3.6.1.120 Participation requirement exemptions for DSP recipients

Summary

A DSP recipient who is subject to participation requirements (3.6.1.110) may be exempt from these requirements for the following reasons:

If the person … then the duration of exemption is …
is unable to meet the participation requirements because of illness or accident for the duration specified on medical certificate, limited to a maximum of 13 weeks.
is a pregnant woman from 6 weeks prior to expected date of confinement and ending 6 weeks after the day that she gives birth to the child (whether or not the child is born alive).
is employed in the SWS for the period that they are employed in the SWS.
is employed in an Australian Disability Enterprise for the period that they are employed in an Australian Disability Enterprise.
is experiencing special circumstances, beyond the person's control, where it would be unreasonable to expect the person to meet the participation requirements for up to 13 weeks.

Exemption because of illness or accident

A person may be exempt from participation requirements if they provide a medical certificate stating that they are unable to work 8 or more hours a week.

A person may be exempt if they have a temporary reduced work capacity of less than 8 hours a week indicated by a JCA or ESAt.

Exemption for pregnant women

Pregnant women are exempt from participation requirements from 6 weeks before the date they are expected to give birth until 6 weeks following the birth of the child. These exemptions apply even if the baby is stillborn or placed for adoption.

If at any other time during pregnancy a woman is unable to meet her activity test requirements because of pregnancy-related medical problems, she should apply for an incapacity exemption.

Exemption for people in supported employment

People who are employed in the SWS or who are employed in an Australian Disability Enterprise are exempt from participation requirements while they are employed in the SWS or in an Australian Disability Enterprise.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances

There will sometimes be circumstances, beyond the person's control, where it would be unreasonable to expect the participant to meet their requirements for a specific period of time.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - duration of exemption

The legislation allows for exemptions for any of the above reasons to be granted for a period of up to 13 weeks. However, actual periods should be determined according to the individual circumstances.

The following are categories of special circumstance exemptions that may arise. Special circumstances exemptions are not limited by these categories.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - major personal disruption to the participant's home

The legislation allows for exemptions of up to 13 weeks, however an exemption period of 2 weeks is generally appropriate for major disruptions related to the participant's home.

Examples of major personal disruptions:

  • damage to the home/contents caused by storm, flood, fire or earthquake (this exemption can be used when a natural disaster occurs that causes disruption to the participant but the occurrence of the disaster does not result in the official declaration of a natural disaster)
  • damage to the home/contents caused by an accident, explosion or electrical fault, or
  • burglary of or vandalism to the home/contents or other assets (e.g. vehicle).

Exemptions in these situations are limited to the time required to:

  • arrange alternative accommodation
  • replace household items
  • organise major repairs, or
  • organise insurance claims.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - major personal crisis

Although the legislation allows for exemptions of up to 13 weeks, the appropriate exemption period granted for a major personal crisis should be limited to the time needed to address the immediate situation.

Examples of a major personal crisis:

  • the death of a member of the person's immediate family
  • the breakdown of marriage or equivalent relationship
  • domestic violence
  • if the person has a carer, where their carer is temporarily or permanently unable to care for them because of unforeseen circumstances, and
  • Indigenous sorry business.

Exemptions in such cases are limited to the time required to, where necessary:

  • arrange a funeral and other related matters
  • move belongings
  • arrange for alternative stable accommodation
  • arrange for care of children
  • attend short term counselling, or
  • for people with a carer, the time required to find alternative carer arrangements or for the duration of their carer's temporary incapacity.

Note: Exemptions should generally only be granted following the death of an immediate family member. An immediate family member is a person's partner, father, mother, sister, brother or child. However, an exemption can be granted if the delegate is satisfied that the deceased person should be treated as though they were an immediate family member.

Examples:

  • A member of the person's foster or adoptive family, whether the fostering arrangement was formal or informal.
  • A member of the person's extended family who may at some time have fulfilled the role of an immediate family member, (such as an aunt or uncle who may have had care of the person when they were a child).

In Indigenous communities, exemptions can also be granted following the deaths of people who were not or could not be considered as immediate family members, in order to allow the person to participate in sorry business. The length of time granted should only be what is required in individual circumstances and local information should be sourced where appropriate to assist in determining the length of time that may be required. As indicated above, sorry business can be linked to the death of extended family members.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - homelessness

In determining whether to grant an exemption for homelessness, the primary consideration should be whether a person's living circumstances are stable enough to allow them to meet their participation requirements. A person may not be able to do this if they are living on the street, in a hostel or refuge or moving from house to house every few days. On the other hand, a person who is living or residing temporarily with relatives or friends may be able to meet their requirements.

