3.6.4.37 Qualification for CP (child) - Exchanged Care

Summary

A divorced or separated parent can qualify for CP if they are exchanging the care of 2 or more qualifying children (1.1.Q.17) with the children's other parent/s under one or more registered parenting plans, parenting plans or parenting orders that are in place, and have a qualifying child in their care at all times.

Exception: A carer CANNOT qualify for CP under the exchanged care provisions for the exchange of a profoundly disabled child, or 2 or more disabled children that require a level of care that is at least equivalent to the level of care required by a profoundly disabled child. If a parent wishes to exchange the care of a profoundly disabled child or 2 or more disabled children with another parent, they will need to test their eligibility for CP (child) under DCLA.

Note: A child with profound disability (1.1.C.146) or 2 or more disabled children (1.1.T.190) are care receivers who have qualified their carer under the pre 1 July 2009 provisions.

Note: It is not necessary for both/all parents to qualify for CP (child) for the exchange care provision to apply to one of them.

While the parent does not have constant care of the same qualifying child all the time, they must provide constant care to at least one qualifying child at all times (i.e. the provision of care must remain constant, however, the qualifying child or children change in accordance with the terms of the registered parenting plans, parenting plans or parenting orders). The parent must personally provide constant care to the qualifying child who is currently living with, or spending time with, the parent.

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for CP under exchanged care provisions, the criteria listed in the following table must be met. Where more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More Detail
ALL of the following
The carer is a parent of 2 or more persons aged under 16 years, AND A parent is a natural or adoptive parent, or a person granted legal guardianship under state, territory or Commonwealth law.
The carer is personally providing care for at least 2 of those persons, AND  
The carer has a qualifying child in their care at all times, AND Exception previously noted this topic.
The care receiver/s being cared for at any one time by a parent would qualify that parent for a CP apart from the fact that:
  • the parent is not personally providing constant care to the same care receiver/s all the time,
  • the care receiver/s has/have or may have one or more homes, AND
This topic.
The care receivers are exchanged between parents in accordance with a parenting plan (registered or otherwise) or a parenting order, AND This topic.
The general CP qualification criteria are met (e.g. residency, care receiver income and assets tests). 3.6.4.10 Qualification for CP

Act reference: SSAct section 197F Qualification-exchanged care of children, Schedule 1A clause 141 Saving-profoundly disabled child and disabled child

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.10 Qualification for CP, 1.1.C.146 Child with a profound disability (CP (child))

Example: Separated parents caring for 2 children, each with severe disability or severe medical condition

Georgie and Blain, the parents of 2 children (Jacalin and Rose) each of whom have a severe disability, separate. Georgie and Blain draw up a parenting plan, which provides that Jacalin and Rose are to live with each of them on a week-about basis. That is, in any given week, Georgie will have one child and Blain will have the other. Both Georgie and Blain make claims for CP. The care that each of them provides to Jacalin, combined with the assessment of the level of care required by Jacalin by a THP, receives a qualifying rating of intense on the Disability Care Load Assessment (Child) Determination. The care that they provide to Rose, combined with the assessment of the level of care required by Rose by a THP, receives a qualifying rating of intense. A THP has certified that each child requires care to be provided by one person. Both Jacalin and Rose require constant care and the care that Georgie and Blain provide to the children severely restricts their capacity to undertake paid employment.

Therefore, if Georgie or Blain were providing constant care to either Jacalin or Rose all the time they would qualify for CP. However, Georgie and Blain are not providing care to either of their children all the time, because of the operation of the parenting plan that is in force. The exchanged care provisions however allow Georgie and Blain to qualify for a CP.

Example: Separated parents caring for 2 children, each with a severe disability or a severe medical condition, one parent sharing the care with the children's grandparents

In the example above, if the parenting plan that is in force were to state that Jacalin and Rose are to live with Blain on a week-about basis, that is, in any given week Blain will have one child and the children will spend the week that they are not with Blain living with Georgie for 4 days and their grandparents for 3 days, Blain would qualify for CP and Georgie would not. The grandparents of the children would be unable to qualify for CP as they are not, in this example, parents of the children.

Example: Separated parents caring for one child with severe disability or severe medical condition & 2 children, each with disability or medical condition

Molly and Jaxson are the parents of 3 children: Whitney, who has a severe medical condition, and Bernice and Charline, both of whom have disability. Molly and Jaxson separate and they draw up a parenting plan, which provides that Jaxson will have care of Whitney while Molly has care of Bernice and Charline. The parents will exchange the care of the children on a fortnightly basis such that Bernice and Charline will always remain together.

Jaxson makes a claim for CP. The care that he provides to Whitney achieves a qualifying rating of intense on DCLA. Additionally, the care that Jaxson provides to Bernice and Charline (when he has them in his care) achieves a qualifying rating of intense. If Jaxson were providing constant care to Whitney all the time, he would qualify for CP. If Jaxson were providing constant care to Bernice and Charline all the time, he would qualify for CP. Because of the parenting plan that Jaxson has made with Molly, Jaxson is providing constant care to the child or children who are in his care at any given time, but he is not providing constant care to either Whitney, or the combination of Bernice and Charline all the time. Provided that Jaxson meets the other requirements regarding constant care and residency and the children meet the requirements of care receiver the effect of the exchanged care provisions is that Jaxson is taken to qualify for CP.

Molly has not made a claim for CP. If she were to make a claim, to be eligible she would need to achieve a qualifying rate of intense on DCLA.

Act reference: SSAct section 197B Qualification-child with a severe disability or severe medical condition, section 197C Qualification-2 or more children each with a disability or medical condition

Example: Parent caring for 2 children with severe disability born to different former spouses

John and Rosemary are the parents of Nadine who has severe disability. John and Rosemary separate and agree on a parenting plan that provides for Nadine to spend equal time with each parent. Rosemary has another child, Wayne, who also has severe disability, with another partner and they separate. Rosemary and Wayne's father have a parenting plan, which states that Wayne is to spend equal time with each parent. Rosemary has the care of Wayne when she does not have care of Nadine.

Rosemary lodges a claim for CP and the care that she provides to Nadine, combined with the assessment of care needed by Nadine by a THP achieves a qualifying rating of intense. The care that Rosemary provides to Wayne, combined with the assessment by a THP of care needed by Wayne, also achieves a qualifying rating of intense.

If Rosemary were providing constant care to either Nadine or Wayne, she would satisfy the qualification requirements of a child with a severe disability or severe medical condition. However, because of the parenting plans that she has with the children's fathers, she does not provide constant care to either child. Nevertheless, Rosemary does have the care of one of the children at all times and, therefore, because of the exchanged care provisions, she is taken to qualify for CP.

Constant care

The parent in an exchanged care situation may qualify for CP where they continue to provide care to at least one 'qualifying child' at all times; and personally provide constant care for the child is in their care (i.e. living with or spending time with the carer).

Act reference: SSAct section 197F(3)(c) Circumstances-family law arrangements-carer personally provides constant care

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.10 Qualification for CP, 1.1.C.310 Constant care (CP)

Parenting plan

For the purpose of exchanged care, a parenting plan includes a registered parenting plan, a parenting plan or a parenting order that is in force, that sets out the length or percentage of care each separated parent will care for each 'qualifying child'.

Note: A 'parent' is a natural or an adoptive parent, or a person who has been granted legal guardianship under state, territory or Commonwealth law.

Act reference: SSAct section 197F(3) Circumstances-family law arrangements, section 197(1)-'parent'

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.10 Qualification for CP

Last reviewed: 9 February 2015