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MOU between DVA/FACSIA

Memorandum of Understanding

between

the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Veterans' Affairs

(ABN 23 964 290 824)

and

the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Family and Community Services

(ABN 36 342 015 855)

regarding

payment of Social Security Age Pension to

Entitled Persons

THE CLAUSES

1Purpose

  1. This Memorandum of Understanding's (MOU's) purpose is for the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) to administer the Age Pension on behalf of the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) for Veterans entitled to both the Disability Pension under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and the Age Pension under the Social Security Act 1991 (SSA) and their partners (hereinafter referred to as “Entitled Persons”).

  1. At present, Centrelink administers aspects of the Age Pension on behalf of the FaCS for the wider Australian community.  Accordingly, in order to achieve the purpose referred to in clause 1.1, the parties acknowledge that it may be necessary to supplement this MOU with an agreement between Centrelink and DVA.  If the parties deem such an agreement necessary, they will work together in good faith to broker the arrangement and a copy of the agreement between Centrelink and DVA will be provided to FaCS.

2Parties

2.1The parties to this MOU are:

  • The Commonwealth of Australia Department of Veterans' Affairs ABN 23 964 290 824; and

  • The Commonwealth of Australia Department of Family and Community Services ABN 36 342 015 855.

3Period

  1. This MOU will start operating from the date of signing and remain in force until both parties agree to terminate the arrangement.

4Legal effect

  1. The parties do not intend to create legal relations between each other by entering this MOU.

POSITION OF ENTITLED PERSONS

5New claims

5.1An Entitled Person has a choice to claim the Age Pension, before or after this MOU comes into effect, from either Centrelink or DVA.

6Transfers

6.1After grant of Age Pension, an Entitled Person has the choice to transfer between both agencies.

DVA UNDERTAKINGS

7DVA's primary task

7.1DVA agrees to administer the Age Pension on behalf of FaCS for Entitled Persons who have consented to DVA doing so (the Task).

7.2DVA agrees to perform the Task in accordance with Social Security Law, the Guide to Social Security Law and policy instructions issued by the Secretary of FaCS, as amended from time to time.

8                     Performance monitoring and standards

8.1In performing the Task, DVA agrees to meet the FaCS customer service standards described in Attachment A and provide FaCS with the management information set out in Attachment B

8.2In performing the Task DVA agrees to prepare Ministerial responses to customer related correspondence about social security age or wife pension paid by DVA, for the Minister of the Department of Family and Community Services.

8.3In preparing ministerial responses DVA agrees to provide customer details to FaCS within 5 working days of request to assist with preparing responses to requests from the FaCS Portfolio Ministers, the Ombudsman, Appeal Courts or Tribunals or other source that may arise from time to time.  DVA will need to contact Centrelink if they require similar customer information to respond to their ministerial.

8.4

8.5Claims of Legal Liability:

8.5.1Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration Payment

  • Claims in respect of Service-delivery issues – DVA agrees to consider, process, determine and pay claims.
  • Claims in respect of Policy Issues – DVA agrees to forward relevant claims to FaCS (contact officer - Chief Legal Adviser) for determination and payment.

8.5.2Act of Grace Payments

  • DVA agrees to prepare submissions to the Department of Finance and any necessary follow-up of act of grace claims for moral and humanitarian obligations.
  • FaCS will be responsible for the preparation and submission to Finance and any necessary follow-up of act of grace claims in relation to anomalous or proposed legislation.

8.6Access to Services:

8.6.1DVA agrees Entitled Persons who chose to receive their Age Pension from DVA have access to all customer services available to other DVA clients.

9                     Administrative Activity provided by DVA

9.1DVA agrees that payments made to Entitled Persons will be subject to the same administrative activities as are applicable to service pensioners and income support supplement recipients and their partners including:

  • New claims, transfers, review and death processing;
  • Provision of Pensioner Concession Cards (PCCs);
  • Client confirmation arrangements with fringe benefit and concession providers;
  • Advice of changes to pensions, obligations including notification requirements;
  • Appeal processing;
  • Data matching program;
  • AVO property valuations;
  • Overpayments processing and recovery;
  • Prosecution activity;
  • Quality Assurance program; and
  • Performance monitoring.

