The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The 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. Unrestricted direct payment under income management

Unrestricted direct payment

Under all income management measures, the SS(Admin)Act provides for direct payment to the income managed person's bank account or, with the person's consent, to a third party or by stored value card. This enables part or all of the person's income managed funds to be available for their discretionary use.

Unrestricted direct payments - Child Protection Measure

A person referred to income management by a child protection authority will generally have their payments income managed at 70%. In these cases, the delegate will consider both the views of the child protection worker and whether the available discretionary income is sufficient, in deciding whether a reduction of the income managed person's payment is necessary. Unrestricted direct payments are to be capped at 20% of the person's net welfare and family payments (i.e. so that they are effectively managed at the 50% rate that is applied to other measures).

The child protection worker may also recommend that the delegate offers the person 20% of the net amount of his or her payments as an unrestricted direct payment, for the person's general use.

Example: Keira is subject to the Child Protection Measure, and has 70% of her JSP income managed. She has been subject to income management for 6 months and has just finished a course in money management. Keira's child protection worker contacts the delegate to recommend that she be given an unrestricted direct payment which will be an amount equal to 20% of her instalment. As Keira has met all of her priority needs for the fortnight, the delegate approves the unrestricted direct payment so that Keira can practice the skills she has learnt and prepare for her exit from income management.

Unrestricted direct payments - arrears

Where a person who is on income management is in receipt of arrears, and has not received any discretionary funds in the last fortnight, the delegate may decide to grant them an unrestricted direct payment from their income managed funds equal to the normal amount of discretionary funds they would have received for their last payment. This is to ensure a person in receipt of arrears, which are income managed at 100% (, has access to their regular fortnightly amount of discretionary funds.

If a person's income management is restored following the restoration of a trigger payment, and the person has not received the previous fortnight's discretionary funds, the delegate may grant an unrestricted direct credit payment equivalent to half their usual fortnightly payments. This applies whether the person has been contacted or not.

Example: Jeff receives JSP and has been on income management for 20 weeks. Jeff gets sick and has to go to hospital interstate for several weeks. While Jeff is in hospital, his payment is cancelled because he was unable to answer correspondence. When he returns, Jeff provides evidence that he was sick and his payment is reinstated. Jeff receives his entitlements in arrears, income managed at 100%, however he is offered 50% of his last fortnightly payment (his regular entitlement of discretionary funds under income management) as an unrestricted direct payment.

An unrestricted direct payment can also be used where the delegate is satisfied that there is no other practical method by which to ensure the person has access to their income managed funds including to meet priority needs.

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