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Deceased War Widow/Widower Receiving Income Support Supplement
Calculation of rate last payable
- without applying the ceiling rate that usually applies to income support supplement payments, and
- without counting the war widow's/widower's pension as adjusted income.
Ceiling rate rules during bereavement period
Blinded war widows/widowers
As the rate of income support supplement payable to a blinded war widow/widower is free of the income and assets test — [glossary:s:], the rate last payable is the maximum basic rate of income support supplement.
Partner also a war widow/widower
When the partner of a deceased war widow/widower is also a war widow/widower, the method by which the partner's rate of pension is calculated is not affected by the change to the way in which the deceased pensioner's rate of pension is calculated for bereavement purposes.
Thus a ceiling rate is still applied to the rate of service pension or income support supplement paid to the partner.
A war widow/widower is generally a person who immediately before their partners death, was the partner of, or was legally married to:
- a veteran; or
- a person who was a member of the forces; and
- who is receiving:
- a war widow's/widower's pension; or
- a pension that is payable under the law of a foreign country that is, in the opinion of the Commission, similar to a war widow's/widower's pension.
Refer to 5E(1) of the VEA for the full definition.
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.
For the purposes of bereavement payment, the rate last payable is the rate of income support pension that was payable to a person on the last pension payday before their death.
For illness separated couples, respite care couples and war widows/widowers receiving an income support pension, the rate last payable is calculated in a specific way as provided by section 53M of the VEA.
The ceiling rate of service pension and income support supplement (ISS) is applied to all war widows/widowers when assessing the rate of pension. This amount was previously frozen at $124.90 per fortnight, however, since legislation was introduced in September 2002, is now indexed twice yearly in line with percentage increases in the maximum rate service pension. A higher ceiling rate can apply, however, in the following cases:
If a person:
became a war widow/widower-pensioner before 1 November 1986,
has continually received service pension, social security pension or ISS since that date, and
the rate of pension immediately before that date was more than $120.10
in such a case the ceiling rate is equal to the pre-November 1986 rate plus 4%.
If a person:
is a person to whom ISS is payable,
is not permanently blind, and
whose Part II or IV pension is [glossary:compensation reduced:DEF/Compensation reduced pension],
the ceiling rate is the sum of the ceiling rate as calculated above and the amount of the reduction in the Part II or Part IV pension. The maximum ceiling rate cannot exceed the maximum rate of single service pension. For ceiling rates refer to SCH6-A4 to A9 of VEA. The amount of increase to the ceiling rate pension under Part II or Part IV is worked out by using the formula in SCH6-A9 of the VEA.
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 Service. War 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.
Adjusted income is defined in section 5H VEA and is the sum of the person's:
- ordinary income
- disability pensions paid by other governments
- war widow's/widower's pension (VEA) or equivalent wholly dependent partner payments (MRCA)
- a foreign pension, similar in character to a war widow's/widower's pension.
A person may be regarded as permanently blind in both eyes where:
- there is a total loss of sight; or
- visual acuity after correction with suitable lenses is less than 6/60 in both eyes on the Snellen Scale; or
- where, in the written opinion of an ophthalmologist, the visual field deficits and/or combination of deficits results in a visual impairment which is the equivalent of a corrected visual acuity measure of less than 6/60 in both eyes.
The Commission Guideline CM5829: Determining 'permanently blind', 'no useful sight' and 'blinded in both eyes' may be instructive in making a blinded/blindness determination.
According to section 5H of the VEA income is:
- an amount earned, derived or received by a person for the person's own use or benefit;
- a periodical payment by way of gift or allowance; or
- a periodical benefit by way of gift or allowance.
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).
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).