3.3.4.40 Austudy & Students with Disabilities

Summary

This topic describes the following Austudy issues relating to students with disabilities (1.1.D.160):

  • concessional study-load for students with disabilities (1.1.C.290),
  • part-time study (1.1.P.100),
  • allowable time concession (1.1.C.290),
  • how the 25% concessional study-load is measured,
  • what happens when a recipient stops studying, or studies less than a 25% load, and
  • time concessions for previous study.

Concessional study-load

Secondary and tertiary students who have a substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability and therefore CANNOT undertake the normal amount of full-time study (1.1.F.230) may be able to undertake 25% of the normal amount of full-time study for the course and still receive Austudy. To be eligible for Austudy payments while undertaking 25% concessional study-load, a person must provide evidence that:

  • an officer in the CRS or an appropriate medical practitioner who has a detailed knowledge of the person's physical condition has stated in writing that:
    • the person has a substantial physical disability, and
    • the person cannot successfully undertake the normal amount of full-time study in respect of the course because of the disability, or
  • a medical practitioner specialising in psychiatry has stated in writing that:
    • the person has a substantial psychiatric disability, and
    • the person cannot successfully undertake the normal amount of full-time study in respect of the course because of the disability, or
  • a psychologist who is registered with the Board established under the law of a state or territory that registers psychologists has stated in writing that the person:
    • is intellectually disabled, and
    • cannot successfully undertake the normal amount of full-time study in respect of the course because of the disability.

Act reference: SSAct section 569D(2) For the purposes of this Subdivision…, 569D(4) Subsection (2) applies to a person if…

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.C.290 Concessional study-load student (Austudy, PES, YA)

Part-time study

A person who has a disability CAN also study in a course offered on a part-time basis, if the study-load is 25% or more of the normal amount of full-time study for that course and if the person is eligible for concessional study-load.

Act reference: SSAct section 569H(5) Time spent by a person studying part-time

Allowable time concession

TERTIARY STUDENTS who are 25% concessional study-load students also receive twice the minimum period to complete the course as a full-time student and may be approved UP TO 4 times the normal duration of:

  • a full-time course, OR
  • the comparable full-time course if the course is offered part-time.

How is 25% concessional study-load measured?

The following table describes how the 25% study-load concession is measured for tertiary and secondary students with disabilities.

If the recipient is… And… Then they are studying 25% or more of a normal concessional study-load if…
a secondary student, the course is at a school, the school certifies this to be the case.
a secondary OR tertiary student, the institution has defined a normal amount of full-time study for the course, they study at least 25% of normal amount of full-time study.
a secondary OR tertiary student, the institution has not defined normal amount of full-time study,
  • they study at least 25% of an amount equivalent to the average amount of full-time study that is normally required by the institution for a full-time student, OR
  • they have at least 5 hours study per week, 25% of 20 hours (non-class work is normally not included in measuring the study-load).

Recipient stops studying or study-load falls below 25%

Austudy is NOT payable, if a concessional study-load recipient (1.1.C.290) stops studying, or varies subjects during a course so that their study-load falls to BELOW 25% of the normal amount of full-time tertiary or secondary study and they fail to demonstrate that they intend to continue studying at the 25% level when re-enrolments in the course are next accepted or sooner.

When considering if the student has demonstrated whether they intend to continue study in the future, the decision maker should take into account all factors that may have affected the student's ability to meet the 25% concessional study-load, the likely duration and the impact these factors may have on the student's intention to re-enrol and study in the near future. They may include:

  • short-term homelessness or unstable accommodation,
  • temporary psychiatric problems or mental illness,
  • temporary cognitive or neurological impairment,
  • short-term physical illness of self or child,
  • unexpected caring requirements,
  • death of an immediate family member.

Calculating previous study when the student did not have a disability

For tertiary students, all previous study undertaken by them at the same tertiary level when the student did not have a disability is calculated under the standard minimum time rules relevant to that type of study.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.3.4.70 Austudy & Progress Rules for Tertiary Study

Concessions for previous study

A person who has a disability applying for a minimum time concession are also able to have previous tertiary study disregarded, under the same rules as other recipients.

Act reference: SSAct section 569D Concessional study-load students, section 569H Progress rules-tertiary students

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.3.4.80 Austudy & Impact of Previous Study, 3.3.4.30 Austudy & Concessional Study-load Students

Last reviewed: 15 August 2016