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Effective Dates for General Variations
Last updated 25 November 2008
Dates of effect for reductions, suspensions or cancellations
Reductions suspensions or cancellations of service pension or ISS that are not automatic determinations in response to section 54 obligations must take effect on the day of determination or another day specified in the determination. The day specified must be later than the day of determination. The only cases where the day specified can be earlier than the determination are where there has been:
- a contravention of the VEA (such as a failure to claim a comparable foreign pension),
- a false statement or misrepresentation,
- a payment of arrears of periodic compensation causing a change in entitlement to service pension or ISS, or
- duplicate payments of rent assistance.
Duplicate payments of rent assistance
When a determination is made that a pensioner has been incorrectly receiving duplicate payments of rent assistance, a reduction or cancellation of service pension or ISS can pre-date the determination. This would occur if:
rent assistance is included with...
service pension or ISS
family tax benefit
In either case, the reduction or cancellation is to commence on the first day of the period during which duplicate payments of rent assistance were received and may be earlier than the date of the determination.
Date of effect for increases
The date of effect for favourable determinations is determined under subsection 56G VEA. Specifically, subsection 56G(2) applies where the person notifies of a change of circumstances that results in an increased rate of pension, while subsection 56G(3) applies in all other cases. Subsection 56G(3) cannot prevail over the specific provisions of subsection 56G(2). Examples of where subsection 56G(3) applies include:
- a global refresh of shares and managed investments,
- an annual review of income streams
- a review of earnings takes place by way of the department asking a person's employer for salary or wage particulars for six months; and
- in the case of an administrative error.
Determining the date of effect under subsection 56G(3)
Subsection 56G(3) provides unlimited discretion to use any date of effect for a pension increase. However, a decision maker must comply with general principles of administrative law which apply to administrative decision making when applying the broad discretion provided by subsection 56G(3). A decision maker must take into account all relevant considerations in the exercise of a power. These include:
- a decision maker must not take into account an irrelevant consideration in the exercise of a power;
- a decision maker must base their decision on logically probative (tested or proven) evidence; and
- a decision maker must comply with the rules of natural justice
Date of effect for increase earlier than determination after a review of a decision
When a review of a decision results in an increase in pension, the date of effect is the date that the increase would have been applied from when the original decision was made.
Dates of effect for end of suspension
The date of effect for the end of a suspension of service pension or ISS can take effect from the day the suspension occurred or a later day decided by the Commission.
Date of effect for dependant child
If a variation to pension is made due to a person informing the Department that they have a dependent child, the determination takes effect on the day the child is taken to have become a dependant child. This day is determined under the Social Security Act 1991.
A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.
ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.
Rent Assistance is an allowance, which may be paid to a service pensioner or income support supplement (ISS) recipient to assist in meeting the cost of rental accommodation.
To receive rent assistance, a pensioner must be paying rent (other than Government rent) for accommodation in Australia, and the amount paid must exceed a certain threshold.
Family Tax Benefit A is a payment made by the Family Assistance Office to assist families with the cost of raising children. It replaces Minimum Family Allowance, Family Allowance, Family Tax payment Part A and Family Tax Assistance Part A.
An investment is a managed investment if:
- the money or property invested is paid by the investor directly or indirectly to a body corporate or into a trust fund,
- the assets that represent the money or property invested (the invested assets) are not held in the names of investors,
- the investor does not have effective control over the management of the invested assets, and
- the investor has a legally enforceable right to share in any distribution of income or profits derived from the invested assets.
For a full definition see also:
Sections 5J(1A), 5J(1B) and 5J(1C) of the VEA.
According to section 5J(1) of the VEA, an income stream includes:
- an income stream arising under arrangements that are regulated by the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993; or
- an income stream arising under a public sector scheme (within the meaning of that Act); or
- an income stream arising under a retirement savings account; or
- an income stream provided by a life insurance business (within the meaning of the Life Insurance Act 1995); or
- an income stream provided by a friendly society (within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1996); or
- an income stream designated in writing by the Commission for the purposes of this definition, having regard to the guidelines determined under subsection 5J(1F) of the VEA;
- but does not include any of the following:
- available money;
- deposit money;
- a managed investment;
- a listed security;
- a loan that has not been repaid in full;
- an unlisted public security; or
- gold, silver or platinum bullion.
Section 5F(1) of the VEA defines dependent child as having the same meaning as in the Social Security Act 1991. For income support purposes, dependent child is defined as:
Child under 16 years
- the pensioner has legal responsibility either alone or jointly with another person for the day to day care, welfare and development of the young person AND the young person is in the pensioner's care, or
- the young person is not a dependent child of someone else AND the young person is wholly or substantially in the pensioner's care.
A child under 16 years cannot be considered a dependent child if:
- they are not a full-time student, and
- their weekly income from any source is more than the amount specified in section 5(3)(c) of the Social Security Act.
Child 16 years or older
A young person who has turned 16 years but is under 22 years can still be a dependent child of the pensioner if:
- they are wholly or substantially dependent on the pensioner, and
- their income in the financial year will not exceed the personal income limit, and
- they are receiving full-time education at a school, college or university.
A child over 16 years cannot be considered a dependent child if:
- they receive a social security pension or benefit such as youth allowance, or
- their personal income is more than the amount specified in section 5(4)(b) of the Social Security Act.
Income includes earning from casual, part-time or full-time earnings.
Note: the meaning of a dependent child for DVA income support pension purposes is not the same as the meaning for Family Tax Benefit purposes.