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1.2.4 Income management for child protection

Last Modified: 22-Mar-2022 Review Date: 03-Jan-2021

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


Child Protection Income Management (CPIM) is a compulsory form of income management that aims to assist a parent or person with parental responsibility meet their child's basic needs, or assist a young person meet their needs by:

  • guaranteeing income managed funds are spent on necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing and medical care, and

  • limiting access to discretionary cash that may be used to support negative behaviours such as substance misuse and gambling. 

It is administered by Services Australia through Centrelink through the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Commonwealth), Part 3B, sections 123UC, 123ZC, 123ZE, 123TC and 123UFA

Only people who receive an eligible Centrelink income support payment can be placed on CPIM, and only for a period of three to 12 months. 

For the duration of CPIM, 70 per cent of the person's fortnightly payments, and any advances and lump sum payments are placed on a BasicsCard and can only be spent on essential priority items through EFTPOS facilities in approved stores and businesses. Income managed funds cannot be spent on alcohol, home-brew kits, tobacco, pornography or gambling products or services. There is no restriction on the way the remaining 30 per cent of the person's payment is spent. 

Refer to the following web pages for further information:

Services Australia (Centrelink) Income Management Contact Officers (IMCO):


CPIM and VIM Income Management measures are available in the metropolitan districts, Peel, East Kimberley and West Kimberley districts, except in Kununurra or Wyndham during the Cashless Debit trial in these two areas. 

  • Decisions to place a client on CPIM must be based on the referral criteria for CPIM (refer to the section 'Referrals to CPIM' below).  The decision must be endorsed by your team leader.

  • You must consider CPIM or VIM in circumstances where the parent's use of the financial resources contributes to child neglect.

  • You must inform the client about the reasons for being placed on CPIM, the duration on CPIM, and the process for seeking a review of our decision.

  • If, as part of the case plan involving CPIM, the case is closed but the client remains on CPIM, you must inform:

    • the client, and

    • the Services Australia Income Management Contact Officer (IMCO), advising them to contact our duty officer for future contact and review.

  • You must conduct a final review with Centrelink before the end date period on CPIM (if the case the duty officer conducts this). CPIM generally ends at the due date unless further contacts while the case was closed warrant extending the period).

  • You must record client income management details into the case plan.

Information and Instructions

  • Referrals to CPIM
  • Voluntary Income Management (VIM)
  • Commencing CPIM
  • Case closed, CPIM continues: duty officer nominated as our contact point
  • End-date reviews with Centrelink
  • Ceasing, Extending and Transferring CPIM
  • Client seeks review of CPIM decision
  • Referrals to CPIM

    Child neglect cases

    Parents can be referred to CPIM after the completion of a child safety investigation (CSI) if:
    • we have assessed that child neglect is occurring (significant harm does not need to be substantiated, but there should at least be wellbeing concerns likely to place the child at risk of significant harm in the future if joint work is not undertaken with the family)

    • CPIM is likely to be in the best interests of the child

    • the parents, or person with parental responsibilities, or person's to the child neglect, and 

    • CPIM is likely to improve the parent’s use of available financial resources.

    Refer to Chapter 2.2 Neglect for factors to consider when assessing neglect.

    CPIM can also be considered for a parent and other family members (who receive an eligible income support payment) who are staying in the home of a parent or carer on CPIM, where their use of financial resources:

    • contributes to them neglecting their children, and/or

    • undermines the safety goals for the child and family on CPIM.

    You should explain to that person how CPIM contributes to the overall safety plan for the children and give them the opportunity to support this part of the plan. However, if their use of financial resources continues to impact negatively on the family, then CPIM can be applied to that person (for a minimum period of three months) while they live in the house. To record this in Assist, add the person to the ‘Family Group’, as ‘an associate member’ and document the reasons for the referral.   

    CPIM must cease if the person leaves the house earlier than the end date. 

    Concerns for an unborn child

    A pregnant woman, or the father of the unborn child, can be referred for CPIM where the Department of Communities (the Department) has assessed that:

    • the pregnant woman’s current use of available financial resources is likely to result in the child being at risk of significant harm due to neglect when born, and/or

    • the father’s use of available financial resources is contributing to the likelihood that the child will be at risk of significant harm due to neglect when born.

    Refer to Chapter 2.2 Pre-birth planning for more information.

