You may have heard that there are changes to the program that provides support to people seeking asylum, the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program.
While we still don’t know a lot about those changes, we have tried to answer some questions you might have. We will update this page when we get more information.
These changes do not affect you if you have a protection visa (including a Temporary Protection visa, Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV),a Permanent Protection visa (subclass 866) or any of the visas with subclasses 200, 201, 202, 203, 204). They do affect people who have a Bridging Visa and have applied for a protection visa, but are still waiting for a decision.
Q: I heard some people are losing access to SRSS. What will happen to me?
A: There have been some recent changes to who can get SRSS. This meant that some people could not get on the program or were taken off the program.
If you are on the SRSS program (so you are getting money from Centrelink and have a bridging visa), your caseworker will be talking to you soon about these changes and how they might affect you. Everyone’s situation is different and not everyone is going to lose support, so these changes may not happen to you. Your caseworker is the best person to talk to because they know your situation and have your documents. If you do not know the name of your caseworker, you can call your service provider and ask them to help you to find the right person. You can find the phone numbers of all service providers here.
Q: I am studying and have SRSS. Will I now lose my support?
A: We know some people have lost support because they have been studying full-time. We also know that the government will be looking at people who are studying who they think can work in the next few months, and so you may lose support if you are studying.
There are a lot of things we still don’t know yet about this change, and it may not affect you. If you are looking at studying (especially if you are studying full-time), please talk to your caseworker.
Q: I have sent money to family or friends overseas or in Australia. Will I lose my access to SRSS?
A: It depends on how much money you sent. If you sent money over 12 months that is more than $1,000, then this change will affect you.
We know some people who lost support because they transferred money and then were asked to pay back money to the government. There has been a change so that almost everyone in this situation should now only have to pay back money if the money was transferred after 3 November 2017, and the debt would be any money you got from 3 November 2017.
If you lost support because you transferred money, but you sent less than $1,000, you should get as much information as you can (your bank statements) to show how much money you sent, and take it to your service provider.
Q: My current service provider is Australian Red Cross. I heard their contract is not going to be renewed. What will happen to me?
A: Nothing is going to change right now. Red Cross will talk with you about the change and how it affects you. Red Cross intends to work closely with you as they transfer to a new service provider, between now and June 2018. Their main priority is for a smooth transition, so your new caseworker will have all the necessary information about you. You can speak to your Red Cross caseworker if you would like to have more information.