8.3.1 Start days - general provisions

Start day

The start day is the first day for which a social security payment is payable to a person, and hence the day from which the person is paid. The SS(Admin)Act provides for different ways of calculating start days, with the earliest being the effective start day.

The start day provisions are intended to apply to social security payments and also to concession cards as defined in the legislation:

  • the majority of concession cards are attached to payments and the card will reflect the start day of the payment, and
  • the day on which qualification for the CSHC, the LIC, or the foster child HCC commences (i.e. the 'valid from' date for the card) is the day on which a person makes a claim for the card. Specific back-dating provisions apply for some HCCs.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 37 Grant of claim, Schedule 2 clause 3 Start day-general rule

SSAct section 1061ZA General qualification rules (PCC), section 1061ZG Qualification rules (CSHC), section 1061ZO Qualification (HCC), section 23(1)-'social security payment'

Start day rules

The general rule is that if a person claims a payment and is qualified on the day the claim is made, that day is the start day.

There are exceptions to this rule based on:

  • special interpretations of the concept 'the day a claim is made'
  • cases in which a claim can be made when a person is not qualified (early claims)
  • cases in which the start day is the first day on which a person is qualified for a payment even if they do not make a claim until later, and
  • cases in which an exclusion period applies.

These are explained further in this topic.

The day a claim is made

The day a claim is made is usually the day the claim form is lodged, but it may be another day in the following circumstances:

  • If a person in vulnerable circumstances contacts DHS about a claim and lodges a claim within 14 days, or within 13 weeks if a medical condition or special circumstances affected the person's ability to lodge the claim earlier, the day of the contact may be the day the claim is taken to have been made.
  • For transfers between payments the day on which a person becomes qualified for the payment to which they are transferred may be the day they are taken to have made a claim for that payment, without any claim form being lodged.
  • Where a person claims a payment for which they are not qualified and then later claims another for which they are qualified, the day on which they claim the first (incorrect) payment can be taken as the day on which they have made a claim for the second.

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.1.1.60 Contacting DHS about a Claim, 8.2.1 Transfers, 8.1.1.70 Incorrect Claims

Claim when a person is not qualified (early claim)

If a person claims a social security payment up to 13 weeks before the first day on which they are qualified for the payment, the claim is taken to be made on the first day on which they qualify.

Exceptions: This does not apply for:

  • a detained person (1.1.D.125)
  • a claim for SpB, and
  • a claim for PP where the person becomes qualified because of the birth of a child.

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.3.2 Start Days for Early Claims

Start day before the claim is made

There are limited circumstances in which a person's start day may be earlier than the day of contact or the 13 week early claim period. In these cases, the start day is generally the first day on which the person is qualified for the payment, even if they have not claimed on or before that day, but provided they claimed within a specified length of time after it.

If the application of the start day rules produce different start days, the earlier start day is used as the person's start day.

If the day that would otherwise be a person's start day falls within an exclusion period (1.1.E.164), the start day becomes the first day after the end of the exclusion period.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 3 Start day-general rule

Exclusion periods

If a person is subject to an exclusion period, the payment is not payable to the person and the person's start day will be the first day after the end of the exclusion period/s. Exclusion periods include:

  • a waiting period
  • a non-payment period, including compliance non-payment periods under divisions 3A or 3AA of the SS(Admin) Act
  • a compensation preclusion period
  • a period during which a person is in gaol
  • a period during which NSA or YA as a job seeker is not payable due to the operation of SSAct section 615 or section 547AA
  • where payment is not payable due to the person having moved to an area of lower employment prospects.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 5 Effect of exclusion period

RapidConnect deferred start day - NSA & YA job seekers

RapidConnect arrangements may apply to job seekers claiming NSA and YA who are referred to jobactive, Transition to Work or CDP. In general, a person contacting Centrelink about NSA or YA as a job seeker is required to display an active commitment to looking for work by attending an interview with their employment services provider before NSA or YA becomes payable to them. Where the job seeker attends an initial appointment with their employment services provider, subject to other qualification and payability provisions being met, if the person is subject to RapidConnect, their income support is payable from the date the job seeker attends. However, for job seekers participating in CDP who are subject to RapidConnect, their payment will usually be backdated to the date of the person's initial contact with Centrelink.

Some job seekers may be exempt from RapidConnect arrangements (see 3.2.1.45).

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 5 Effect of exclusion period

SSAct section 615 NSA not payable if person fails to attend interview etc. in certain circumstances, section 547AA YA not payable if person fails to attend interview etc. in certain circumstances

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.1.40 RapidConnect - impact on NSA payability, 3.2.1.45 Exemption from RapidConnect Provisions

Last reviewed: 6 May 2019