18.104.22.168 Shared care situations for PLP
PLP is paid on the basis that only one person is the primary carer (1.1.P.230) for the child and PLP instalments cannot be shared with another person, e.g. between separated parents. Apart from claims made in exceptional circumstances (1.1.E.100) or where an adoption or surrogacy arrangement is made by commissioning parents, only the birth mother can be the primary claimant.
If Centrelink is satisfied that 2 or more people, who have lodged claims for PLP in respect of a child, provide an equivalent level of care for the child, Centrelink must decide which person is the primary carer of the child for the purpose of making a payability determination on each of the claims. This situation may arise, for example, where the parents of a child are separated, and both parents of the child make a claim for PLP.
If the individuals are members of the same couple, and both are potentially eligible as primary claimants, Centrelink would generally be guided by the couple's preference as to who is the primary carer when making a payability determination. If there is no other basis for Centrelink to decide which of the 2 carers is the primary carer, and one of the carers is the birth mother, Centrelink will decide in favour of the birth mother.