FaCS UNDERTAKINGS

10Delegations, access and funding

10.1FaCS agrees to do all things necessary to ensure that DVA and its Personnel can perform the Task properly, including:

  • Appropriate authority (eg, delegations) to determine and process Age Pension claims, assessments and reviews on behalf of FaCS,
  • Access to current copies of the Social Security Law, the Guide to Social Security Law, policy instructions by the Secretary of FaCS and any other relevant information;
  • Immediate notification of any amendments to the information referred to in paragraph (b);
  • Provision of publications relating to Age Pension; and
  • Making funding available on the terms set out below.

FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS

11Administrative

11.1To cover the administrative costs of DVA determining and processing Age Pension claims, assessments and reviews on behalf of FaCS, FaCS agrees to pay DVA for each financial year the amount calculated by multiplying the estimated customer numbers by the base price per customer rounded to the nearest $100.

The estimated customer numbers will be calculated by taking the total number of BEB recipients at payday 26 of the previous financial year then reducing that figure by half of the yearly customer 'mortality' rate (4.1%).

The base price per customer for the 2003-04 financial year will be calculated by dividing the 2002-03 DVA payment ($198,900) by the estimated customer numbers for that financial year (7309) and then applying an indexation factor.  The indexation factor will be based on the Wage Cost Index, Australian Public Sector, June Quarter figure for the preceding financial year (4.2%).  For the 2003-04 financial year the base price per customer would be $28.36 [(198900/7309) *4.2%].  For each subsequent financial year the base price per customer will be the previous year's price multiplied by the indexation factor.

The total payment amount will be made in 2 equal six-monthly installments.

  1. DVA agrees to submit invoices and assurance/performance reports to FaCS every six months.  Subject to DVA fulfilling its obligations under this MOU, FaCS agrees to pay DVA within 30 days of receiving the relevant invoice and assurance/performance report (refer to section 12).

12Reports

12.1DVA agrees to provide a written assurance/performance report on the previous six months performance against the service standards relating to quality and timeliness of processing and customer service, review arrangements and monitoring (as set out in Attachment A).

  • The first assurance/performance report will cover the period June to November each year.  DVA agrees to provide the first report to FaCS no later than the second week in December of each year.

  • The second assurance/performance report will cover the period December to May each year.  DVA agrees to provide the second report to FaCS no later than the second week in June of each year.

12.2DVA agrees to provide a quarterly written report on the management information (MI) set down in Attachment B.  DVA agrees to provide the MI reports to FaCS no later than the second weeks in October, January, April and July of each year.

12.3Payment will be subject to DVA fulfilling all its obligations in this MOU.

13Age pension payments

13.1The parties agree that DVA can make Age Pension payments to Entitled Persons by drawing directly on the relevant FaCS financial appropriation.

COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT

14Notices

14.1Any notice, request or other communication served in relation to this Agreement shall be in writing and delivered promptly to the DVA or FaCS at the addresses specified below:

DVA

Director

Business Operations and Support Section

Income Support Branch

PO Box 21

WODEN   ACT 2606

FaCS

Director

Aged Program Management Section

Seniors and Means Test Branch

Box 7788

Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610

14.2Technical questions from DVA and its Personnel on Social Security Law, the Guide to Social Security Law and policy instructions by the Secretary of FaCS will, in the first instance, be directed to the FaCS Helpdesk:

15Managing issues between the parties

15.1The parties will notify each other of issues or disputes as early as possible.  The parties will act in good faith to attempt to resolve such issues or disputes in a timely manner.

16Managing entitled person claims and complaints

16.1DVA will respond on behalf of the Ministers for FaCS or DVA to queries or complaints from Entitled Persons receiving an Age Pension from DVA in a timely manner.

