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11.7.2 How Payments and Benefits may be Affected

Document
Last amended 
19 December 2014
Pension instalments

For the purpose of imprisonment, a pension instalment includes:

Other payments that may be affected

Other payments that may be affected include:

Effect on the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)

VEA →

 

Instalments may be redirected to partner or child

Section 55A(3) VEA

 

VEA → (go back)

Entitlement to the PCC is lost if the pensioner's pension is suspended. If the pension instalments are redirected to the person's partner or child/ren, the payment is taken to be a payment made to the person in gaol. As a result, the person in gaol remains eligible for fringe benefits. The PCC cannot be redirected to another person.

Children's' eligibility for concessional pharmaceuticals

While the pensioner is in gaol any dependent children are no longer dependants of the pensioner. If the children go into the care of a person who is an income support recipient or who is eligible for a Family Tax Benefit Health Care Card, the children will continue to be able to access concessional pharmaceuticals as the dependent children of the pensioner guardian.

Foster Child Health Care Card (HCC)

If the children go into the care of a person who is not an income support recipient and who is not the biological parent of the children, the person may apply for a Foster Child Health Care Card from Centrelink. Eligibility for the Foster Child HCC is not income or assets tested and the person does not have to have been formally appointed as a foster carer.

Effect on Gold Card

VEA →

Eligibility for treatment at Departmental expense

Section 53D(3) VEA

Veterans eligible to be provided with treatment

Section 85(8) VEA

 

VEA → (go back)

Entitlement to the Gold Card will not be lost, unless the entitlement is derived from the rate of service pension being paid to the person. If entitlement is derived from the rate of service pension, or from receiving greater than 50% disability pension and any amount of service pension, that entitlement is lost when the service pension is suspended, unless Commission makes a determination that the person continues to be eligible for treatment as a Gold Card holder. Any such determination must be made under one of the three provisions below:

  • section 53D(3) VEA allows the delegate to determine, on the merits of the case, that a person whose service pension is suspended may continue to be treated as though still receiving service pension for the period of the suspension.
  • section 55A(1) VEA allows the Commission to direct that all or part of an instalment that would otherwise be suspended or forfeited due to imprisonment of the person be paid to the partner or child of the person. The person is considered to still be receiving service pension and therefore retains their Gold Card
  • section 85(8) VEA allows the Commission to declare by instrument in writing that a client whose service pension has been suspended will continue to be eligible for treatment at departmental expense as a Gold Card holder.

Regardless of whether or not the person continues to be a Gold Card holder, any health care needs while in prison are met by the state, not by DVA.

Entitlements not affected by imprisonment

The following entitlements are not affected by imprisonment:

Bereavement payment

VEA →

Definition of pensioner

Section 122A(2) VEA

 

VEA → (go back)

If a pensioner receives bereavement payments in respect of an income support pension and is subsequently imprisoned, the bereavement payment may be redirected in the same manner as the income support pension. Bereavement payment is payable in respect of a pensioner who dies while imprisoned if the pensioner's income support pension is being redirected to a partner or child.

A bereavement payment cannot be paid when an income support pension has been suspended or forfeited due to imprisonment, as the definition of pensioner has not been met.

If a pensioner receives bereavement payments in respect of a disability pension, the bereavement payment continues to be payable to the pensioner while imprisoned.

 

 

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.

Remote area allowance is a supplementary payment added to the rate of income support pension where the pensioner's usual place of residence is situated in a remote area, and where the pensioner is physically present in the remote area.

The pension supplement is added to a person's maximum basic rate. The pension supplement is calculated as a 'combined couple' rate. The 'not a member of a couple' rate is 66.33% of the 'combined couple' rate. The member of a couple rate is 50% of the combined couple rate. From 1 July 2010, the minimum pension supplement amount will be able to be claimed on a quarterly basis rather than on a fortnightly basis.

 

 

The energy supplement is an ongoing, regular payment designed to help recipients meet the cost of living impact of the carbon price.

 

 

 

The veterans supplement was introduced on 20 September 2009 as part of the Government's Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform package. It is a fortnightly payment that replaces pharmaceutical allowance and/or telephone allowance for compensation recipients who are not in receipt of an income support supplement. There are two rates, the veterans supplement low rate and the veterans supplement high rate. The low rate replaces one of the allowances and the high rate replaces both. The low rate is indexed every January to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The high rate is always twice the amount of the low rate.

