Guidelines for Social Worker Involvement


This topic explains the following:

  • social worker involvement,
  • who should be referred to a social worker, and
  • who should be offered a referral to a social worker.

Social worker involvement

Claims for the majority of benefits/payments do NOT require the involvement of a social worker. However when social worker involvement is required in the claim process, it is usually for the assessment of a recipient's circumstances.

Social workers are available in DHS Service Centres and Smart Centres to:

  • assist recipients who may be in crisis or presenting with more complex needs,
  • provide professional assessments and interventions in relation to income support entitlements, recipient safety, wellbeing and needs,
  • exercise delegations for YA independent status based on the Unreasonable to Live at Home provisions, and for a number of exemption categories under the CSS, and
  • provide professional assessments to assist with determinations as specified in the SS Guide.

Who should be referred to a social worker?

The following recipients should be referred to a DHS social worker:

  • recipients presenting at risk of suicide or self-harm,
  • recipients aged under 16 years,
  • young people aged under 18 years who are unable to live at home because of severe family breakdown, abuse or other exceptional circumstances,
  • recipients who are claiming a payment in respect of a child who is considered to be 'at risk of harm',
  • recipients claiming CP and/or CA who are:
    • under the age of 18 years, or
    • 80 years of age or older.

Who should be OFFERED a referral to a social worker?

The following recipients should be offered a referral to a DHS social worker:

  • Recipients presenting with multiple and complex needs, with particular priority given to:
    • young people without adequate support,
    • recipients who are experiencing or are at risk of family and domestic violence,
    • recipients who have safety concerns in regards to seeking maintenance action,
    • recipients presenting with complex or acute mental health concerns.

Policy reference: SS Guide Social Worker Involvement - Specific Payments

Last reviewed: 8 May 2017