    Multiple presentations for financial assistance

    When a family or individual presents on multiple occasions for financial assistance within a short period of time, you should consider referring them to CPIM or VIM to assist them to manage their income support payment and meet their priority needs.  

    At-risk young people

    When providing support to an at-risk young person you should consider CPIM as a strategy to assist them to manage their income support payment.

    Reunification cases

    All of the following criteria must be present to refer a parent (or primary carer) to CPIM:

    1. Reunification is part of the child's current case plan

    2. The parent’s (or person with parental responsibilities) current use of available financial resources is a barrier to reunification as it is likely to result in the neglect of the child

    3. CPIM is likely to improve the use of available financial resources to meet the child's needs

    4. Managing the income is also in the best interests of any other children currently in the parent’s care.

    Vulnerable young people in the CEO's care

    As part of leaving care planning, a young person receiving an eligible income support payment can be referred to CPIM (or encouraged to accept a referral or self-refer for VIM) to assist them to save for, and live independently.


    Voluntary Income Management (VIM)

    Any person in receipt of an eligible income support payment, living in a district where income management is available, can contact Centrelink directly to be placed on VIM. Fifty percent of their regular fortnightly payments, and any advances and lump sum payments are allocated to the BasicsCard to buy priority items. There is no restriction on the way the remaining 50 percent of the payment is spent. Centrelink provides the same level of assistance to the person on VIM as they do to a person on CPIM. 

    Individuals must remain on VIM for 13 weeks; after that they can exit at any time.

    Where appropriate, you should discuss VIM with your clients and explain how it could help them to manage thier budget and finances, and/or improve their own and their children's wellbeing.

    VIM with client consent to exchange information

    If VIM is part of a case plan, and only if your client wants to share this information with you, the client can sign a Consent to Release Information, Voluntary Income Management form.  Access this form from Taskcard 6 - Attachment A (last page).  This allows the exchange of the following information between the Department and DHS:

    • the VIM commencement date
    • the VIM cease date, and
    • when the client withdraws consent to release the information. 

    You can make enquiries about these three matters through the IMCO in your area. Email the signed consent form to the relevant IMCO (see above).

    For directions on how to refer a client to VIM with consent refer to Taskcard 6 Referring a client for Voluntary Income Management.


    Commencing CPIM

    The Department's role

    To refer a client to CPIM, you must:

    • record details in the case plan and submit it for team leader approval  

    • inform the client in person of the reasons for placing them on CPIM, the duration, and their avenue of review. Give or send them the completed Notification of decision to be placed on income management notification letter, and 

    • provide client details to Centrelink via the Unified Government Gateway (UGG). Each district office has staff members who have a user ID and password for logging on to  and entering the details into: 

      • Taskcard 2 Disclosure of Information to clarify whether the client is in receipt of an eligible income payment, and

      • Taskcard 3 Send a notice for commencement of income management to record the period for income management and rank the priority needs of the client (for example, adequate accommodation for children, food, utilities, clothing, treatment for medical needs, educational needs.)

    To obtain an UGG password to make these referrals, complete and sign the form UGG Security, Privacy and Confidential Undertaking (DHS), and email it to 

    Alternatively, call the contact officers (numbers listed in 'Overview' section above).  

    Once a client is on CPIM, you can also:

    • view the client's current allocation details to registered third party organisations (refer to TaskCard 5), and

    • check daily reports for information, such as clients being switched on/off CPIM and changes in their circumstances (refer to Task Card 7).

    You should:

    • Continue to monitor the impact of CPIM on the child and family, and respond to Centrelink IMCO's end-date reviews. 

    • Contact the Centrelink IMCO when changes in the person's circumstances impact on CPIM (for example, a change of address). No specific form is required.

    Services Australia's role

    Centrelink will conduct an initial 'allocation' interview with the client after receiving a referral notice from the Department to:   

    • explain how income management works and the client's obligations under CPIM, and rank the client's priority needs

    • allocate their income managed funds to meet these needs and issue a BasicsCard to the client, and

    • offer the client a referral to a financial management service.

    The IMCO may occasionally contact you to notify of changes to the client's situation.

    Placing a case on the Monitored List

    Cases involving CPIM can be placed on the Monitored List where there are workload issues, but you must review the case periodically. 