16.2The parties will consult each other and determine on a case-by-case basis who is in the best position to deal with claims from DVA Age Pension customers that relate to possible defective administration or act of grace payments.

16.3The parties agree to respond in a timely manner to requests for assistance from the other regarding DVA Aged Pension customer queries, claims and complaints.

17MOU variations

17.1Variations to this MOU must be in writing, signed by the parties' authorised representatives.

TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

18Access

18.1For the purposes of government accountability and effective management of this arrangement, the parties agree to provide each other with reasonable access to material relating to this MOU.

19Privacy

19.1DVA and FaCS acknowledge their obligations to comply with relevant Commonwealth privacy and confidentiality legislation and policies, including the Privacy Act 1988 and directions from the Privacy Commissioner, as well as the following:

  • Certificate of Disclosure - The current “Certificate Under Paragraph 208(1)(b) of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 - Disclosure of Information To Another Commonwealth Department or Authority”, authorises FaCS/Centrelink officers to release information collected for Age Pension purposes to DVA, to determine a claim or undertake a review under the VEA. DVA officers, who have been delegated under the Social Security Law, are authorised to administer the payment of Age Pension and partner payment.  They may release information collected for Age Pension/partner payments purposes for the purposes of determining a claim or undertaking a review under the VEA, should it be required.

  • Privacy and Confidentiality - FaCS and DVA staff will comply with privacy and confidentiality provisions relating to both organisations.

  • Duty of Care - DVA officers will be delegated authority under Social Security Law to determine and process age pension claims, assessments and reviews on behalf of the Secretary FaCS.  This entails a legal responsibility to ensure that social security entitlements are administered in a fair and accurate manner, consistent with the legislation.  FaCS Legal Services Branch holds an instrument of delegation allowing DVA to administer the relevant parts of Social Security Law.
  • Personal Information - DVA collects personal information of the type collected for Age Pension, for the purposes of administering benefits under the Veterans Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).

  • Use of information under VEA - Personal information collected solely for FaCS payment purposes is protected under the confidentiality provisions of Social Security Law and cannot be released to third parties.


INTERPRETING THIS MOU

20Definitions

20.1In this MOU, unless the contrary intention appears -

Age Pension

Age pension is a government payment, which provides a safety net for older people who have reached age pension age and are unable to adequately provide for themselves.

Any reference to the Age Pension in this MOU can also relate to the administration of Wife (Age) Pension for Entitled Persons. .

Attachment

Means a document attached or referred to expressly by a clause as describing a relevant aspect of this MOU.

Centrelink

Commonwealth service delivery agency

claim

Includes potential claim, suit, demand, action or proceeding from any person.

Disability Pension

A pension paid to compensate veterans for injuries or diseases caused or aggravated by war service or certain defence service on behalf of Australia under the Veterans Entitlements Act 1986

DVA

Means the Commonwealth of Australia, as represented by and acting through the Department of Veterans' Affairs, but also including its Personnel.

Entitled Person

Means a Veteran who is entitled to both the Disability Pension under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 and the Age Pension under the Social Security Act 1991 and their partner.

FaCS

Means the Commonwealth of Australia, as represented by and acting through the Department of Family and Community Services, but also including its Personnel.

Guide to Social Security Law

Provides a comprehensive guide to finding information contained in Social Security Law. The Guide is updated on a monthly basis.

include

Where 'include' (in any form) is used in this Agreement, examples following it do not limit the scope of the relevant issue to a specific example or class of examples.

MOU

Means this document (embracing the clauses and information in the Signatures Page plus any express Attachment.  This Agreement does not include the title page, table of contents or headings; although, these may help clarify any inconsistencies.

party

Means, as applicable, the Commonwealth, the State and their respective Personnel.

Personnel

Includes any party's officer, partner, employee, agent, volunteer, bailee, contractor, subcontractor, executor, administrator, substitute, successor, licensee or assignee but – when applied to one party – does not include the other party or that other party's Personnel

Signatures Page

Means the pages executed (by signatures or affixing a seal as appropriate) by each party to indicate intention to create legal relations under this Agreement.