 

 

Education Entry Payment (EdEP) is a payment to assist eligible pensioners with the costs of enrolling in a course of study in order to develop their skills, obtain a qualification and improve their employment prospects. It is paid once a year in accordance with section 118AAC of VEA.

 

 

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.

 

 

A bereavement payment is an amount payable in respect of a deceased pensioner that represents a continuation of the pensioner's entitlement for a period following the death (the bereavement period).

The payment can be made as:

  • a lump sum in advance, or
  • a continuation of the deceased person's pension instalments, or
  • a combination of both, or
  • a portion of the rate of pension payable to the surviving member of a couple identified as a separate amount only for taxation purposes.

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.

 

 

The purpose of attendant allowance is to assist an eligible Veterans, Members of the Forces, or a Member of a Peacekeeping Force with the cost of an attendant to help with such things as feeding, bathing, dressing and other activities of daily living. The allowance is paid to the veteran and not the attendant.

To be eligible for attendant allowance the person must be in receipt of a Disability Pension for Incapacity for a war-caused or defence-caused injury or Disease that severely affects a persons' ability to care for themselves. Attendant allowance is payable at a higher or a lower rate depending on the type of Injury or disease accepted under the Veterans' Entitlements Act.

Loss of earnings allowance can be paid where a veteran or a member of the forces, member of a peacekeeping force (or Australian Mariner)is employed and has lost salary due to:

  • receiving treatment for a war or defence-caused disability (including waiting for the supply or repair of an artificial limb or other surgical aid),
  • using part or all of employer provided sick leave for a war or defence-caused disability, and now having no benefit to cover an absence for another illness, or
  • attending an appointment arranged by DVA for the investigation of a claim for disability pension.

 

 

A person's 'partner' is someone who is a member of a couple with that person.

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.

 

 

Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.

The Repatriation Health Card - For All Conditions is gold in colour and frequently referred to simply as the “Gold Card”.  The card entitles its holder to obtain health care and related services for all the person's identified health care needs, whether they are war-caused or not.

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

According to Section 179 of the VEA, the Commission is a body corporate under the name of Repatriation Commission.

 

 

A Delegate of the Commission  is a decision-maker who has been delegated authority to exercise the Commission's powers for the administration of pensions under theVEA.

 

 

The Repatriation Health Card - For Specific Conditions is white in colour and frequently referred to simply as the “White Card”.  The card entitles its holder only to treatment for accepted service-related conditions, or where eligibility has been granted by DVA for treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, malignant conditions (cancer) and post traumatic stress disorder.

The CSHC is intended to assist those retirees and other eligible veterans, war widow(er)s and their partners of pension age who fail to qualify for an income support pension from DVA or a pension or benefit from Centrelink. The card entitles the holder to pharmaceuticals listed on the PBS at a concessional rate and seniors supplement.

 

 

A bereavement payment is an amount payable in respect of a deceased pensioner that represents a continuation of the pensioner's entitlement for a period following the death (the bereavement period).

The payment can be made as:

  • a lump sum in advance, or
  • a continuation of the deceased person's pension instalments, or
  • a combination of both, or
  • a portion of the rate of pension payable to the surviving member of a couple identified as a separate amount only for taxation purposes.

A form of pension that is paid to the partner of a veteran where the veteran has died as a result of war service or eligible Defence ServiceWar widow's/widower's pension is also paid to the partner of a veteran whose death was not war caused if the veteran was a ex-prisoner of war or if the veteran was receiving Extreme Disablement Adjustment Rate, Special Rate (T&PI) or a rate increased in respect of certain war-caused injury or disease.

 

A form of pension that is paid to a child of a veteran where the veteran has died as a result of war service or defence service.  The child may be the natural or adopted child of the veteran or any other child who was wholly or substantially dependent on the veteran.

 

 

Veterans' Children Education Scheme provides financial assistance and guidance in the education and training of eligible children as defined under section 116 of the VEA.  Eligible children must be full-time students and be under 25 years of age at the time of application.

The VCES aims to encourage and assist eligible children to achieve their educational potential and prepare for suitable careers.  The education allowance is not means tested, however, benefits cannot be paid to a student who is receiving other Commonwealth education assistance (including Youth Allowance), income support or assistance from any other similar scheme.

 

 

An underlying payment means any pension, payment, supplement or allowance under the VEA or MRCA that attracts a clean enrgy advance and an energy supplement