibility of reservists leaving paid work to attend full-time Reserve service and claim payment in order to take advantage of this policy.
Principal carer parents & Defence Force Reserve training
Principal carers engaged in Defence Force Reserve training of at least 30 hours a fortnight in accordance with their Job Plan are taken to satisfy their requirements and are not required to look for additional work. Principal carer parents engaged in continuous full-time service may be considered to be employed.
If a principal carer parent is engaged in regular paid Reserve duty for 30 hours a fortnight then they have fully met their mutual obligation requirements. They are no longer required to undertake job search or any other activities. Principal carer parents who are fully meeting their requirements are not required to remain connected to an employment services provider. If the principal carer parent's regular Reserve duty is less than 30 hours a fortnight then they must undertake additional suitable activities, reflected in their Job Plan, to satisfy their mutual obligation requirements for a total of at least 30 hours per fortnight.
Under the provisions of SSAct section 8(8)(w), income from Reserve service is exempt from the income test. However, income earned from Reserve service during 'continuous full-time service' (1.1.C.335) is not exempt and is assessable under the income test.
Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general
Continuous full-time service
A reservist undertaking continuous full-time service is considered employed and therefore loses eligibility to NSA or YA. Income earned during continuous full-time service is assessable under the income test.
Mutual Obligation Requirements
NSA, YA (job seeker)
|Defence Force Reserve training||None.||Signed training notice, training signal, notice of annual camp or equivalent.||Satisfies requirements.||Exempt.|
|Defence Force Reserve service (20 but less than 35 hours per week)||None.||Signed training notice, training signal, notice of annual camp or equivalent.||Needs to be included in Job Plan. Job seeker will need to meet other requirements in their Job Plan.||Exempt.|
|Defence Force Reserve service (of 35 or more hours per week)||Not approved during first 3 months of NSA. 12 weeks in any 12-month period.||Signed training notice, training signal, notice of annual camp or equivalent.||If in excess of 12 weeks per annum, payment is cancelled.
Must be included in Job Plan.
|Defence Force Reserve continuous full-time service||Cannot receive NSA or YA as regarded as in normal full-time employment.||Must advise within 14 days of commencement of service.||Considered to be in continuous full-time employment - cancel payments.||Subject to the usual income test.|
Act reference: SSAct section 541(1AA) Persons who comply with Employment Pathway Plan, section 601(4A) Activity test, section 603(1) Relief from activity test-general, section 542G Training camp exemption, section 606 Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 607 Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-principal carers, section 607A Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-people with partial capacity to work, section 607B Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-requirement to participate in an approved program of work, section 544B Youth Allowance Employment Pathway Plans-terms
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 Suitable Activity - Principal Carer