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. SWPP - changes to marital status


If a person changes their marital status during a period of seasonal work, their SWPP may be affected. The SWPP is NOT affected however, if the change in marital status occurs during the preclusion period itself. This topic explains these issues.

Change in marital status during seasonal work period

If a member of a couple (1.1.M.120) becomes single, or vice versa, during a period of seasonal work, the period of seasonal work is treated as 2 periods, and the total AWOTE weeks (1.1.A.375) are calculated using:

  • the relevant AWOTE for the period in which the person was single, and
  • TWICE the relevant AWOTE for the period in which the person was a member of a couple.

The following table explains how the income is treated for the SWPP calculation if the person's marital status changes during the seasonal work:

If the person … then the person is treated as a …
separated during a period of seasonal work
  • member of a couple BEFORE the date of separation, and
  • single person AFTER the date of separation.
became a member of a couple during a period of seasonal work
  • single person BEFORE the relationship commenced, and
  • member of a couple AFTER the relationship commenced.

Change in marital status during SWPP

A person's preclusion period is NOT reassessed if they change their marital status during an SWPP.

Explanation: The calculation of the SWPP is based on the individual's circumstances at the time they claim an allowance or payment.

Example: A single person is serving an SWPP and transfers to PP when they become a member of a couple. The person must serve the remainder of their SWPP before they can be paid PP.

The following table explains the effect on partners and former partners when a person serving an SWPP changes their marital status:

If the person is … then …
  • a member of a couple, AND
  • serving an SWPP because their FORMER partner was a seasonal worker
the preclusion period ceases for the non-seasonal work person from the date of separation.
  • single, AND
  • serving an SWPP for their own seasonal work
their new partner is not subject to an SWPP. The partner can be paid as usual during the person's preclusion period, although this may not be the case if they have engaged in any seasonal work of their own during the 6 months before claiming.

Issues for the delegate

The delegate must be satisfied that the individual's circumstances are genuine if they claim to have:

  • become a member of a couple during or after the period of seasonal work, or
  • separated after the claim has been determined.

Explanation: Both of these situations provide the possibility of financial advantage by avoiding the application of the seasonal work provisions.

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