Information you need to know about your claim for

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Ci003.1507

Information you need to know about your claim for

Newstart Allowance

For people who are aged 22 years or over and who have not reached age pension age and who are unemployed and looking for work.

Note: Some people who are working part-time may be considered to be unemployed for the purposes of Newstart Allowance.

Widow Allowance

For women who:

• were born on or before 1 July 1955, and

• were widowed, divorced or separated after turning 40 years, and

• have no recent workforce experience, and

• are an Australian resident.

Recent workforce experience means paid employment of 20 hours or more a week for a total of 13 weeks or more at any time during the last 12 months.

Online Services

You can claim Newstart Allowance online by going to humanservices.gov.au and selecting online services options.

You can access your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support Online Services through myGov.

myGov is a fast, simple way to access a range of government services online with one username, one password, all from one secure location. To create a myGov account, go to my.gov.au

For more information

Go to humanservices.gov.au or call us on 132 850 or visit one of our service centres.

If you need a translation of any documents for our business, we can arrange this for you free of charge.

To speak to us in languages other than English, call 131 202.

Note: Call charges apply – calls from mobile phones may be charged at a higher rate.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact the TTY service on Freecall™ 1800 810 586. A TTY phone is required to use this service.

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Information in other

languages

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Contents

Payments 4

Newstart Allowance 4

Newstart Allowance – Job Seeker 4

Newstart Allowance – Your Mutual Obligation Requirements 4

Widow Allowance 4

Payment information 5

Payments 5 Australian residence requirements 5

Income and assets 6

The income test 6

The assets test 6

Asset hardship provisions 7

Compensation payments 8

Working Credit 8

Job Commitment Bonus 8

Deeming 9

Income Streams 9

Someone to deal with us for you 10

Nominees and other arrangements 10

Definition of a partner 10

Confirming your identity 11

Changes you must tell us about 13

Other payments, concessions and help 15

More information 18

Additional information 19

Newstart Allowance – Activities for Principal Carers 19

Newstart Allowance – Annual Activity Requirement 19

Newstart Allowance – Mutual Obligation Requirements 19

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Payments

Newstart Allowance

To get Newstart Allowance you must:

• be aged 22 years or over and under age pension age

• be unemployed (which may include part-time work)

• be willing to undertake suitable paid employment

• be prepared to enter into, comply with or vary an existing Job Plan to fulfil your Mutual Obligation Requirements, and

• meet residence requirements.

Note: For more information about your Mutual Obligation Requirements, see page 19.

Mutual Obligation Requirements means Activity Test or participation requirements under the Social Security Act 1991. A Job Plan means an Employment Pathway Plan under the Social Security Act 1991.

Newstart Allowance – Job Seeker

Full-time work

Full-time work is considered to be 35 hours or more of suitable paid work per week.

Part-time work

Part-time work is considered to be less than 35 hours of suitable paid work per week.

Looking for work

You must be able to demonstrate you are actively looking for suitable paid employment for the entire period, unless you are otherwise meeting your Mutual Obligation Requirements while you are claiming a payment from us.

Looking for work includes:

• actively looking for and willing to accept suitable paid work including full-time, part-time and casual work

• up to 10 per fortnight may be required

• being willing to undertake any work you are able to do, not just the type of work you usually do

• attending ALL appointments when requested, or

• contacting to make alternative arrangements as soon as you are aware of an inability to attend.

Your Employment Services Provider or the Department of Human Services will discuss and agree with you what you need to do to satisfy your ongoing Mutual Obligation Requirements.

Newstart Allowance – Your Mutual Obligation Requirements

If you receive Newstart Allowance you have an obligation to participate in activities that will improve your chances of finding and keeping a job. It is also about the efforts you make, in return for your payments.

Your Mutual Obligation Requirements are contained in your Job Plan. Your Plan is negotiated between you and us, or your Employment Services Provider to help you achieve your employment goals.

Your Plan may include activities such as job search, education and training, and work experience activities or other activities to improve your chances of getting a job. It may also list the support available from your Employment Services Provider to help you look for a job.

Widow Allowance

To get Widow Allowance you must:

be a woman who was born on or before 1 July 1955 and:

• were widowed, divorced or separated after turning 40 years, and

• have no recent workforce experience, and

• meet residence requirements.

Recent workforce experience means paid employment of 20 hours or more a week for a total of 13 weeks or more at any time during the last 12 months.

Widow Allowance customers need to attend an annual interview. Attendance at this interview is

compulsory. If you do not attend your annual interview and do not contact us to arrange another time, you will have your payment stopped. You can speak with us about participating in services and programs before your compulsory interview.

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Payment information

Payments

Payments will be made fortnightly into an account that is in your or your nominee’s name. You will receive a letter in the mail explaining when your payments will start and how much you are entitled to be paid.

Note: Your first payment will usually be received within 16 days of your claim, although for some people there may be a waiting period or non-payment period. Do not spend all your money as you may need to access these funds until you receive your first payment.

Payment Waiting Periods

• Ordinary Waiting Period – 1 week applies to all claims unless waived under financial hardship.

• Liquid Assets Waiting Period – is the period you must wait before being paid an allowance if you have funds above a certain amount.

• Income Maintenance Period – is the period that your payment may be reduced or suspended if you and/or your partner have received a leave or redundancy payment.

Preclusion Periods

• If in the last 6 months you have done any Seasonal, Contract or Intermittent work and received above average wages for this work, you may need to wait before receiving your first payment.

• If you became voluntarily unemployed or were dismissed due to misconduct you may need to wait 8 weeks before receiving your payment.

• You may need to wait 12 weeks before being paid if you received relocation assistance through an Employment Services Provider for suitable work that you did not start, left voluntarily or were dismissed from due to misconduct.

Australian residence requirements

To be eligible for Newstart Allowance or Widow Allowance, you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be an Australian resident and in Australia when you lodge your claim.

You are an Australian resident (as defined by the Social Security Act 1991) if you are living in Australia and you are:

• an Australian citizen, or

• the holder of a permanent visa, or

• the holder of a Protected Special Category Visa, that is, you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and you were in Australia on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before this date, or were assessed as ‘protected’ before 26 February 2004.

