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3.12.1 Overview of Crisis Payment
Last updated 5 March 2013
What is a crisis payment
A crisis payment is immediate financial assistance to people in severe financial hardship and suffering from extreme circumstances, domestic or family violence, or release from lawful custody. The payment is designed to assist them in establishing a new residence following specifically defined extreme circumstances or release from lawful custody, or to re-establish their residence after domestic or family violence has occurred. It is a non-taxable, 'one-off' non-refundable payment.
Eligibility for crisis payments
To receive a crisis payment a person must be in severe financial hardship, receiving or be eligible to receive an income support payment from DVA, and meet one of the qualifying circumstances:
- extreme circumstances forcing departure from home,
- have been subjected to domestic or family violence by a family member and choose to remain in the family home after the perpetrator has left or been removed from the home, or
- release from lawful custody – prison or psychiatric confinement.
A person is not eligible if:
- a disaster relief payment has been paid for the same circumstances at the time of the determination,
- the Commission is satisfied that the extreme circumstance or the departure from the home by the perpetrator of the domestic or family violence was brought about in order to obtain a crisis payment, or
- the person has received four crisis payments for extreme circumstances or domestic or family violence in the twelve months prior to the claim.
Limitations on the number of crisis payments
There is a limit of four crisis payments payable in a twelve month period which only applies to crisis payments due to extreme circumstances and domestic or family violence. Crisis payments that are made to a person on release from lawful custody do not count towards the maximum of four crisis payments due to extreme circumstances or domestic or family violence in a twelve month period.
Example 1 – limitations
A person serves two short prison terms and receives crisis payment on release from prison each time. The person also suffers extreme circumstances due to the house being damaged by fire, then later by flood, and receives crisis payment for each extreme circumstance. The person is then made the subject of an apprehended violence order and must leave the home. The person is eligible for crisis payment again, as the maximum of four crisis payments due to extreme circumstances or domestic or family violence has not yet been reached. Over the twelve month period, the person has received a total of five crisis payments – two on release from lawful custody, and three due to extreme circumstances.
Example 2 – limitations
A person is subjected to domestic or family violence three times during a twelve month period, receiving a crisis payment each time the perpetrator is removed from the home. The person then suffers extreme circumstances due to the house being damaged by fire, and receives another crisis payment as they are forced to leave the home. The person is then subjected to domestic or family violence again, within the same twelve month period. As the person has already received four crisis payments due to domestic or family violence or extreme circumstances within a twelve month period, they are not eligible for a crisis payment for the fifth incident. The person then serves a short prison term. On release, they are eligible for a crisis payment even though they have already received four payments in the twelve month period, as there is no limit on the number of crisis payments payable on release from lawful custody.
Claim and payment
A claim for a crisis payment must be on a form approved by the Commission. An informal claim must be followed by a proper claim within fourteen days. The rate of crisis payment is a flat rate of one week's pension based upon the maximum basic rate of pension, pension supplement and clean energy supplement.
The Veterans' Entitlements (Special Assistance) Regulations 1999, were created under s106 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (Special Assistance), to authorise payment of a crisis payment. The Regulations, approved by the Repatriation Commission, set out the prescribed conditions.
Veterans' Entitlements (Special Assistance) Regulations 1999
In general terms, this is where someone is suffering from serious money difficulties, such as insufficient income to manage their basic living expenses. More detailed descriptions of various financial hardship situations are covered under the following topics:
- financial hardship provisions under section 52Y of the VEA, for the purpose of the calculating a rate of service pension or income support supplement,
- financial hardship for the purpose of crisis payment,
- hardship amount for income stream purposes,
- hardship assessment of lump sum advance repayments under section 79O of the VEA,
- financial hardship for special deeming exemptions of 'saved' personal loans and 'frozen' unlisted property trusts,
- early release of superannuation benefit due to severe financial hardship, and
- proof of identity at time of pension claims in emergency or hardship situations.
Domestic or family violence is described by a variety of terms, including but not restricted to:
- assault, sexual assault,
- child, wife/partner, elder abuse,
- domestic violence,
- economic, social, verbal, emotional, psychological abuse,
- financial coercion,
- maltreatment, or
According to section 5L of the VEA a family member, in relation to a person, means:
- the partner, father or mother of the person, or
- a sister, brother or child of the person, or
- another person who, in the Commission's opinion, should be treated as one of these relations for the purposes of this definition.
Please note, the definition of a parent is further defined in section 10A of the VEA.
Lawful custody is detention of a person in prison, or in psychiatric confinement because they have been charged with an offence.
A claim which the legislation requires to be made on a 'form approved by the Commission' or 'in accordance with a form approved by the Commission' means that the claim must meet certain requirements, e.g. must be in writing, provide specific information, or evidence to support the claim. It does not mean the claim needs to be made on a special or official DVA form. However, where a DVA form is available it is preferable that it be used to ensure that all the information required for a proper claim to be made is provided.
To be a proper claim, the claim must be:
- made in writing;
- in accordance with a form approved by the Commission; and
- accompanied by any evidence available to the claimant that the claimant considers may be relevant to the claim
According to Schedule 6-B1 of the VEA a MBR is the person's maximum rate is ascertained at the date of grant of the designated pension, and is the maximum annual pension rate payable at the date of grant (excluding allowances).
The energy supplement is an ongoing, regular payment designed to help recipients meet the cost of living impact of the carbon price.