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. Substance abuse exemption for under 18s

Circumstances of exemption

This exemption may be available to young people who suffer from alcohol or drug misuse to the degree that it causes intermittent or temporary absences from their full-time studies or training. This would be defined as absent, or several hours late, on average 2 or 3 normal study days per month. In situations in which this is an ongoing problem, the young person's eligibility for DSP may need to be considered.

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.M.160 Mutual obligation requirements, Qualification for DSP - 30 hour rule, Qualification for DSP - 15 hour rule

Duration of exemption

The YA recipient can be given an exemption for up to 13 weeks, although the Secretary of the department has discretion to extend this if necessary.

Mutual obligation requirements (1.1.M.160)

An EPP is required, UNLESS the young person is exempt from their requirements because of incapacity. The young person may have a participation requirement, consistent with their capacity, and/or participation in appropriate services or activities. Activities could include voluntary participation in a rehabilitation program or a requirement to undertake activities to assist them with their situation, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation or counselling.

Act reference: SSAct section 542 Situations in which a person is exempt from undertaking full-time study, section 542H Special circumstances exemption, section 543A(2A)(k) … suffers from alcohol or drug abuse …, section 543A(2B) If the following circumstances exist in relation to the person …

SS(Admin)Act section 40L Circumstances making it unreasonable etc. to comply with requirements

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.11.3 Suitable activities, Temporary incapacity

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