188.8.131.52 HCC Provisions for Children & Dependants
Low income HCC
There is no upper or lower age limit that applies to claimants for the LIC. Where applications are lodged by or on behalf of children, each application should be assessed on the particular circumstances of the case.
Legislation places limitations on children/dependants who can claim a LIC, as follows.
Under 16 dependants
Children under 16 years of age are generally in the care of parents or other responsible adults and meet the 'FTB child' definition in FAAct section 22. Such children are dependants for card purposes and cannot obtain a LIC in their own right. Some exceptions appear in the table below.
|0 - 15 years||Is an FTB child as per definition. FAAct section 22||None. Child would appear on parent's card (if parent entitled).|
- Is NOT FTB child, OR
- Is in the care of an ACO, OR
- Is in foster care
|CAN access LIC - not regarded as dependent of any individual. (See also 'Foster child HCC' and 'Wards of the state, awaiting adoption or refugee children' ).|
|0 - 16 years||Is receiving income support or LMP payments.||CAN access LIC. May already receive automatic HCC.|
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 240A(4) Form of cards
FAAct section 22 When an individual is an FTB child of another individual
Secondary students aged 16 to 18 years of age are usually dependants for card purposes and would therefore appear as dependants on any card that their family may qualify for, e.g. the FTB HCC or the LIC. These students CANNOT obtain the LIC in their own right. Some exceptions appear in the student table below.
|16 - 18 secondary student||Is an FTB child per definition FAAct section 22||None. Child would appear on parent's card (if parent entitled).|
|16 - 18 secondary student||Is not an FTB child (receiving YA or prescribed educational scheme payment, such as ABSTUDY or VCES if applicable).||CAN access LIC.|
|19 years secondary student||FTB child or NOT an FTB child||CAN access LIC.|
|16 - 24 tertiary student||NOT an FTB child||CAN access LIC.|
Note: From 1 January 2019, a person receiving YA student or apprentice, Austudy or ABSTUDY living allowance qualifies for an automatic issue HCC.
Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'prescribed educational scheme'
SS(Admin)Act section 240A(4) Form of cards
|16 years plus - unemployed||NOT an FTB child (may receive income support payments as job seeker)||CAN access LIC (may already receive an automatic HCC).|
|16 years - employed||FTB child or NOT an FTB child||CAN access LIC.|
Note: It is not a requirement under the FTB child definition in section 22 of the FAAct for a person to actually receive FTB payments for a child. An adult who has responsibility for a child can request cancellation of the FTB payment but this will not enable the child to become eligible for grant of a LIC in their own right, if the child is prevented from qualifying for LIC under SSAct section 1061ZT.
Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZO Qualification - see subsections (1) to (4), section 1061ZT Certain dependants not qualified for HCC
FAAct section 22 When an individual is an FTB child of another individual, section 22A Exceptions to the operation of section 22
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Qualification for LIC
Foster child HCC
Provisions for the foster child HCC are contained in 220.127.116.11.
Carer allowance (CA) (child)
Where the parent or guardian (1.1.G.80) of a child is receiving the fortnightly payment of CA in respect of that child, the person is automatically issued with a HCC. The card can only be used for the child's benefit, it CANNOT be used for other members of the family. If there is more than one CA child (1.1.C.90) in the family, a separate card is issued for each child.
Where a child does not qualify its parent or carer for the CA payment, a HCC can be issued where the child satisfies the qualification criteria for a HCC only CA (child).
Cards are valid for 12 months from the date of commencement of CA. Renewal is automatic if entitlement is current.
Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'parent'
CA child also a dependant (1.1.D.65) of a HCC holder
If a CA child is also a dependant of a HCC holder, the child will appear on both cards. It is preferable to use the family card to avoid confusion when calculating expenditure towards a safety net (1.1.S.10).
Explanation: If the CA child's card is used, the expenditure may be counted towards the family safety net or the child's individual safety net, depending on the family situation.
Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZK Qualification: general rules - see subsections (2), (3) and (4)
Ex-CA (child) HCC
From 1 October 2007 16 - 25 year olds who are studying full-time and who had a CA HCC the day before their 16th birthday, may be eligible for the ex-CA (child) HCC.
Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZO(9) This section applies to a person on a day if…, section 953 Qualification for CA-caring for either 1 or 2 disabled children
SS(Admin)Act section 240B(2) Restrictions on listing of dependants
Wards of the state, awaiting adoption or refugee children
When determining HCC eligibility for a child who is away from their parents, the following should be considered:
- whether or not FTB is received for the child,
- if FTB is received, whether by an individual, or by an ACO,
- if the child is an 'FTB child' whether they are precluded from claiming LIC,
- whether child is a dependant of an individual, AND
- if the child can be considered to be in 'foster care'.
Explanation: A HCC is available to all children in the foster care of individuals or families (NOT ACOs). Because ACOs are not individual persons, a child in an ACO can obtain a LIC where the ACO receives FTB for the child, or FTB is not paid for the child. Where a person other than a parent receives FTB for a child, the child may appear on that person's HCC.
Child or partner ceases to be a dependant
When a dependent child or partner (1.1.P.85) of a cardholder ceases to be the cardholder's dependant, the loss of dependant is disregarded for a period of 4 weeks.
Example 1: A couple may be temporarily separated, then reconcile.
Example 2: A child may be in alternative care for a period of time.
Note: When permanent loss of dependant occurs, ongoing eligibility should be checked carefully.
Act reference: SSAct section 1071A-3 Cessation of dependency
Signatures on HCCs
The cardholder should sign the card wherever possible but this will not always be the case. For cards issued to children under 16 years, for example CA (child) and foster child cards, the child should sign where they are able. A parent, guardian or foster carer may sign on behalf of the child, where the child cannot sign, and this should be made clear in the signature block on the card.
Example: Child is too young to sign, or reproduce an identical signature when required.