If you are a non-protected Special Category Visa holder you may be able to access a once only payment of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance or Youth Allowance. At the time of making a claim you must have been living in Australia continuously for at least 10 years. Time spent in Australia before 27 February 2001 does not count towards this 10 years. If you are eligible, payment can be made for a maximum continuous period of up to 6 months.

You are ‘living in Australia’ if Australia is your usual place of residence. That is, Australia is where you make your home.

When we are deciding whether you are living in Australia we will look at:

• the nature of your accommodation, and

• the nature and extent of your family relationships in Australia, and

• the nature and extent of your employment, business or financial ties with Australia, and

• the frequency and duration of your travel outside Australia, and

• any other matter we think is relevant.

You also need to have been present in Australia as an Australian resident for a period or periods that total at least 104 weeks. This may not apply to you if you:

• arrived under a refugee or humanitarian program, or

• hold or previously held a certain visa subclass, or

• were the partner of a former refugee or humanitarian migrant at the time they arrived in Australia, or

• are claiming Widow Allowance and you ceased to be partnered when you and your partner were both Australian residents, or

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Payment information • continued

• are claiming Newstart Allowance and you:

– are an Australian citizen, or

– are the partner of an Australian citizen or long-term resident, or – are the partner of a refugee or humanitarian migrant, or

– became a single parent since the start of your current period of Australian residence.

For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/newresidentswaiting For more information about the conditions for payment outside Australia, go to humanservices.gov.au/paymentsoverseas

Income and assets

How much payment you receive will depend on your circumstances and your (and your partner’s) income and assets. We will calculate the amount that could be paid to you and, if applicable, to your partner under both the income test and the assets test. The test giving the lower rate of payment is the one used to pay you (and/or your partner).

The income test

Income includes money received from employment and money deemed to be earned from investments. It also includes money from outside Australia.

You can have income up to certain amounts before your payment is reduced.

Your income may include:

• deemed income from financial assets

• gross income from earnings (i.e. earnings before tax)

• income received to provide care

• net income from business, including farms

• family trust distributions or dividends from private company shares

• income attributable to the controllers of a private trust or private company

• income from rental property

• income from a life interest

• income from boarders and lodgers (other than immediate family)

• superannuation and pensions from countries other than Australia

• income from income stream products, superannuation pensions and annuities.

Funding you (and/or your partner) or children receive from the National Disability Insurance Scheme does not need to be included.

For more information about income, go to humanservices.gov.au/income

The assets test

Most things you own have a value and can be counted as assets. This includes assets outside Australia. For the purpose of calculating your payment, the value of your assets is what you would get for them if you sold them.

Generally, any debt owing on an asset is deducted from the value of the asset.

Your assets may include:

• rental properties, farms, second or holiday houses

• cars, caravans, boats or trailers

• home contents and personal effects, including antiques or other collectables

• the market or trade value of all savings and investments, including funeral bonds

• loans you have made to other people, family trusts and companies

• value of most income stream products

• business assets

• interest in a private trust or private company

• superannuation investments held by people over age pension age

• licenses (e.g. fishing or taxi)

• surrender value of life insurance policies, and

• any assets given away or sold for less that their market value within the last 5 years.

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Payment information • continued

The following assets are NOT included:

• your principal family home (and up to 2 hectares of privately used surrounding land that is on the same title document as the home), and any permanent fixtures such as wall-to-wall carpet and wall heaters

• some income stream products

• cemetery plots and pre-paid funeral expenses

• any property or monies left to you in an estate which you are not yet able to receive, generally for a period up to 12 months

• accommodation bonds paid to an aged care home or on entry to residential aged care

• aids for people with a disability

• monies received from the National Disability Insurance Scheme to provide for the needs of people with a disability

• most compensation or insurance payments for loss or damage to buildings or personal effects

• any life interest, reversionary interest, remainder interest or contingent interest unless it was created by you, your partner or at the time of death of your partner, and

• assets up to a certain limit held in a Special Disability Trust (SDT) for an immediate family member.

These are called exempt assets.

For more information about assets, go to humanservices.gov.au/assets

Asset hardship provisions

You can apply for hardship assistance if you are experiencing severe financial hardship and have little or no entitlement to a payment.

You may be considered in severe financial hardship if:

• your total income including any payment paid under the assets test is less than the maximum rate of that payment

• your readily available funds are less than the allowable limit, and

• there is no other course of action which you could be expected to take to improve your financial position.

You may be considered in severe financial hardship if you receive a pension and:

• your pension is reduced or not payable because of the assets test

• you own an asset which you cannot sell or be reasonably expected to sell

• you cannot borrow against the asset or be reasonably expected to borrow against the asset

• you would otherwise qualify for a payment under the income test, and

• the gifting rules do not apply or can be disregarded.

You may be considered in severe financial hardship if you receive an allowance or benefit and:

• your allowance or benefit is not payable because of the assets test

• you own an asset which you cannot sell

• you cannot borrow against the asset

• the asset is on the market to be sold at a realistic price

• you are unable to qualify for any other Australian Government assistance

• you would otherwise qualify for payment under the income test, and

• the gifting rules do not apply or can be disregarded.

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Payment information • continued

Compensation payments

What to do before you accept a compensation payment

When a settlement is pending you, or your Solicitor on your behalf, can take advantage of our compensation online estimate service. To access the estimator, go to

humanservices.gov.au/centrelinkcompensationrecovery The compensation online estimator will advise you:

• how a proposed lump sum compensation payment may affect Centrelink payments

• if you will need to pay back any Centrelink payments from your compensation payment, and

• whether your compensation payment(s) will stop you from receiving a payment from us in the future, and if it does, when the period starts and finishes.

What if you receive regular compensation payments?

If you get regular weekly, fortnightly or monthly compensation payments (such as workers’ compensation) and you apply for Centrelink payments, your Centrelink payments can be reduced by a dollar for every dollar of compensation payment. However, if you were receiving a Centrelink payment at the time of your accident, your regular compensation payments will be treated as ordinary income.

