3.11.12 Initial connection to employment services (RapidConnect)
Under RapidConnect, unemployed people claiming income support are assisted to rejoin the workforce quickly by being immediately connected with an employment services provider or online employment services. Unless exempt from RapidConnect, a person claiming JSP or YA as a job seeker, who is referred to Workforce Australia, Workforce Australia - Transition to Work or CDP, is required to attend an initial appointment with their employment services provider in order for their income support to be payable.
Job seekers who are referred to Workforce Australia Online are not required to attend an appointment and must agree their Job Plan before their payment can commence.
Appointments with an employment services provider are normally scheduled within 2 business days of initial contact for JSP and YA (other) claimants who are subject to RapidConnect. Where the job seeker attends an initial appointment with their employment services provider, subject to other qualification and payability provisions being met, their income support is payable from the date the job seeker attends. However, for job seekers participating in CDP, their payment will usually be backdated to the date of the person's initial contact with Services Australia.
RapidConnect for Workforce Australia & Transition to Work participants
After the job seeker has attended a RapidConnect appointment with their Workforce Australia or Transition to Work provider, the job seeker's JSP or YA (other) payment will become payable from the date of attendance (and will not be backdated to the date to the person's initial contact with Services Australia), pending any waiting or preclusion periods and all other qualifications.
Where employment service providers do not have an appointment available within 2 business days, the job seeker may be able to choose a different provider in their local area. Services Australia will then review the new employment service provider's calendar for an appointment within 2 days and book the appointment for that day. Income support will be payable from the date the job seeker attends that appointment.
If a job seeker cannot attend an appointment within 2 business days because none is available, the first available appointment after that will be booked and, once the job seeker attends that appointment, their income support will be backdated to the date on which the job seeker was informed of their requirement to attend the provider appointment.
If a job seeker chooses to attend an appointment that is more than 2 business days away, for example, because they want to be serviced by a particular provider who does not have an earlier appointment, or they cannot attend for personal reasons that do not constitute a reasonable excuse (3.11.15), their income support payment will only be payable from the date they attend the appointment.
RapidConnect for Workforce Australia Online participants
A person referred to Workforce Australia Online is not required to attend an appointment with a Workforce Australia employment services provider. Instead, these job seekers must agree to their Job Plan on the Workforce Australia webpage or app before their payment can commence. Job seekers who have questions or need help to agree their Job Plan can contact the digital services contact centre.
RapidConnect for CDP participants
A person referred to CDP must attend their RapidConnect appointment with their provider within 14 days of being notified of the scheduled appointment to receive payment in full (pending any waiting or preclusion periods) backdated to their date of claim. Those who fail to attend the appointment within that period will only be payable from when they have attended their RapidConnect appointment. Where an appointment is not available or transport would not allow attendance within 14 days, the person is exempt from RapidConnect.
Failure to attend an appointment
If the job seeker fails to attend their employment service provider appointment but has a reasonable excuse for their non-attendance, their income support is payable from the date of the missed appointment, once they attend a rescheduled appointment.
If the job seeker does not have a reasonable excuse for their non-attendance, their income support will only be payable from the date they attend a rescheduled appointment.
Note that an excuse cannot be considered a reasonable excuse if the job seeker could reasonably have been expected to give prior notice of the excuse but failed to do so. Reasonable excuse determinations for non-attendance at RapidConnect appointments should be made in accordance with the reasonable excuse guidelines for the targeted compliance framework and job seeker compliance framework, which are explained at 3.11.15.