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Definitions for Member of a Couple Status

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Last amended: 19 August 2011

Definition of member of a couple

A person and their partner are considered to be a member of a couple if:

Married person

    

A married person is a member of a couple if:

  • the person is legally married to another person, and
  • is not living separately and apart from the person on a permanent basis.
Registered relationship

    

VEA ?

Registered relationship

Section 5E(2) (aa) VEA

VEA ? (go back)

A person is a member of a couple if:

  • the person's relationship with another person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) is registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory for the purposes of section 22B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, and
  • the person is not living separately and apart from the other person on a permanent basis.

Registered relationships may also be known in particular State and Territories as civil unions, civil partnerships and significant relationships.

Prescribed registered relationships

The Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 currently recognises the following relationships under the Victorian, Tasmanian and Australian Capital Territory relationship registers:

  • a registered relationship under paragraph 10(3)(a) of the Relationships Act 2008 (Vic)
  • a significant relationship as defined in section 4 of the Relationships Act 2003 (Tas), and
  • a relationship as a couple between two adults who meet the eligibility criteria in section 6 of the Civil Partnerships Act 2008 (ACT) for entry into a civil partnership.
De facto relationship

    

A person is considered to be a member of a couple when all of the following conditions are met:

Living with another person

    

A person in a de facto relationship is to be treated as living with another person during:

  • any temporary absence of one of those persons, or
  • an absence of one of those persons resulting from illness or infirmity

if the Commission is of the opinion that they would, but for the absence, have been living together during that period.

Illness separated couple

    

The Commission may make a written determination that two people are members of an illness separated couple if the Commission is satisfied that:

  • the two people are a member of a couple; and
  • they are unable to live together in  their home as a result of the illness or infirmity of either or both of them, and
  • because of that inability to live together, their living expenses are, or are likely to be greater that they would otherwise be, and
  • that inability is likely to continue indefinitely.
Respite care couple

    

The Commission may determine that two people are members of a respite care couple if the Commission is satisfied that:

Member of a couple not treated as a member of a couple

    

Where specific criteria are met, the Repatriation Commission may make a written determination that a person who is a member of a couple is not to be treated as a member of a couple for all purposes of the VEA.    

Member of a couple status after sex affirmation surgery

A person's sex, for the purpose of the Marriage Act 1961, is determined at the date of marriage. Sex affirmation surgery (also called sex re-assignment surgery) after the date of marriage does not invalidate the marriage. This is because at the date of marriage the couple were a male and a female.

Therefore, a couple who are legally married and not living separately and apart from one another on a permanent or indefinite basis, can continue to be regarded as legally married, despite one of the members of the couple having undergone sex affirmation surgery.


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

The term member of a couple generally replaces married person in the current VEA.

 

A relationship (whether of the same sex or a different sex) that is registered under certain prescribed State or Territory laws that provide for registration of relationships (currently Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory).  Registered relationships may also be known in some State and Territories as civil unions, civil partnerships and significant relationships.

 

 

A person is considered to be in a de facto relationship if the person is:

  • living with another person (their partner) whether of the same sex or a different sex;

  • not legally married to the partner; and

  • certain features of that relationship are typical for members of a couple, and

  • the person and the partner are not within a prohibited relationship

Refer to section 11A of the VEA for the full definition.

 

Note: A relationship needs to be established for a period of twelve months to be considered a 'de facto relationship' for VCES purposes.

 

 

Two people are within a prohibited relationship as defined in section 5E(6) of the VEA if the person is:

(a) an ancestor or a descendant of the other person; or

(b) a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the partner.

 

For this definition, an adopted child is taken to be a natural child but the tracing rule as described in 5Q(5) does not apply.

 

 

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

 

 

An illness separated couple is a couple who cannot share a home because of the illness or infirmity of one or both partners. Illness separated couples may be paid the higher single rate of pension. Refer to subsection 5R(5) of the VEA for the full definition.

 

 

A respite care couple is a couple who Commission has determined are separated because one person has entered respite care in a nursing home or hostel to give the other member of the couple a temporary break from caring for that person.

Members of a respite care couple are entitled to be paid the single rate of pension.

Refer to subsection 5R(6) of the VEA for the full definition.

 

 

The term member of a couple generally replaces married person in the current VEA.

 

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

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

 

 

A person is considered to be in a de facto relationship if the person is:

  • living with another person (their partner) whether of the same sex or a different sex;

  • not legally married to the partner; and

  • certain features of that relationship are typical for members of a couple, and

  • the person and the partner are not within a prohibited relationship

Refer to section 11A of the VEA for the full definition.

 

Note: A relationship needs to be established for a period of twelve months to be considered a 'de facto relationship' for VCES purposes.

 

 

Two people are within a prohibited relationship as defined in section 5E(6) of the VEA if the person is:

(a) an ancestor or a descendant of the other person; or

(b) a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the partner.

 

For this definition, an adopted child is taken to be a natural child but the tracing rule as described in 5Q(5) does not apply.

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

An illness separated couple is a couple who cannot share a home because of the illness or infirmity of one or both partners. Illness separated couples may be paid the higher single rate of pension. Refer to subsection 5R(5) of the VEA for the full definition.

 

 

According to Section 5E(2) of the VEA a person is a member of a couple, if they are:

  • legally married to another person and is not living separately and apart from the other person on a permanent basis; or
  • living in a prescribed registered relationship with the other person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) and is not living separately and apart from that other person on a permanent basis; or
  • all of the following conditions are met:
  • living with another person, whether of the same sex or a different sex;
  • not legally married to that person;
  • in a de facto relationship with that person; and
  • not in a prohibited relationship

The term “partnered” is also commonly used.

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

 

 

A respite care couple is a couple who Commission has determined are separated because one person has entered respite care in a nursing home or hostel to give the other member of the couple a temporary break from caring for that person.

Members of a respite care couple are entitled to be paid the single rate of pension.

Refer to subsection 5R(6) of the VEA for the full definition.

 

 

Respite care is care provided for one member of a couple in a nursing home or hostel on a temporary basis so that their partner can have a break from providing care.  For care to be recognised as respite care under the VEA, it must be Government subsidised care provided under the Aged Care Act 1997.

A pensioner receiving such care, and their partner (a respite care couple), are entitled to be paid the single rate of pension.

For the full definition of respite care, refer to subsection 5NC(8) of the VEA.

 

 

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

 

 

According to Section 5E(2) of the VEA a person is a member of a couple, if they are:

  • legally married to another person and is not living separately and apart from the other person on a permanent basis; or
  • living in a prescribed registered relationship with the other person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) and is not living separately and apart from that other person on a permanent basis; or
  • all of the following conditions are met:
  • living with another person, whether of the same sex or a different sex;
  • not legally married to that person;
  • in a de facto relationship with that person; and
  • not in a prohibited relationship

The term “partnered” is also commonly used.

According to Section 5E(2) of the VEA a person is a member of a couple, if they are:

  • legally married to another person and is not living separately and apart from the other person on a permanent basis; or
  • living in a prescribed registered relationship with the other person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) and is not living separately and apart from that other person on a permanent basis; or
  • all of the following conditions are met:
  • living with another person, whether of the same sex or a different sex;
  • not legally married to that person;
  • in a de facto relationship with that person; and
  • not in a prohibited relationship

The term “partnered” is also commonly used.

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.