How does a compensation payment affect a couple’s regular payments?

If you are a member of a couple, then any amount of your regular compensation that exceeds your standard Centrelink payment rate will be treated as your partner’s ordinary income. The compensation may reduce your partner’s rate using the ordinary income test applying to their Centrelink payment.

Lump Sum Compensation Payments

If you get a lump sum compensation payment, which contains an amount for economic loss, we will work out a period, called a ‘preclusion period’, during which a person cannot get payments from us. The preclusion period can be in the past, in which case all Centrelink payments received during the period must be paid back or in the future, in which case no payments can be made until the period is over, or both. If you receive a lump sum compensation payment, your partner may not be affected by the preclusion period and can still receive Centrelink payments provided they are eligible.

Working Credit

Working Credit can assist you to take up work by allowing you to:

• keep more of your income support payment if you start full-time, part-time or casual work

• keep some extra benefits (for up to 12 weeks) if you are working and not getting any payment from us

• get your payments and benefits back if a short term job ends.

More information on how Working Credit can help you is available by going to humanservices.gov.au/workingcredit

Job Commitment Bonus

Job seekers 18–30 years of age who have been in receipt of Newstart Allowance for 12 months or Youth Allowance (Other) for 12 months or more could be eligible to receive bonuses totalling up to $6,500 if they start and remain in work.

What you need to do

To claim a $2,500 Job Commitment Bonus you need to remain in work and off payment for a continuous period of 12 months.

To claim a second Job Commitment Bonus of $4,000 you need to remain in work and off payment for a further continuous period of 12 months (a total of 24 months).

You will need to claim the Job Commitment Bonus within 90 days of becoming eligible for it, unless special circumstances apply, in which case your claim will need to be made within a further 90 days.

To demonstrate you have remained in continuous employment for a period of 12 to 24 months you will need to keep suitable documentary evidence that will be acceptable. For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/jobcommitmentbonus

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Payment information • continued

Deeming

Deeming is a simple set of social security rules used to assess income from financial assets. Under these rules we assume financial assets are earning a certain amount of income, regardless of the income they actually earn.

Financial assets include:

• bank, building society and credit union accounts

• term deposits and debentures

• friendly society bonds

• managed investments (e.g. unit, property trusts)

• listed shares and securities

• shares in unlisted public companies

• gold and silver bullion

• superannuation investments held by people over age pension age

• account-based income streams (e.g. account-based pensions and account-based annuities) purchased from 1 January 2015 and some purchased before 1 January 2015

• loans, including those to family members, family trusts and private companies, and

• gifts of money or other assets of more than $10,000 in an income year and $30,000 in 5 years.

If the actual income you receive from your investment is more than the deemed income, the extra income is not counted when assessing your rate of payment. The deeming rates are continually monitored to ensure that they are appropriate.

The deemed income is added to any income you have from other sources such as income from employment. Your total income is then used to work out how much you can be paid.

Income Streams

The term ‘income stream’ is used by us to describe a regular stream of payments of the following types:

• Account-based income stream (also known as Allocated Pension, Account-based Pension, Allocated Annuity or Account-based Annuity)

• Market-Linked income stream (also known as Term Allocated Pension)

• Annuities (e.g. lifetime and fixed term)

• Defined Benefit income stream (e.g. ComSuper pension, State Super pension or pension from a corporate super scheme).

Income streams may be purchased using savings or lump sum superannuation entitlements. They can be paid from a superannuation fund (including a Self Managed Super Fund or Small APRA Fund) or a Life company.

If you (and/or your partner) are receiving payments from an income stream, the value of the income stream may be either asset tested, asset test exempt or partially asset test exempt. This will depend on the characteristics of the income stream and its purchase date. The assessment of income for non-defined benefit pensions will generally be the gross annual payments from the income stream less a deduction representing return of capital, however, some short term income streams and some account-based income streams are subject to deeming. The assessment of income for defined benefit pensions will be the gross payment less the deductible amount which is based on the tax free component calculated by the superannuation fund.

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Someone to deal with us for you

Nominees and other arrangements

Some customers have difficulty managing their affairs often because of a disability or illness, problems with reading, writing or understanding information or difficulty handling money.

If you need help dealing with us, a Person Permitted to Enquire (PPE) or Nominee Arrangement is available.

Person Permitted to Enquire arrangements allow you to authorise a person or organisation to make limited enquiries only about your record.

A Person Permitted to Enquire is not a Nominee Arrangement.

A Nominee Arrangement authorises a person or organisation to enquire, act and make changes on your behalf and/or receive your income support payment on your behalf.

If you want to request either of these arrangements, complete the Authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf form (SS313).

If you do not have this form, go to humanservices.gov.au/nominees or call us on 132 850.

Definition of a partner

For our purposes a person is considered to be your partner if you and the person are living together, or usually live together, and are:

• married, or

• in a registered relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex), or

• in a de facto relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex).

We consider a person to be in a de facto relationship from the time they commence living with another person as a member of a couple.

We recognise all couples, opposite-sex and same-sex.

For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/moc

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Confirming your identity

As a customer you are required to confirm your identity when claiming a payment or service from the Australian Government Department of Human Services. In most cases, you will only need to confirm your identity once. You must confirm your identity by providing original documents (not copies) from the approved list below. We need you to provide the following:

• 1 Commencement of Identity document, and

• 1 Primary Use in Community document, and

• 1 Secondary Use in Community document.

Note: An identity document cannot be used multiple times (e.g. a document used as Commencement of Identity, cannot be used again as a Primary or Secondary Use in Community document).

If you have difficulty in obtaining or providing these documents, you need to contact us as soon as possible.

Where possible, we will use the documents you provide to confirm your age, residence, income and/or assets if that is relevant to the payment or service you are applying for. To be eligible for some payments or services, you may need to provide additional documents.

Who needs to confirm their identity?

Depending on the payment or service you are claiming you may need to confirm your identity by providing identity documents from the approved list. You will be advised of the identity requirements for the payment or services you are claiming when you apply. For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au

If you are required to confirm your identity, you will need to provide one document for EACH of the following categories:

• Commencement of Identity, and

• Primary Use in Community, and

• Secondary Use in Community.

