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5.3 Special Financial Assistance (see 5.3 of the Instruments)

Last amended: 2 May 2011

Where a Board or the Commission considers that exceptional circumstances, beyond the control of the student, have hindered or will hinder a student's progress:

(a)the Board may recommend payment of Special Financial Assistance in respect of that student; or

(b)the Commission may approve payment of Special Financial Assistance in respect of that student.

The Commission may approve payment of Special Financial Assistance recommended by the Board under paragraph 5.3.1.  Under Volume 1/04/06 this power was delegated to the National Manager Veterans' Compensation Group (SES Band 1).  This position is currently the Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation and Entitlements Policy Branch.

For “exceptional circumstances” to exist there must be external factors that impact on a student's educational progress.  Examples of circumstances that may be considered “exceptional” for the payment of Special Financial Assistance include:

  • an electronic wheelchair provided to a student to enable him or her to attend classes;
  • speech therapy classes;
  • one off assistance towards school fees for a homeless student.

Assistance towards the cost of computers is generally precluded, except in very exceptional circumstances such as in the case of students who have a disability which necessitates that they have a computer in order to undertake their studies.

Special Financial Assistance should not be granted for the payment of school fees, unless “exceptional circumstances” exist, as this is provided for in the payment of education allowance.

Applications for this benefit should include full details of the circumstances necessitating a grant of Special Financial Assistance, and should be made on the Special Financial Assistance claim form.

Applications for minor amounts of Special Financial Assistance are generally decided by the Education Scheme Secretary, however requests for large grants, as well as applications likely to be declined, should be referred to the relevant Board for consideration and advice.

The amount of assistance which the Secretary may approve for a student is limited to a maximum of $2,000.00 per annum (see Departmental Instruction C16/2007).  If assistance above this amount is being requested, the matter is referred to the Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation and Entitlements Policy Branch, via the Policy Officer Children's Education Schemes.  Up to an additional $2,000.00 can be granted per annum.  Assistance in excess of this requires approval by Commission.

Such applications should be accompanied by supporting documentation and the recommendation of the Board. *

If an application is declined, the applicant must be notified, in writing, of the reasons for the decision and informed of their right of review.

* As from 1 May 2012, all applications for Special Financial Assistance are to be determined by the First Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation and Support, via the Policy Officer – Education Schemes.  This is a temporary measure for approximately six months.  Please see Departmental Instruction C06/2012 for further information.