    Where we are not providing any services other than the referral to CPIM, close the case (refer to next section).


    Case closed, CPIM continues: duty officer nominated as our contact point

    Where the case is to be closed (that is, there is sufficient safety for the child and no further review or active role for us) but the case plan recommends that the person remain on CPIM until the designated end date (CPIM is having positive effects on the child and the family needs to establish or maintain ongoing stability), you must:

    • inform the client and explain how CPIM is working well, the benefits of continuing on CPIM and, where possible, reach a consensus about staying on CPIM until the prescribed end-date. Ultimately you make the determination. 

    • record in the case plan: 

      • the rationale for the client remaining on CPIM to end date

      • the effects CPIM has had on the family to date, and

      • that the IMCO will contact the duty officer for future review (one month before the cease date on CPIM), and 

    • inform the IMCO about the client's progress on CPIM to date (case closure review)

      • that the case will be closed, and

      • that the IMCO should contact the duty officer for planned reviews or to raise any concerns.

    Duty Officer

    When contacted by Centrelink for a CPIM review, duty officers must check the case plan and Objective for information about our involvement with the person on CPIM, information in case closure notes, and any recent duty interactions. 

    Where we have not received any further concerns or information, the duty officer should advise Centrelink that CPIM should continue to the end date as planned. 

    Where there have been some recent duty interactions and these indicate the need to extend or change CPIM, the duty officer, follow the current duty and intake process, including a CSI (if appropriate). Duty officers should determine whether CPIM should be extended or ceased before the end date and advise Centrelink of the decision.

    If the person objects to CPIM, he or she can contact us to seek a review of the decision (refer to next section).


    End-date reviews with Centrelink

    The Centrelink IMCO will contact the case manager to review each person on CPIM one month before the end-date to confirm whether CPIM will cease or be extended.

    The IMCO should speak with the case manager if the case is open or has been placed on the Monitored List, or with the duty officer if the case:

    • has been closed or

    • where case management has changed (for example the case has passed to the parent support team).  The current case manager should perform the review (and where necessary, seek the views of the child protection worker who referred the client to CPIM).


    Ceasing, Extending and Transferring CPIM

    Ceasing CPIM

    CPIM will cease:

    • automatically on the nominated end date unless a new notice is lodged to extend, or 

    • if the Department revokes it. This decision can be made for various reasons, for example, the neglect or financial issues have been addressed, or the client is moving to a region where CPIM is not available and, after consultation with Centrelink, CPIM cannot continue.

    To cease (revoke) CPIM before the end date, you must:

    • inform the client   

    • complete and lodge a revocation form with Centrelink (a separate form for each parent). Refer to TaskCard 4 Revoke Income Management

    • close the 'issue' related to CPIM.

    Extending CPIM

    To extend CPIM, you should:

    • inform the client of the intention and reasons to extend, and send them a new notification letter

    • lodge a new notice to Centrelink (for each person) via UGG before the current end date, and

    • record the rationale for the extension in the section of the open case plan.

    Transferring a CPIM case to district where CPIM is not available

    Where a family on CPIM intends to relocate to a district where income management is not available, you should consider ceasing CPIM or VIM before case transfer.  Districts that do not administer income management are the Southwest, Great Southern, Goldfields, Wheatbelt, Murchison and Pilbara districts,

    If the preferred option is for the person to stay on CPIM, contact the Centrelink IMCO and discuss whether arrangements can be made for the client to access their money at the new location.  If so, advise the IMCO in writing of the change in circumstances and contact details of the new case manager.


    Client seeks review of CPIM decision

    • Persons subject to CPIM have the right to seek a review of the decision to referred them to CPIM, the length of time placed on CPIM, and/or extension of the duration of CPIM. Refer to Review of Decision Processes for Income Management for Child Neglect

    • Review of CPIM decisions are separate and not part of the Complaints Handling and Resolution Module (CHARM). 

    •  Centrelink deal with appeals and reviews on determinations of eligibility and the application of income management under s.123UC of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Commonwealth).

    • The CPIM review processes relates to a review of the original decision, which can be overturned or affirmed. 

    • Participation in CPIM continues, pending the outcome of the review or until the Department revokes its notice to Centrelink.

    • Copies of any letters given to parents regarding the outcomes of reviews must be placed on Objective.