Commencement of Identity

Document Explanation/description

Australian Birth Certificate Original Australian birth certificate, extract or birth card issued in your name/former name.

Australian Visa Australian visa, current at time of entry to Australia as resident or tourist, issued in your name/former name.

Australian Citizenship Certificate Australian citizenship certificate issued in your name/former name.

ImmiCard A photo identity card issued in your name/former name by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) that assists the cardholder to prove their visa/migration status and enrol in services.

Australian Passport (current) Australian passport in your name/former name. Expired passports are not acceptable.

Certificate of Identity Certificate of Identity issued in your name/former name by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to refugees and non Australian citizens for entry to Australia.

Certificate of Evidence of

Resident Status Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status issued in your name/former name by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

Document of Identity Document of Identity issued in your name/former name by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to Australian citizens or persons who possess the nationality of a Commonwealth country, for travel purposes.

Note: The above documents can also be used to satisfy Primary or Secondary Use in Community (if not already used as Commencement of Identity).

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Confirming your identity • continued

Primary Use in Community

Document Explanation/description

Shooter or Firearm Licence Current shooter or firearm licence showing signature and/or photo and same name as claim.

Cannot accept: minor or junior permit and/or licence.

Australian Driver Licence – Motor

Vehicle Current state or territory issued driver licence, learner permit or provisional licence showing signature and/

or photo and same name as claim.

Australian Marriage Certificate Marriage certificate issued by a state or territory government agency.

Cannot accept: church or celebrant issued certificates.

Passport issued outside Australia Current passport issued by a country other than Australia, with a valid entry stamp or visa.

Proof of Age Card Current proof of age or photo identity card issued by a government agency in your name with photo and/or signature.

Student ID Card (Persons aged under 18 years with no other Primary Use in Community only)

Current secondary student ID card issued in your name with photo and/or signature.

Note: The above documents can also be used to satisfy Secondary Use in Community (if not already used as Primary Use in Community)

Secondary Use in Community

Document Explanation/description

Security Licence Current security protection industry or crowd control licence, showing signature and/or photo and same name as claim.

Bank/Financial Institution Card,

statement or passbook Current ATM, credit or debit card showing your name and signature. Statement or passbook from current savings or cheque account showing your name and same address (if applicable) as your claim.

Cannot accept: cards issued by organisations other than banks, credit unions or building societies, ATM or internet receipts/statements or account documentation issued by banks/financial institutions outside Australia.

Child’s Birth Certificate Australian birth certificate for a child showing your name as parent/guardian.

Cannot accept: sibling’s certificate.

Defence Force Identity Card Identity card issued by the Australian Defence Force, showing same name as claim, and photo or signature.

Australian Divorce Papers Australian divorce papers in your name/former name (e.g. Decree Nisi, Decree Absolute).

Educational Certificate Educational qualification certificate in your name/former name (school/TAFE/university/Registered Training Organisation [RTO]).

Certified Academic Transcript Certified academic transcript from an Australian university in your name/former name.

Mortgage Papers Legally drawn mortgage papers for an Australian residence in your name/former name.

Name Change Legal change of name certificate or deed poll certificate.

Veterans’ Affairs Card Current Department of Veterans’ Affairs card issued in your name.

Tenancy Agreement or Lease Current formal residential tenancy agreement or lease in your name and showing same address as claim.

Motor Vehicle Registration Current motor vehicle registration showing your name, same address as claim and proof of payment.

Foreign Government issued

Documents Documents issued by a country other than Australia (comparable to Australian issued documents), including foreign birth, marriage and education certificates, lapsed foreign passports, foreign driver licences and overseas national identity cards.

Australian Government (Commonwealth, state or territory) issued photo ID Card

Current Commonwealth, state or territory issued photo identification card issued in your name.

Rates Notice Paid rates notice in your name and showing same address as claim, less than 12 months old.

Utility Account A paid utility account (e.g. gas, water, electricity or phone) in your name and showing receipt number and same address as claim, less than 12 months old.

Student ID Card Current student ID card issued in your name with photo and/or signature (secondary/TAFE/university/

Registered Training Organisation [RTO]).

Electoral Enrolment Proof of electoral enrolment card issued in your name and same address as claim.

Aviation Security Identity Card (ASIC) Current aviation security identity card showing same name as claim, photo and/or signature.

Maritime Security Identification Card Current maritime security identification card showing same name as claim, photo and/or signature.

Police Identity Card Current police identity card showing same name as claim, photo and/or signature.

Prison release certificate A prison release certificate in your name with a photo and/or signature.

Note: Certificates that do not meet this criteria cannot be used.

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Changes you must tell us about

If you do not tell us about changes, you could have a debt. If you have a debt, you may have to pay all or some of the money back. If you do not tell us about income you have earned, or if you provide false or misleading information about your income, you may also have to pay a recovery fee.

After you claim Newstart Allowance or Widow Allowance, you must tell us within 14 days if any of the following happens.

If you have a partner, you must also tell us if any of the following happens to your partner.

If you are claiming Newstart Allowance or Widow Allowance, make sure you understand all of the changes you must tell us about.

To advise us of changes, call us on 132 850.

Changes to your work You must tell us if:

• you start, stop or restart work (for any number of hours)

• you change jobs or become self-employed (this can be full-time, part-time, casual work)

• your income from employment changes

• your (or your partner’s) hours of work change

• you start or stop doing unpaid voluntary work

• you are sick or injured and cannot look for work or go on a training course, or

• you leave a training course before it ends, or are absent for any period.

To help us pay you the right amount you should bring your payslips with you if you are required to lodge an Income Statement.

Changes to your personal

circumstances You must tell us if:

• you change address, telephone details, etc.

