8.3.2 Start Days for Early Claims
Early claims - general rule
If a person other than a detained person (1.1.D.125) 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 day on which they qualify.
This general rule applies to all social security payments EXCEPT for SpB. There are NO early claim provisions for SpB.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 4(1) Start day - early claim
SSAct section 23(1)-'social security payment'
Prior to 26 May 2012, early claims for NSA were only permitted for those transferring from YA or Austudy to NSA.
Under this provision, a person receiving YA or Austudy who claimed NSA up to 4 weeks before the day on which they become qualified for NSA was taken to have made the claim on the day on which they qualified.
From 26 May 2012, the general rule for early claims was extended to NSA. From this date, if a person other than a detained person (1.1.D.125) claims NSA 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 day on which they qualify.
A person serving a LAWP who claims NSA or YA is taken to have made the claim on the day AFTER the waiting period has ended.
Explanation: A person who is not qualified on the initial date of claim can become qualified within a 13 week period without reclaiming. Their start day will be the day on which they qualify which could be the date of claim or any other date within the 13 week period starting on the date of claim and ending 13 weeks after that date.
The Federal Court decision Harris v Secretary, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, and AAT decision Eid v Secretary, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, support this interpretation.
Example 1: A person may apply for a payment before satisfying the residence requirements. If they satisfy the residence requirements within 13 weeks from their date of claim, and they satisfy all other relevant eligibility criteria, their start day would be the day they became qualified (i.e., the first day they satisfy the residence requirements and all other relevant criteria) (1.1.R.210).
Example 2: A person makes a claim but does not meet the eligibility criteria for the payment, and the claim is rejected. The person provides evidence, within 13 weeks from the date of claim, that they met the eligibility criteria 10 weeks after the date of claim. The person does not have to reclaim, and their start day is the day they became qualified, which in this case is 10 weeks after the date of claim.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 4(1) Start day - early claim, Schedule 2 clause 4(6) Start day - early claim
The general rule does NOT apply to a detained person. A detained person may make an early claim up to 3 weeks before the first day on which they are qualified, for the following payments only:
- double orphan pension,
- carer allowance,
- mobility allowance,
- pensioner education supplement,
- education entry payment,
- telephone allowance,
- fares allowance,
- pension bonus,
- special employment advance, and
- advance pharmaceutical allowance.
Persons in gaol or psychiatric confinement may also make claims for payments for which they ARE qualified up to 3 weeks before their release from gaol. These are NOT 'early claims' because an applicant must be qualified when they make the claim.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 4(3) Start day - early claim, Schedule 2 clause 4(7) Start day - early claim, section 35 Claims by person in gaol etc.
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.4 Imprisonment, Psychiatric Confinement & Prison Release
Early claims - PP
A person who becomes qualified for PP because of the birth of a child CANNOT make an early claim for any of those payments.
Explanation: Early lodgement of a claim where qualification depends on the birth of a child is undesirable because there is no satisfactory process for finalising such claims.
Example: In making contact with an applicant to finalise a claim, Centrelink risks upsetting parents of children who were stillborn or who died shortly after birth.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Schedule 2 clause 4(2)(b) Start day - early claim