Mutual Obligation Requirements
You need to do approved activities to keep getting your income support payment and increase your chances of finding work.
You’ll have Mutual Obligation Requirements if you get:
- Newstart Allowance
- Youth Allowance as a job seeker
- Parenting Payment Single, from the time your youngest child turns 6, or
- some categories of Special Benefit
To meet your requirements, you need to apply for jobs, or do training or study.
Your requirements are more flexible if you:
- are 55 years or older or
- are a principal carer, or
- have a medical condition
Job seekers with Mutual Obligation Requirements need to have a Job Plan to get payment. The plan outlines the things you have agreed to do to give you the best chance of getting a job.
You will negotiate your Job Plan with us or your Employment Services Provider. It will be reviewed regularly.
Job seekers aged 55 and over
If you’re aged 55 years or over, you can meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements by doing at least 30 hours per fortnight of:
- suitable paid work
- approved voluntary work, or
- a mix of these
Suitable paid work is any work you’re capable of doing. If you choose to do voluntary work, we must agree that the position is suitable for you. You’ll need to discuss this with us.
A principal carer is responsible for the day to day care, welfare and development of a child under 16 years of age.
Only 1 person at a time can be the principal carer of a child. This is generally the person who provides the greater amount of day to day care, such as a parent or guardian. If you and your partner provide equal levels of care, either of you may nominate as the principal carer.
If you’re a principal carer and getting an income support payment, your Mutual Obligation Requirements are more flexible. Read more about Mutual Obligation Requirements and exemptions for principal carers.
Job seekers with a temporary medical condition
If you have a temporary medical condition that affects your ability to look for work, you may be exempt from your Mutual Obligation Requirements during this time.
To help us decide, you need to give us a medical certificate. It must state why you’re unfit to work for 8 hours or more a week. You can submit documents online using your Centrelink online account through myGov. For help, see our online guide Submitting documents using your Centrelink online account.
Giving us a medical certificate doesn’t mean you don’t have to look for work. We consider your medical condition and how it affects your ability to do:
- suitable work, or
- other activities such as training
Suitable work is any work you’re able to do. It may be different from your usual work.
If we decide you’re able to do suitable work or activities for at least 15 hours a week, we’ll refer you back to your provider for a new Job Plan with reduced activities.
Employment Services Providers
An Employment Services Provider can help you look for work. We can refer you to a provider in your area who can help you access:
- job search assistance and training
- jobs in your area, and
- computers, phones and stationery
Read more about:
- Disability Employment Services
- Community Development Programme, and
- jobactive on the Department of Employment website
Penalties for not meeting requirements
If you don’t meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements, your income support payment may be reduced or stopped.
Read more about penalties for not meeting your Mutual Obligation Requirements.
Exemptions from your Mutual Obligation Requirements
You may be able to get a short term exemption from your requirements in special circumstances. Exemptions are based on your situation and you’ll need to give us proof. Some examples where you may be exempt are:
- a major personal crisis such as the death of an immediate family member, domestic violence or homelessness
- a major disruption to your home such as a fire or flood
- temporary caring responsibilities for an adult or child
If you need an exemption, call us to discuss your situation.