3.7.5.70 Study for SpB Recipients

Summary

SpB is intended to be a short-term income support payment for people who do not qualify for any other type of SSAct payment and have no other means of support. While SpB is not intended as a payment for students there are circumstances where SpB recipients may be able to undertake study.

There are no restrictions on undertaking part-time or full-time study for SpB recipients who do not have mutual obligation requirements.

SpB recipients with full-time mutual obligation requirements may undertake part-time or full-time study provided they simultaneously undertake job search and other relevant obligations.

Part-time study

For the purposes of SpB, part-time study is generally defined as less than 20 hours study a week (including contact and non-contact hours). However, if the institution through which the study is undertaken classifies the study as full-time, it should be considered full-time, regardless of the hours involved.

Act reference: SSAct section 736 Secretary may require certain persons…, section 737 Full-time students, section 731M SpB Employment Pathway Plans-terms

Full-time study

For SpB recipients with mutual obligation requirements, full-time training or study can only be approved by their employment services provider.

For the purposes of SpB, full-time study is defined as 20 hours or more study a week (including contact and non-contact hours) or study that is classified as full-time by the institution through which it is undertaken.

SpB recipients may undertake full-time study including vocational training as part of meeting their mutual obligation requirements.

SpB recipients with mutual obligation requirements may undertake full-time study including a full-time course of vocational training if the course is likely to improve the person's prospects for obtaining, or assist the person in seeking suitable paid work.

Full-time vocational short courses of less than 12 months duration can be approved, but only if it is likely to lead to an early employment outcome. Generally, this means vocational courses or courses that will clearly enhance the person's immediate employability (e.g. a first aid certificate). Such courses must meet the approved short course rules outlined in 3.2.9.100.

Full-time tertiary studies such as bachelor degrees and above are generally not considered appropriate to fulfil mutual obligation requirements because they are not required for a person to undertake suitable work.

In the limited circumstances where SpB recipients are permitted to undertake full-time tertiary studies, the intention is to allow these people to gain the knowledge and/or skills that will assist them to undertake work in the future. As such, approval can be given if the SpB recipient has been unsuccessful in gaining employment and only has a semester (or 6 months full-time equivalent) remaining to complete the degree and the degree would greatly improve their employment prospects.

Under no circumstances can full-time study of more than 12 months duration be approved.

SpB recipients under 18 years

SpB recipients under 18 years of age may undertake full-time secondary study of more than 12 months duration. A recipient who turns 18 years while undertaking secondary school may complete that year on a full-time basis.

Act reference: SSAct section 736 Secretary may require certain persons…, section 737 Full-time students

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.7.5.10 What are the SpB mutual obligation requirements?

Last reviewed: 1 July 2015