• you sell your home and buy another house

• the amount of rent you pay changes

• you receive Rent Assistance and you stop paying rent, or the amount of rent you pay changes, or you start or cease sharing accommodation

• you start to pay or stop paying rent to a state, territory or housing authority

• you are under 25 years of age and you receive Rent Assistance with your Newstart Allowance and you move in with one or both of your parents or a parent moves in with you

• you move into a retirement village

• you marry; are in or commence an opposite-sex or same-sex registered or de facto relationship, reconcile with a former partner, or start living with someone as their partner

• you separate from your partner

• your partner dies

• you enter a residential care home (nursing home or hostel)

• your Australian residence status changes.

Travelling outside Australia You must tell us if you are going overseas and:

• you are receiving Widow Allowance and you will be away for longer than 6 weeks, or

• you are receiving Newstart Allowance and:

– you plan to live in another country, or – you are travelling on a cruise ship, or

– you are leaving due to an acute family crisis, for medical treatment overseas, for humanitarian reasons or to attend a training camp with the Defence Force Reserves, or

– your dependent child will be away for longer than 6 weeks, or

– you are receiving payment under a residence exemption available to New Zealand citizens.

For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/paymentsoverseas about how your payment or concession card may be affected and whether you should contact us about leaving or returning to Australia.

You can also contact us if you want to find out more.

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Changes you must tell us about • continued

Changes to your financial circumstances

You must tell us if:

• you sell, buy or change an investment (i.e. shares, managed investment units and debentures)

• you are issued with bonus shares

• you receive any lump sum payments such as proceeds from an estate or winnings

• your income stream balance or payments change or you start receiving an income stream payment (e.g. annuity or superannuation pension)

• you make any commutations from your income stream

• you buy or sell a property or the income you receive from a property changes

• you receive any payments from a country other than Australia or your payments change

• you become involved in a business, or the nature of your involvement changes

• you become involved in, the nature of your involvement changes or you receive a benefit from a private trust or private company

• you become involved in, or receive a benefit from, a private trust or private company OR if the nature of your involvement in, or the benefit you derive from, a private trust or company changes.

Gifts and loans You must tell us if:

• you receive a valuable gift, or win money

• you make any gifts to another person (including family and friends) or charities, such as giving a deposit to buy a home, cash, valuable jewellery, a car or holiday

• you sell assets for less than market value

• you take out a loan or lend money (including to family).

Other changes You must tell us if:

• the value of your (or your partner’s) assets increases above or decreases below the allowable levels, (if you have not been told of the allowable levels contact one of our service centres)

• you apply for, or vary, your enrolment at, school, college, university or other technical institution

• you claim or start to receive another government pension, payment or allowance (including Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments)

• you change or close the account into which payments are made

• you are imprisoned

• you (or your partner) make a withdrawal from a deferred annuity, approved deposit fund or superannuation fund investment

• your family circumstances change impacting on your ability to seek paid work

• you receive any leave payments

• you have received a redundancy payment since 20 September 2006 and have not already advised us.

Change of dependants details You must tell us if:

• the number of dependants changes

• you (or your partner) receive maintenance/child support for yourself or your children (whether periodic, lump sum or capital transfer) including any regular support or assistance similar to maintenance/child support (such as payments made to another person on your behalf for mortgage, rent, and school fees) or the amount of maintenance/child support changes

• a child under 16 years of age enters your care and control

• you have a child under 16 who ceases full-time studies and has income of more than $181.10 per week

• you have a child under 16 years and the child:

– leaves home

– is granted a pension, benefit or allowance.

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Other payments, concessions and help

If you receive Newstart Allowance or Widow Allowance, there are other payments, concessions and help you may be eligible for.

Advance Payments Customers can apply for an Advance Payment which is a lump sum amount paid from part of your future payment. It can help you pay larger expenses or bills which you do not have enough money for. The Advance Payment is recovered, interest free, from your payments over 13 fortnights.

The Advance Payment is limited by maximum and minimum amounts which depend on the rate of payment you receive.

The number of Advance Payments you can receive over a 12 month period will depend on the type of payment that you receive and whether you are eligible.

Centrepay Centrepay allows customers to have regular amounts deducted from their income support payment for various purposes such as gas, rent, water, rates and electricity. Participation in the scheme is entirely voluntary and customers may withdraw from the scheme at any time. This service is provided free of charge.

Commonwealth Carelink Centres

Commonwealth Carelink Centres assist older Australians and their families, people with special care needs and carers with information about community, residential and other aged care services. Anyone can visit one of the Centres across Australia or call Freecall™ 1800 052 222 for assistance.

Community Engagement Officers

Community Engagement Officers may be able to visit you if you are homeless, living in a hostel or refuge, suffering from a mental illness or fleeing from domestic violence. Community Engagement Officers can tell you about our payments and services and help you access these services. They provide our services in locations like rehabilitation centres, psychiatric hospitals, prisons, hostels and drop-in centres.

Dad and Partner Pay Dad and Partner Pay is a payment under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. The payment helps dads or partners (including adopting parents and same-sex couples) when they take unpaid time off work to bond with their new baby or adopted child.

If eligible, you will be able to receive up to two weeks Dad and Partner Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage.

For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/dadandpartnerpay

Deductions of child support

payments All child support payers, who do not have their child in care for at least 14 per cent of the time, will have to pay child support. There is a minimum amount of child support payments that can be deducted from your income support payments.

If the child support payer owes child support or has children from 3 or more previous relationships then up to 3 times the minimum rate can be deducted per fortnight from income support payments, including recipients of Youth Allowance (including Youth Allowance paid to parents of a Youth Allowee under 18 years of age).

Child Support services determine the amount to be deducted. We cannot alter or cancel a deduction.

You must contact Child Support services to do this on 131 272.

Essential Medical Equipment

Payment If you use, or care for someone that is using, essential medical equipment or medically required heating/cooling in your current residence, you may be eligible for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment.

For more information about how to claim, go to humanservices.gov.au/emep or call us on 132 468.

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Other payments, concessions and help • continued

Family assistance Family Tax Benefit helps with the cost of raising children. It is made up of two parts: Family Tax Benefit Part A and Family Tax Benefit Part B.

Family Tax Benefit Part A is paid for each child. The amount you get is based on your family’s circumstances.

