Compliance activities


This section concerns information on compliance activities under the compliance arrangements set out in SS(Admin)Act Part 3 Division 3A. These arrangements only apply to job seekers on participation payments who are declared program participants (i.e. CDP participants) under the Social Security (Declared Program Participant) Determination 2018.


A job seeker with full-time mutual obligation requirements who is undertaking a compliance activity must participate for a total of 160 hours over 8 weeks at 20 hours per week, generally with some participation required each business day. Principal carer parents and job seekers with an assessed partial capacity to work are required to participate for a total of 120 hours over 8 weeks at 15 hours per week.

If a job seeker is not already undertaking an activity, the compliance activity required to reinstate payment will generally be 20 hours per week of WFD. Where the job seeker is already undertaking another activity, such as training, they should continue in that activity, if necessary making up the additional hours with another activity.

Compliance activities can also include, either individually or in combination:

  • part-time work
  • approved activities such as voluntary work
  • approved training, or
  • intensive job search training.

When deciding whether an activity other than WFD is an appropriate compliance activity, the following broad principles apply:

  • the activity must be organised to start immediately and to be completed within the 8 week period
  • participation in the activity must be closely monitored by the provider, and
  • the activity should improve the job seeker's ability to obtain and retain employment.

Failure to commence or participate in a compliance activity

If a job seeker fails to commence a compliance activity (by not attending the serious failure requirement appointment and/or not signing the Job Plan), Services Australia will reinstate their serious failure period and their income support ceases to be payable for 8 weeks from the day of that failure. In other words, the period the job seeker received income support before they were due to commence their compliance activity is not included in the 8 week serious failure period.

Once a job seeker has commenced a compliance activity, any failure to attend or satisfactorily participate in that activity, without a reasonable excuse, may result in a NSNP failure.

Ending a serious failure period when a job seeker lacks the capacity to undertake a serious failure requirement

Services Australia may end or not commence a serious failure period if it determines that the person does not have the capacity to undertake any compliance activity and serving the serious failure period would cause severe financial hardship.

Severe financial hardship

If the job seeker does not have the capacity to undertake any kind of compliance activity, Services Australia must decide if serving the 8 week non-payment period would place the job seeker in severe financial hardship. If it would, Services Australia must reinstate the job seeker's payment. A job seeker is considered to be in severe financial hardship if they have less than $2,500 in liquid assets or, if they have children or are a part of a couple, less than $5,000 in liquid assets. The definition of what can be considered liquid assets (1.1.L.50) is the same as that used for the liquid assets test.

If the person has served some of their non-payment period before meeting the hardship test, the date the non-payment period ends is the day before the decision is made that the person is in severe financial hardship. Where the person has been unable to notify a change of circumstances through no fault of their own (e.g. unexpected hospitalisation or as a result of a natural disaster), the delegate may reinstate payment from an earlier date where it can be shown that the person was in severe financial hardship from that date.

When a person does claim to be in severe financial hardship after having initially failed the hardship test, the rules relating to reasonable expenditure (outlined in 1.1.U.20) that are used for the liquid assets test apply.

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