Home Educators Exempt from Centrelink Activity Test
by Beverley Paine
Many home educating families were affected by the changes to Centrelink (Social Security) benefits and payments made in July 2006.
The Activity Test requires parents whose youngest child has turned six (PPP) or eight (PPS) to meet the "participation requirements" of the particular benefit or payment they receive.
Under Commonwealth Law (Social Security Act 1991 - Sect 5C) a home educator is defined as:
It is advisable for home educating parents in receipt of social security benefits and payments to look into the home education registration process in their state. Click on your state or territory on The Educating Parent's State Info page as a starting place to begin your research.
Families who have been through this process recommend that you be prepared as you will need to provide evidence of registration during your Centrelink interview. Take any letters or copies of emails to show that you are in the process of obtaining registration if you have not yet received your certificate or notification of home educator status.
Make a note of the name and phone extension number of the person interviewing you (either in person or over the phone).
Most Centrelink staff are unfamiliar with the concept of home education. The Home Education Association of Australia can send you some information flyers that you can take to your interview to give to Centrelink staff. This would help demonstrate that home education is a widely practiced and accepted alternative to school based education.
It is normal Centrelink practice to inform you of any documents you need to provide and to allow you time to supply them if you don't have them by the time of the appointment. Ask for a list of what you need to provide, and a date by which you will need to provide it.
Know your rights and responsibilities: read the information on the Guide to Social Security website (links below) and understand what you are required to comply with so that you can talk confidently about your needs during your interview. If you think it will help, print out information from the Guide and take it with you.
Remember, if in doubt, please seek advice from an appropriately qualified legal professional.
The following links (obtained April 2014) provide further definitions and information.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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