If your child is born or adopted on or after 1 March 2014, you may receive an increase to your Family Tax Benefit Part A called Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.

Family Tax Benefit Part B gives extra help to single parents and families with one main income, where one parent stays at home to care for children full-time, or balances some paid work with caring for children.

Child support and family assistance are closely linked. If you receive child support and Family Tax Benefit, the child support you receive will be considered when we calculate your Family Tax Benefit payment.

Family Tax Benefit is income tested.

For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/families

Financial Information Service Officers

Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers can give you free, independent information. This will help you understand investments and how they work, and help you make better financial decisions.

Health Care Card If you get Newstart Allowance and Widow Allowance you will automatically get a Health Care Card. A Health Care Card provides you access to pharmaceutical medications listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at a reduced cost. You may also receive other concessions provided by state and territory governments.

Indigenous Services Staff Indigenous Services Staff are located in most of our service centres. Some service centres also have interpreters who speak Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages and teams who visit and help remote communities.

Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance

Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Child Care fee assistance provides extra help with the cost of Child Care Benefit approved child care for eligible parent(s)/guardian(s) undertaking activities such as job search, work, study or training as part of a Job Plan or Participation Plan, to help them to enter or re-enter the workforce.

JET Child Care fee assistance can help meet the cost of child care by paying some of the difference between the total child care fee and the amount covered by Child Care Benefit for care related to participation in approved activities.

JET Child Care fee assistance payments are made directly to the child care service on behalf of parents.

Parents will still make a contribution towards the cost of care.

A different gap fee may be payable for any child care used in the week not related to an approved activity.

Note: To be eligible for JET Child Care fee assistance, you must receive the maximum rate of Child Care Benefit as reduced fees (you cannot elect a lesser rate) and be on a qualifying income support payment.

For more information about JET Child Care fee assistance refer to the Request for Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance claim form (SC320) or call us on 136 150 to find out if you qualify for this additional assistance.

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Other payments, concessions and help • continued

Mobility Allowance Mobility Allowance provides assistance with the costs of travel for people with disability who cannot use public transport without extra help. To be eligible for Mobility Allowance you must also be undertaking an approved activity such as job search activities with an Employment Services Provider, a vocational rehabilitation program, or any combination of voluntary work, paid work and vocational training for at least 32 hours every 4 weeks. There does not need to be public transport in your area to qualify for Mobility Allowance.

You may be eligible for a higher rate of Mobility Allowance if you are on Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment or Disability Support Pension, and you are working 15 hours or more per week at or above the minimum wage or under the Supported Wage System, or you have a Job Plan with an Employment Services Provider to look for work of 15 hours or more per week.

In some instances the higher rate may remain payable if a customer leaves Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Disability Support Pension.

Paid Parental Leave scheme Parental Leave Pay is a payment under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. Parental Leave Pay helps eligible working parents with costs following the birth or adoption of a child. If eligible, you will be able to receive Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage for up to 18 weeks.

Parental Leave Pay, Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement paid with Family Tax Benefit Part A cannot be paid for the same child. Where Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement paid with Family Tax Benefit Part A has been received and Parental Leave Pay is granted at a later date, the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement will be overpaid and will have to be paid back.

For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/paidparentalleave

Paying tax There are some payments that are taxable and have to be added to other income you get during the financial year. This could mean you have to pay tax.

If you ask us to, we can deduct tax from your payment, if it is taxable. For more information, speak to a qualified accountant or call the Australian Taxation Office.

Pension Supplement (for Widow Allowance only)

Pension Supplement is paid automatically to people who are over age pension age.

It is paid fortnightly with your regular payment. A separate claim is not required for Pension Supplement.

You have the choice of receiving the minimum amount of the Pension Supplement as a quarterly payment.

Pensioner Concession Card A Pensioner Concession Card provides certain customers with access to Australian Government concessions. These include subsidised prescription medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. State and territory governments also provide a range of concessions on government and household services to Pensioner Concession Card holders.

You may be eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card if you are a single principal carer of a dependent child(ren) under 16 years of age, or if you have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work. You can also get a Pensioner Concession Card if you are aged 60 or over and have been continuously receiving certain payments for more than 9 months.

Pensioner Education

Supplement The Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) is a payment that helps with the costs of study. It is not taxable and it is not income or asset tested.

If you are transferring to Newstart Allowance and are currently receiving PES, you may continue to receive PES until your current course/studies finish or you change or cease your current course.

If you are a single principal carer getting Newstart Allowance, you may be eligible for Pensioner Education Supplement at any time but you must also be doing a course that is approved by us. For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au/pensionereducation or call us on 132 490 or visit one of our service centres.

Pharmaceutical Allowance You may get extra money to help pay for the cost of prescription medicines. This is called Pharmaceutical Allowance. Pharmaceutical Allowance is paid automatically with your payment, a separate claim is not required.

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Other payments, concessions and help • continued

Remote Area Allowance Remote Area Allowance was introduced as an additional assistance for our customers in remote areas. It recognises that many customers who do not pay tax, or very little tax, do not get the full benefit of tax zone rebates. Remote Area Allowance makes a contribution towards some of the costs associated with living in particularly remote areas.

Rent Assistance You may be eligible for Rent Assistance if you rent your accommodation in the private rental market. This includes paying private rent, board or lodging for accommodation in a house, flat or unit, boarding house, hostel or private hotel. It also includes paying ground rent, site fees or mooring fees for a caravan, mobile home or boat in which you live.

Rent Deduction Scheme The Rent Deduction Scheme allows customers in public housing to have their housing payments (such as rent, loan repayments and arrears) deducted from their payment and sent directly to the Housing Authority in their state or territory.

Social Workers We have professional social workers in our service centres and Smart Centres throughout Australia. Social workers can offer you personal counselling and support in difficult times, such as domestic and family violence, severe financial hardship, homelessness, loss and bereavement. They can refer you to other services and programs like housing, health, emergency relief, legal and/or counselling services and support groups.

Telephone Allowance Telephone Allowance is paid to assist you with the cost of maintaining a mobile or home telephone service in Australia.