Consideration should also be given to whether the person would benefit from other intervention.

If an exemption is granted, it should be limited to the time required to arrange stable accommodation.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - parents & foster carers & other special family circumstances

There are a number of circumstances where an exemption from the participation requirements can be applied to principal carer and main supporter parents receiving DSP who would otherwise have participation requirements:

  • if the principal carer parent is a registered and active foster carer
  • providing foster care temporarily in an emergency, or on a respite, basis
  • if the principal carer parent or main supporter is home schooling one or more of the children or secondary pupil children for whom they are the principal carer or main supporter
  • if the principal carer or main supporter parent is providing or facilitating distance education for one or more of the children or secondary pupil children for whom they are the principal carer or main supporter
  • if the principal carer parent is caring for a large family (i.e. is the principal carer or main supporter parent of 4 or more children aged 18 years or under)
  • if a principal carer is a relative but not a parent of a child and the child is living with the principal carer in accordance with a family law order, or
  • if a principal carer is a relative but not a parent of a child (kin child) and the principal carer is caring for the wellbeing of that kin child in accordance with a document accepted by the state/territory that is responsible for the wellbeing of children.

There are also a range of special family circumstances where a temporary exemption will be considered on a case-by-case basis. These include, but are not limited to:

  • caring for a dependent child with a disability
  • caring for a child in an informal kinship or family care arrangement
  • being subject to domestic violence
  • extremely high stress due to recent relationship breakdown
  • the death of an immediate family member
  • a dependent child with a temporary illness or injury requiring full-time parental care
  • caring for a frail aged or disabled adult family member, and
  • caring for a youngest child aged 6 who has not yet commenced school.

Parents and foster carers and other special family circumstances exemptions apply in a similar way to NSA activity test exemptions (3.2.11.60, 3.2.11.70) except that the duration of DSP participation exemptions is limited to 13 weeks.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - affected by a declared natural disaster

This exemption is for participants affected by a declared major natural disaster where an emergency response plan has been put in place by relevant state officials. An official declaration that the area has natural disaster status must be made before the exemption can be granted. This exemption can be granted for up to 13 weeks, but should be limited to the time needed to address the immediate situation.

Examples of what could be declared a natural disaster are:

  • flood
  • fire
  • cyclone, or
  • earthquake.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - temporary caring responsibilities for an adult

A special circumstances exemption may be applied when a person is unexpectedly required to provide full-time care for an adult. An exemption should only be applied if no alternative caring arrangements are available and CP is not payable to the carer. The exemption should only be applied for the period of time required to make alternative arrangements for the care of the adult and must not exceed 13 weeks.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - temporary caring responsibilities for child/ren

Short term exemptions can also be granted where a participant who is not covered by the exemption for participants with a dependent child under age 6 is unexpectedly or unavoidably required to care for their child/ren. Examples might be where the child is sick and is not allowed to attend child care and there is no one else available, such as a partner or family member, to provide care or where the non-custodial parent unexpectedly has to care for their child due to personal circumstances of the custodial parent. The period of exemption should be limited to the time required to arrange suitable day care where it is available. The period of exemption is not to exceed 13 weeks.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - undertaking jury duty

DSP recipients can be exempt from participation requirements while undertaking jury duty.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - newly protected witness

DSP recipients may be exempt during their first 13 weeks under a witness protection program if the person's circumstances continue to make it difficult for them to satisfy the participation requirements.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - newly arrived refugee

DSP recipients may be exempt from participation requirements in the first 13 weeks after their arrival in Australia.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - overseas

A participant is granted an exemption for overseas travel for any purpose from 2 weeks prior to the day the participant intends to travel and while they are overseas.

Exemption for people experiencing special circumstances - psychiatric confinement

A participant is granted exemption while in psychiatric confinement.

Act reference: SSAct section 94C Illness or accident, section 94D Pre-natal and post-natal relief, section 94E Supported employment, section 94F Special circumstances

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.1.110 Participation Requirements for DSP Recipients

Not eligible for an exemption

Exemptions do not apply to circumstances wholly or predominantly attributable to the participant's misuse of alcohol or another drug unless the participant is also a CDP participant.

Last reviewed: 1 July 2019