Social Security Law

Consists of three parts: Social Security Act 1991, Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 and the Social Security (International Agreements) Act 1999.

Task

DVA administration of the social security age pension on behalf of FaCS for Entitled Persons who have nominated DVA as the delivery agency.

Veteran

A person who is taken to have rendered eligible war service or to whom a pension is payable under part II of the VEA 1986.


THE SIGNATURES PAGE

Signed for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Veterans' Affairs by:

[insert name and position of authorised person]

Signature and date:     _______________________  __/__/__

Witnessed by:

[insert name of witness]

Signature and date:     _______________________  __/__/__

Signed for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Family and Community Services by:

[insert name and position of authorised person]

Signature and date:     _______________________  __/__/__

Witnessed by:

[insert name of witness]

Signature and date:     _______________________  __/__/__


ATTACHMENT B:  MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

DVA management information is to be provided quarterly.

The management information should be in a text file on either a floppy disc or a cd and contain the following information:

DVA ID

Customer identifier

Payment Type

Age Pension

Wife Pension

Payment Status

Current

Suspended

Sex

Male

Female

Age (years)

Integer

Age (days)

Integer

Relationship Status

Married

Defacto

Single

Separated

Divorced

Widowed

Country of Birth

Country List

Indigenous Indicator

Aboriginal

Torres Strait Islander

South Sea Islander

Both Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander

Aboriginal & South Sea Islander

Torres Strait & South Sea Islander

Aboriginal & Torres Strait & South Sea Islander

Not identified

State of Residence

New South Wales

Victoria

Queensland

South Australia

Western Australia

Tasmania

Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Postcode of Residence

Postcode list

Country of Residence

Country List

Duration on payment (years)

Integer

Duration on payment (days)

Integer

Rate of Payment

Single

Partnered

Illness separated

Payment reduction

Receives maximum payment

Receives reduced payment

Payment Made Under Which Means Test

Asset Test

Income Test

Blind Maximum Payment Indicator

Blind and is exempt from means test

Not blind

DVA Payment Types

List of payments

Pension (Basic + supplement)

Dollars and cents

Pharmaceutical Allowance

Dollars and cents

Rent Assistance

Dollars and cents

Remote Area Allowance

Dollars and cents

Telephone Allowance

Dollars and cents

Partner's Payment Type

Payment list

Own Income

From business

Dollars and cents

From compensation

Dollars and cents

From earnings

Dollars and cents

From farm

Dollars and cents

From deeming

Dollars and cents

From DVA payments

Dollars and cents

From real estate

Dollars and cents

From income streams

Dollars and cents

From foreign sources

Dollars and cents

From other sources

Dollars and cents

Total Income as Assessed (combined amount if partnered)

Dollars and cents

Own Assets

Farm business

Dollars and cents

Other business

Dollars and cents

Farm real estate

Dollars and cents

Other real estate

Dollars and cents

Household and Personal Effects

Dollars and cents

Assets subject to deeming

Dollars and cents

Income Stream Assets

Dollars and cents

Other Assets

Dollars and cents

Total Assets as Assessed (combined amount if partnered)

Dollars and cents

Rent Type

Board and lodging

Free board

Free board and lodgings
Free lodgings

Government rent

Lodgings only

Maintenance fee for nursing home/retirement village

Mooring fees

No rent paid

Other

Private rent

Site fees

Amount of rent paid

Dollars and cents

Home ownership

Deemed interest

Homeowner and lives in Government funded Aged Care

Not a homeowner and lives in Government funded Aged Care

Fully owns home

Owns home jointly with partner

Homeowner but lives elsewhere

Bequeathed life interest

Homeowner and lives in a nursing home

Not a homeowner and lives in a nursing home

Not a homeowner

Other homeowner

Owns home jointly with someone other than partner

Purchased life tenancy

Homeowner and lives in a special residence

Not a homeowner and lives in a special residence