You must have a telephone or mobile phone service connected in your (or your partner’s) name to receive the basic rate of Telephone Allowance.

Telephone Allowance is paid quarterly in January, March, July and September with your usual fortnightly payment.

More information

For more information about us and the services we provide, go to humanservices.gov.au/newstart Our Smart Centres are staffed with people who can answer your questions.

Call 132 850 to find out anything that is not clear about allowances.

If you are claiming Widow Allowance, you do not need to read on.

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Additional information

Newstart Allowance – Activities for Principal Carers

If you are the principal carer of a dependent child or children under 16 years of age, you must be actively looking for suitable paid work of 15 hours or more a week, and you must accept offers of suitable paid work of up to 25 hours per week and undertake other activities which are included in your Job Plan to meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements. If you are a principal carer, suitable work also means you can access appropriate care and supervision for your child(ren) during work hours.

However, if you are undertaking suitable paid work (including self-employment) or undertaking an approved short course (or in some limited circumstances voluntary work) or a combination of these activities for 15 hours or more per week, you will fully meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements.

Newstart Allowance – Annual Activity

Requirement

As part of your Mutual Obligation Requirements, you may also have an Annual Activity Requirement.

You will have an Annual Activity Requirement if you are 18 to 59 years of age and engaged with an

Employment Services Provider. Your Employment Services Provider will talk to you more about when you will need to meet an Annual Activity Requirement.

Newstart Allowance – Mutual Obligation Requirements

Mutual Obligation Requirements mean you must:

• be actively looking for work and/or be participating in other approved activities that will improve your chances of finding work, such as Work for the Dole, voluntary work or vocational training.

• be willing to take any suitable job that you are capable of doing, including full-time, part-time and casual jobs, and

• agree to requests to take suitable paid work, or to go on approved training courses.

If you are the principal carer of a dependent child or children, or have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work, you will have part time Mutual Obligation Requirements.

What is suitable paid work?

It is any work that you can do. You must not restrict your efforts to only a few employers or to industries where you prefer to work. You are required to apply for any work you are capable of doing.

Reporting to us

• While you are receiving Newstart Allowance as a job seeker you must report to us on a regular basis, usually each fortnight. We will advise you if you can report less often.

• Reporting will normally be done using our self service facilities, either online (via our website) or by phone, but can also be done in person using a ‘Reporting Statement – Application for Payment’ form. We will advise you of your options for lodgement, based on your circumstances.

• You need to tell us about any work that you (or your partner) have done in the fortnight and the amount of income you have earned.

• We may check the information you provide, including contacting the employers you have nominated.

• You need to tell us about your participation in any agreed activities in the fortnight.

• If you are lodging your ‘Reporting Statement – Application for Payment’ in person, you can attach your payslips or use the ‘Income Record’ form to help you do this.

• You must complete your ‘Reporting Statement – Application for Payment’ form and present it to us on time to make sure you get paid. If your regular reporting date is inconvenient due to your employment or other ongoing commitments, you should talk to us and we may be able to change your lodgement day.

A Job Plan

If you have Mutual Obligation Requirements, you will be required to enter into a Job Plan in order to receive Newstart Allowance. The Plan may include:

• job search requirements

• paid work, and/or

• other approved activities that you will undertake now or in the future to improve your chances of finding work, such as, Work for the Dole, voluntary work or vocational training.

The Plan is designed to ensure that you clearly understand what you need to do to continue to receive payment. It provides a plan of action to find employment and activities tailored to your individual circumstances.

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Additional information • continued

Newstart Allowance – Mature Aged People aged 55 and over If you are a Newstart customer aged 55 and over, you must either be:

• working in suitable paid employment, self-employment, approved voluntary work or a combination of these for at least 15 hours a week (or 30 hours a fortnight), or

• actively looking for suitable paid employment.

Newstart Allowance – People assessed as having a partial capacity to work

If you are a Newstart customer with a permanent disability that prevents you from working full-time, depending on your assessed capacity you must either:

• actively look for suitable paid employment of 15 hours or more a week

• actively participate in an approved activity, or

• attend a quarterly interview with us.

Special circumstances

If you think there are special circumstances which stop you from looking for work, you should contact us.

You may be eligible for an exemption from your Mutual Obligation Requirements.

You will be required to provide evidence of any special circumstances (e.g. a medical certificate).

Mutual Obligation Requirements – Exemptions

If you are the principal carer of a child(ren) under 16 years you may qualify for an exemption from your Mutual Obligation Requirements. If you are a single parent, receiving Newstart Allowance, and are a registered and active foster carer, home educator, distance educator, have a large family or are a relative (non-parent) caring for a child under a Family Law Order or formal state or territory protection plan, you will receive a higher rate of allowance, which is equivalent to the Parenting Payment (single) rate. There are a number of temporary exemptions for special family circumstances, from Mutual Obligation Requirements, which may be available to you as a parent, no matter which payment you receive. We will discuss your Mutual Obligation Requirements and individual family circumstances with you when negotiating your Job Plan.

Thinking of moving? Have you moved recently?

If you move to a new location and your job opportunities are reduced, your Newstart Allowance may be stopped. You may then have to wait up to 26 weeks from when you move before you can get payment.

We will not impose this 26 weeks non-payment period if you move:

• to a location where we consider you have not reduced your job opportunities, or

• to take up a definite job offer, or

• to live with or near immediate family, or

• where a doctor recommends you or an immediate family member move for health reasons.

Remember it is important that you check with us before you move.

Declaring income from work

If you are required to lodge a Reporting Statement – Application for Payment form, you will need to tell us about any work that you (or your partner) have done in the reporting period.

You will need to tell us about:

• the dates you (or your partner) worked

• the number of hours you (or your partner) worked

• how much you (or your partner) earned (before tax), even if you have not been paid

• business related expenses if you work for yourself.

If you receive payslips, please attach them to your Reporting Statement – Application for Payment form, if lodging the form in person, or keep them as we may ask for them in the future.

You must report your earnings fortnightly to us.

To help you keep track of your work you can also ask for an ‘Income Record’ form.

