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7.1.3 Gold Card Eligibility Under The Income/Assets Reduction Limit

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Last amended: 03 June 2013

    

 

Service pensioners eligible for treatment

Service pensioners are eligible for a Gold Card if they:

Treatment benefits income/assets reduction limit

    

 

Veterans in receipt of service pension are eligible for the Gold Card subject to the treatment IARL. The IARL is the maximum amount by which a person's service pension can be reduced and still qualify for a Gold Card. The IARL informs the income and assets limits for treatment at departmental expense.

Periodic compensation payments

Periodic compensation payments that reduce a person's compensation affected pension (CAP) under the compensation recovery rules are not assessed as income when determining the person's IARL.

Where the periodic compensation payments reduce a person's CAP to nil, there is no treatment eligibility under the IARL rules. It is necessary that a person be receiving a rate of service pension for the IARL rules to apply.    

 

Where the periodic compensation payments are assessed as income (e.g. for a veteran receiving a non-CAP pension), the amounts are assessed as income for IARL purposes.

Period of grace - eligibility after income exceeds IARL

    

 

The period of grace provisions allow a pensioner whose increased income causes the IARL threshold to be exceeded to retain their Gold Card eligibility for a period of  13 weeks from the day on which their income increased, providing the resulting pension reduction does not exceed the IARL by more than 50%. The full date of effect rules are:

If the person's reduction for income...

then eligibility for the Gold Card...

exceeds the IARL by no more than 50%

continues for 13 weeks from the date of the income event that led to the pension reduction, and then is lost.

exceeds the IARL by no more than 50% and reduces below the IARL within the 13 week period

continues uninterrupted and the period of grace provisions cease to apply.

exceeds the IARL by more than 50% at any time

ceases on the day from which the pension reduction arising out of the increased income occurs (this includes the allowed two week notification period under the normal date of effect rules, where notification is made in time).

The period of grace rule was introduced to prevent frequent loss (and gain) of Gold Card eligibility due to movements in the value of the Australian dollar, for example, for those receiving foreign pensions affecting their payability.

Circumstances where period of grace does not apply

The period of grace does not apply if eligibility for the Gold Card is lost because:

  • pension is being paid under the income test and there is an increase in assets which results in the pension becoming payable under the assets test, or
  • pension is being paid under the assets test and there is an increase in assets.

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Eligibility for Gold Card

Unlike changes to exchange rates, which can fluctuate often, asset values do not generally change significantly on a fortnightly basis and thus the grace period is not applicable to assets-tested pensioners.

Entitlement to treatment during bereavement period

    

 

A Gold Card holder may exceed the IARL when his or her partner or dependent child (in saved cases) dies. In this case, the person retains the gold card during the bereavement period. Gold Card eligibility is lost at the end of the bereavement period.


 

 

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.

For the purposes of Part VI of the VEA, a reference to a veteran is taken to be a reference to:

  • a veteran as defined in subsection 5C(1) of the VEA;
  • a member of the Forces as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA; or
  • a member of a Peacekeeping Force as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA.

For the purposes of Part VII of the VEA, according to subsection 5C(1), veteran means a person (including a deceased person):

  • who is taken to have rendered eligible war service, or
  • in respect of whom a pension is, or pensions are, payable under subsection 13(6) and
  • in Part III and Part VIIC of the VEA includes a person who is:

 

 

An allied veteran means a person who:

An allied veteran does not include a person who has served at any time:

  • in the forces of a country that was, at the time, at war with Australia, or in forces engaged in supporting or assisting the forces of such a country, or
  • in the forces that were, at the time, engaged in war like operations against the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Australia

See section 5c(1) VEA

The income/assets reduction limit is the maximum amount by which a veteran's rate of service pension can be reduced and qualify for the Gold Card under subsection 85(5). When a veteran receives a reduced rate of service pension, the veteran may be eligible for treatment until such time as their 'reduction-for-ordinary-income', or their 'reduction-for-assets', exceeds the IARL.

The IARL is indexed twice a year, on 20 March and 20 September.

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.

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.

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.

One element of the means test for income support pensions whereby the rate of pension payable to a pensioner reduces progressively as their income increases above a certain threshold known as the income free area (IFA).

 

 

One element of the means test for income support pensions whereby the rate of pension payable to a pensioner reduces progressively as their assets increase above a certain threshold known as the assets value limit (AVL).

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.

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.

 

 

Bereavement period, as defined in section 53H of VEA, in relation to a person's death, means the period of 98 days starting on the day on which the person died.