The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.T.70 Temporary incapacity for work (JSP, YA (job seeker)), or full-time study (YA (student))


A person has a temporary incapacity for work or study and can be granted an exemption if BOTH the following conditions apply.

Condition 1

They have an incapacity which makes them:

  • unable to do 8 hours or more work in a week (work means any permanent, casual or part-time work at or above the relevant minimum wage, which the person could reasonably be expected to do if they were not incapacitated), OR
  • unable to continue full-time study as a YA student, OR
  • unable to continue the course of study they were doing as a YA student before they became incapacitated, AND
  • unable to undertake a suitable activity, as determined by the Secretary.

Condition 2

The incapacity is, or is likely to be, of a temporary nature, AND:

  • they provide a medical certificate that states

    • the medical practitioner's diagnosis, AND
    • the medical practitioner's prognosis, AND
    • that the person is incapacitated for work or study, AND
    • the period for which the person is incapacitated, AND
  • that the incapacity has not been brought about with a view to obtaining an exemption from a person's mutual obligation requirements (1.1.M.160).
  • For more on temporary incapacity for job seekers, see

YA full-time students

Where the medical evidence indicates that the temporary incapacity prevents the student from undertaking a full-time study load, the student may continue to be eligible for payment as a YA student while undertaking no study, or part-time study, in their course for the period of incapacity stated in the medical certificate.

To remain eligible for payment, the student must:

  • intend to return to full-time study once their temporary incapacity ceases or their medical certificate expires (whichever occurs first), and
  • remain enrolled in their course of study, or registered for the relevant award, regardless of whether they are undertaking any of the course subjects or units during their period of incapacity.

Higher education students continuing to undertake part-time study in an approved scholarship course while they are temporarily incapacitated from undertaking full-time study remain eligible for the relocation scholarship and SSL.

Act reference: SSAct section 94 Qualification for DSP, section 542A(1) Temporary incapacity exemption (YA student), section 540AB Qualification for YA-claimants with medical conditions affecting their capacity to work

SS(Admin)Act section 40L Circumstances making it unreasonable etc. to comply with requirements (JSP/YA job seeker)

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.1 JSP - qualification & payability, 3.11.3 Suitable activities, Qualification for DSP - 30 hour rule, Qualification for DSP - 15 hour rule, Qualification for DSP during employment - 30 hour rule, Qualification for DSP during employment - 15 hour rule, Qualification for DSP during self-employment - 30 hour rule, Qualification for DSP during self-employment - 15 hour rule, YA full-time students, Temporary incapacity

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