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C20/2011 Changes to policy regarding the assessment of Supported Residential Services


DATE OF ISSUE:  30 November 2011

Changes to policy regarding the assessment of Supported Residential Services

Amends DI No.


Replaces DI No.



This Departmental Instruction is to advise staff of changes to the income support assessment of Supported Residential Services (SRS) residents.  These minor and beneficial policy changes ensure alignment between FaHCSIA and DVA policy.

Previous policy

The in-care basic assessment rules in CLIK Compensation and Support Policy library 9.2.4 provide that if a person was previously a homeowner and has retained that home, it will remain exempt from assessment under the assets test for 2 years from the day the person starts to be in care.

The definition of in a care situation in the VEA section 5NC includes community-based care, where a person is receiving, or is likely to receive, a substantial level of care in a private residence for at least 14 consecutive days.

Under the previous policy, SRS residents could not be assessed as receiving community-based care.  This meant that the former principal home of an SRS resident was assessable from the time that they entered the SRS.

The result was that SRS residents were disadvantaged compared to people living in approved residential aged care facilities, as their former principal home was immediately regarded as an assessable asset for pension purposes.

New policy

A person residing in a SRS can now be regarded as being in care where they can demonstrate that they are receiving, or are likely to receive, a substantial level of care for at least 14 days. Therefore, consistent with other people receiving community-based care, where this criteria is met, SRS residents will be able to access the 2-year assets test exemption for their former principal home.

The new policy was prompted by a change in FaHCSIA policy. The change ensures a consistent assessment approach for all SRS residents, receiving income support payments from either DVA or Centrelink.

Action required

Any cases identified as being affected by this policy change should be referred to the Policy Advisings Income Support inbox.  This will enable consideration of individual circumstances and clarification of any backdating.

CLIK policy library updates

The CLIK Comp and Support Policy library has been updated to reflect the new policy at:

A substantial level of care is defined in the glossary in the CLIK Compensation and Support Policy library and is linked to these references.

DI C03/2007 now superseded

The previous policy as outlined in Departmental Instruction DI C03/2007 is no longer current and should not be relied upon to guide decision making.

Contact officer

The contact officer for this instruction is Sharon Ride, Benefits and Payments Policy on extension 11178.


Adam Luckhurst

National Manager

Rehabilitation and Entitlements Policy Group

25 November 2011