Remember, if you do not tell us about income you have earned, or provide false or misleading information about this income, you may be overpaid. In addition to repaying this debt, you may also have to pay an additional recovery fee.

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Additional information • continued

Your responsibilities, and consequences of not meeting your Mutual Obligations Requirements – job seekers

Meeting your requirements is a condition of your payment. If you do not meet your requirements you may incur a failure and you may lose some or all of your payment.

Compulsory appointments with Employment Services Providers

It is important to go to all appointments with your Employment Services Provider. If you cannot make it, you must tell your provider before the appointment.

If you do not attend an appointment and have not contacted your provider with a valid reason beforehand, your payment will stop and you will not be able to report. Your payment will stay suspended until you have talked with your provider and, where required, attended a new appointment.

You may also incur a financial penalty if you did not have a valid reason for not attending the appointment or contacting your provider before the scheduled appointment to explain why you were unable to attend.

Connection Failures

You may incur a connection failure if you do not enter into a Job Plan when asked to do so, attend other compulsory appointments as required, or do not meet your job search requirements without a valid reason.

Connection failures do not result in a financial penalty. We will talk with you about what you need to do so that you do not incur a reconnection failure and have your payment stopped.

Non Attendance Failure

You may incur a non attendance failure if you did not attend an appointment with your provider. Even if you had a good reason for not attending, you may still incur a non attendance failure if you did not contact your provider before the appointment start time to explain why you were unable to attend.

If you incur a non attendance failure your payment will stop until you do what you were meant to. You will not be entitled to back pay for the time you missed.

Reconnection Failures

If you miss an appointment for any reason, a new appointment will be arranged for you.

If you do not attend the new appointment your payment will stop. You may also incur a reconnection failure, which means you would not get back payment, if you:

• do not have a valid reason for not attending the appointment, or

• did not contact beforehand to advise why you were unable to attend, or

• do not enter into a Job Plan if asked to do so at this appointment.

If you incur a reconnection failure you may lose your income support payments until you do what you were meant to do. You will not be entitled to any back pay for the time you missed.

You may also incur a reconnection failure if you do not meet further job search requirements given to you as a result of a connection failure.

Job Seeker Diary

A Job Seeker Diary is issued if you do not meet your job search requirements and this has resulted in a connection failure – see above, Connection Failures. If you are given a Job Seeker Diary this must be used to record all your efforts to find employment for the next 6 fortnights. For every job you apply for, you must give details of the following:

• employers business name and phone number

• the type of job you applied for and the method of contact

• the date of employer contact.

You will be advised of the date you will be required to return the Job Seeker Diary to us and your efforts to find employment may be verified.

If you do not satisfactorily complete and return your Job Seeker Diary no later than the due date without a valid reason, this could result in a reconnection failure – see above, Reconnection Failures. A reconnection failure will mean that you will be required to complete an Employer Contact Certificate – see page–22 Employer Contact Certificates.

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Additional information • continued

Employer Contact Certificates

Employer Contact Certificates are issued if a Job Seeker Diary was not satisfactorily returned on the due date and this resulted in a reconnection failure – see page–21 Reconnection Failures. In order to fulfil your requirements you must complete the Employer Contact Certificates and return them to us as soon as possible. You will lose your payment until you do so. You may lose your payment for up to 8 weeks if you are persistently or deliberately avoiding your obligations.

No Show, No Pay Failures

You may incur a No Show, No Pay failure, resulting in the loss of a day’s income support for each day that you:

• do not participate in a compulsory activity included in your Job Plan (such as training or Work for the Dole), without a valid reason, or

• do not attend a job interview without a valid reason, or

• attend a job interview but deliberately act in a way that results in a job offer not being made.

If you do not contact your Employment Services Provider beforehand to advise why you would not be able to attend your activity, you may incur a No Show, No Pay failure even if you have a good reason for not being able to participate.

If you have not attended a compulsory activity arranged by your Employment Services Provider for a period of time, your payment may stop until you talk with us and agree to attend a new appointment with your provider to discuss your non attendance.

Comprehensive Compliance Assessments

If you appear to be having difficulty meeting your requirements by not going to your activities or appointments, we will conduct a Comprehensive Compliance Assessment to see if you need more or different assistance in meeting your requirements.

Serious Failures – non-compliance with your Mutual Obligation Requirements

If you repeatedly do not turn up to your appointments or activities, you may be asked to attend a

Comprehensive Compliance Assessment, and you may incur a serious failure if you are found to have been persistently not meeting your requirements.

The penalty for a serious failure is an 8 week non-payment period.

During the 8 week non-payment period your payment may be reinstated if you agree to do a Compliance Activity. If you have full-time Mutual Obligation Requirements this will generally be 25 hours a week of full-time Work for the Dole for 8 weeks, it may include other similar activities if appropriate. If you incur a serious failure and you would like to do a Compliance Activity, talk with us so that an appointment can be booked with your Employment Services Provider to negotiate an appropriate activity.

Serious failures for refusing suitable work

It is very important you accept all offers of suitable work and start work you have accepted as planned.

If you do not, you may incur a serious failure and your payment will stop for 8 weeks.

You can have your payment reinstated by doing a Compliance Activity.

Avoiding a failure

To prevent a failure, you need to:

• go to all appointments that we or your provider arrange for you or tell them in advance why you cannot make it, and

• read all mail from us or your provider and respond to mail if it asks you to do something, and

• undertake the activities in your Job Plan or talk to us or your provider if you are having difficulties with your activities, and

• tell us if you change your address.

If you cannot do an activity listed in your Job Plan, or cannot attend an appointment that has been arranged for you, contact the organisation that arranged the appointment or activity as soon as possible. If you do so, you may be able to make another time to attend your activity or appointment. If you do not contact beforehand when you are able to do so, your income support payment may be reduced, or stopped, even if you have a good reason for not being able to attend.

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Additional information • continued

Talking to us is the best way to avoid a failure. For more information on avoiding a failure or the consequences of a failure contact us.

Also, talk to us if you have a reason why a failure should not apply to you. You have the right to an independent review.

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References