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8.1.1 Overview of Income Support Bereavement Payment
Last amended: 26 July 2007
What is a bereavement payment?
A bereavement payment provides financial assistance to a pensioner if their partner or a dependent child dies. This allows time for the pensioner to make changes to their finances before any changes are made to the rate of pension he or she is receiving.
Who can a bereavement payment be paid in respect of?
Types of bereavement payment
For persons receiving service pension or income support supplement, there are 3 different types of bereavement payment:
- Single Pensioner Bereavement Payment,
- Partnered Pensioner Bereavement Payment, and
- Dependent Child Bereavement Payment.
How does a bereavement payment work
A bereavement payment continues the pension entitlements of the deceased person for the duration of a period known as a bereavement period.
How is a bereavement payment paid
A bereavement payment can be paid wholly or partly as a lump sum depending on the type of bereavement payment and case circumstances.
Payment is typically made to the partner of the deceased pensioner or to the estate of the deceased single pensioners.
PCC eligibility continues for duration of bereavement period
As a bereavement payment continues a person's pension entitlement, the PCC eligibility requirement for pension to be received is satisfied. Where the surviving partner's pension entitlement is otherwise reduced to nil, the PCC card remains valid until the end of the bereavement period.
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.
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.
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.