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. Qualification for PES

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for PES, a person must meet the criteria listed in the following table. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More detail
ALL of the following:
be receiving a payment that attracts PES, AND This topic
satisfy the residence requirements, AND This topic
be of PES age, AND This topic
be undertaking qualifying study (1.1.Q.40). PES qualifying study for tertiary students

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PA Qualification for PES

Attracting payments

PES is available to people receiving the following income support payments:

  • under the SSAct

    • carer payment
    • disability support pension
    • PP (single)
    • PPP recipients in certain circumstances
    • JSP where the recipient has transferred from WP (on 20 March 2020) or DSP (in certain circumstances) to JSP, and
    • JSP, where the recipient is a single principal carer
    • SpB, IF the person is a sole parent, AND
  • under the VEA
    • invalidity service pension
    • partner service pension, IF the partner receives invalidity service pension
    • war widow/ers pension under VEA Part II, IF the widow/er has a dependent child (1.1.D.70)
    • defence widow/er's pension under VEA Part IV, IF the widow/er has a dependent child.

Explanation: Dependent child refers to the general definition of dependent child in SSAct section 5 whereas a dependent child for a 25% concession under SSAct section 1061PE must be a dependent child under 16.

People transferring from WP to JSP on 20 March 2020

WP ceased on 20 March 2020 and relevant recipients were transferred to JSP.

WP recipients who were receiving PES on 19 March 2020 and transferred to JSP will continue to receive PES for the duration of the course they were undertaking on 19 March 2020, providing they continue to receive JSP.

Act reference: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Act 2018 Schedule 3 item 104(3) Savings provisions-qualification for payments

People granted DSP from 11 May 2005 to 30 June 2006 & transferred to JSP as a result of their first review of DSP entitlement after 1 July 2006

A person granted DSP between 11 May 2005 and 30 June 2006 may be reviewed after 1 July 2006 and reassessed against the new DSP eligibility criteria, particularly the 15 hours work capacity criterion. If the person's work capacity is assessed at 15 hours or more, the person will be transferred to JSP (if all eligibility criteria are met). If the person was receiving PES and no longer receives DSP as a result of the first review of DSP entitlement after 1 July 2006, the person will retain access to PES for the duration of the qualifying course, providing the person continues to receive JSP.

Note: NSA was replaced by JSP from 20 March 2020.

PPP recipients with a partial capacity to work

A person who is receiving PPP, who has a partial capacity to work due to disability and who was a transitional DSP applicant may be eligible for PES so long as PES relates to the particular course of study that they were studying and in relation to which they were receiving PES prior to leaving DSP.

A transitional DSP applicant, in this respect, is someone who was granted DSP between 11 May 2005 and 30 June 2006, and ceased receiving the payment as a result of the person's first review under the new qualification provisions, including the 15 hour rule, after 1 July 2006.

This means that a person who was a transitional DSP recipient (and who does not qualify for DSP as the result of the person's first review after 1 July 2006) and who has a partial capacity to work can move from:

  • DSP to benefit PPP
  • DSP to YA to JSP to benefit PPP, or
  • DSP to JSP to benefit PPP

and continue receiving PES for the course they were undertaking when they cease to qualify for DSP.

Note: A person who receives pension PPS at ANY time after the person ceased to qualify for DSP cannot access PES under SSAct subsection 1061PJ(2D). Pension PPS recipients already have access to PES in their own right while on that payment.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PJ(2A) Paragraph (2)(da) only applies if …, section 1061PJ(2B) Paragraph (2)(db) only applies if …, section 1061PJ(2D) Paragraph (2)(dc) only applies if the person receiving the payment …

PES eligibility for single principal carers receiving JSP

Single principal carers that are receiving JSP are eligible to receive PES, if they are undertaking qualifying study.

Note: Principal carers who are receiving JSP are not eligible for PES once their youngest child turns 16 as they no longer qualify as a principal carer.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(15) Principal carer, section 1061PJ(2) Payments under this Act, section 1061PJ(2B) Paragraph (2)(db) only applies if …, section 1061PJ(2BB) This subsection applies if the person receiving the payment is …

Multiple entitlement exclusion

A person who receives PES is not also able to receive LLNS. If a person applies for PES for attending Language, Literacy and Numeracy training and is found eligible to receive the payment then LLNS should be cancelled as it is not payable to them while they receive PES.

Act reference: SSAct section 5 Family relationships definitions-children, section 1049 Language, literacy and numeracy supplement not payable in certain circumstances, section 1061PJ Payments attracting PES

Receiving a pension, benefit or allowance

A person is taken to be receiving a pension, benefit or allowance from the earliest day on which the payment is payable to them, EVEN if the first instalment of the payment is not paid until a later day.

PES during an employment income nil rate period

A person who is qualified for PES can receive it during an employment income nil rate period, because during that period they are taken to be receiving (1.1.R.55) their social security pension or benefit for the purposes of PES.

Example: Joanne is getting PPS and she is doing a short course in child care at TAFE. Four weeks before the end of her course, she starts a job in a day care centre. The income from her job exceeds the cut-out point and PPS is no longer payable so Joanne starts an employment income nil rate period. She stays on an employment income nil rate period because of her income for the full 6 fortnights, before her PPS is cancelled. She finishes her course as planned, and continues to receive PES for the last 4 weeks of her study. Once PPS is cancelled, PES is no longer payable.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4A) Despite subsection (4) …, section 23(4AA) For the purposes of subsection (4A) …

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period

Residence requirements (1.1.R.210)

To satisfy the residence requirements for PES, a person must:

  • be an Australian resident, AND
  • be in Australia (1.1.A.320), OR
  • be absent
    • for the purpose of undertaking part of their qualifying study, for any duration, or
    • for any other reason, for a maximum of 6 weeks.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who …, section 1061PN Absence of persons overseas

Policy reference: SS Guide Residence requirements

PES age

To qualify for PES, a student must:

  • be at least 16 years of age, OR
  • have reached the minimum school leaving age under the law of their state or territory, AND be regarded as independent under SSAct section 1061PL.

In this context, a person is independent if they:

  • have a dependent child
  • are an orphan
  • are a refugee (1.1.R.110)
  • have parents who are unable to exercise normal responsibilities
    • Examples: Parents are in prison or in a nursing home or missing.
  • are in state care, or
  • could not reasonably be expected to live at home due to family breakdown or risk to physical or mental wellbeing and are not receiving continuous support from a parent or guardian.

There is no maximum age limit for PES.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PK Pensioner education supplement age, section 1061PL When a person is regarded as independent, section 1061PL(2) Person with a dependent child

Proper claim

A person must lodge a proper claim before PES can be granted.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 11 Need for claim

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.1 Claim lodgement, 3.8 Supplementary benefits - qualification & payability, 2.2.13 Supplementary benefits verification, 5.1.7 Supplementary benefits - current rates, Taxation of payments & PAYG payment summary - individual non-business

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