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 intended only as a guide to social security payments. 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.

3.2.4.130 Refugee exemption for under 18s

Circumstances of exemption

This exemption may be available to young refugees (1.1.R.110) whose capacity to undertake full-time education is reduced because they:

  • have experienced torture, imprisonment or other traumatic circumstances, OR
  • lack sufficient English language skills, OR
  • have recently arrived in Australia and need to arrange stable accommodation.

It is necessary for the person to meet the definition of a refugee.

Act reference: SSAct section 543A(2A)(m) … is a refugee whose capacity to undertake full-time education is reduced because …, section 543A(2A)(p) … is receiving Commonwealth funded intensive assistance for jobseekers or …

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.M.160 Mutual obligation requirements, 3.11.9 Mutual obligation requirements for early school leavers

Duration of exemption

The young person can be given an exemption for up to 13 weeks, although this can be extended in exceptional circumstances.

Example: If the young person has no English language skills, and needs more than 13 weeks to develop sufficient skills to participate in education or training.

Mutual obligation requirements (1.1.M.160)

An EPP is required, UNLESS the YA recipient is exempt from their requirements because of other exceptional circumstances. If this is not the case, then an EPP would be required, taking into account the person's capacity and personal circumstance. In some circumstances, voluntary activities such as torture and trauma counselling and/or part-time English language training may be considered as appropriate.

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)(m) … is a refugee whose capacity to undertake full-time education is reduced because …, section 543A(2B) If the following circumstances exist in relation to the person in respect of a period …

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

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.11.3 Suitable activities, 3.2.4.160 Other special circumstance exemption for under 18s

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