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B37/1990 AMNESTY - APPLICATION OF AMNESTY PROVISIONS
DATE OF ISSUE: 16 OCTOBER 1990
AMNESTY - APPLICATION OF AMNESTY PROVISIONS
This Departmental Instruction has been prepared in response to questions about the legal status of the Amnesty which was in force between 23 August and 2 October 1990, following the announcement on Budget Night. DVA was not included in the Budget Night Announcement, however the PM approved DVA inclusion on 22/8/90.
2.Legislation was prepared and is contained in the Social Security & Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill No 2 (1990). This Bill has been passed by the House of Representatives and is due to go to the Senate on 10/10/90. At this stage the earliest date for Royal Assent is 22/10/90. This Bill will become law on the day of Royal Assent.
3.Processing of applications for amnesty should be undertaken as follows:
a)Pension should be reduced/cancelled from the current reduction day;
b)Pensioner should be advised that pension has been reduced/cancelled, based on the advice received, from payday "date". New income/asset details and pension rate should be included in the Advice.
4.As there is no legal basis at this time for a delegate to determine that "a person is not indebted to the Commonwealth" if their case fits the provisions of the amnesty, no reference should be made either to amnesty or overpayment in the advice to the pensioner.
5.All cases which require a decision under amnesty should have their pension reduced from the current reduction date and a record should be made of name and file number for all cases.
6.Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, files can be noted where Amnesty applies, and any cases where amnesty is rejected can be processed in the normal way. There is no requirement for delegation under the Amnesty Section in the legislation. Delegates are required to establish the facts and then grant or reject the case based on the facts as presented.
7.Please note that details of the number of applications received, number of applications accepted and rejected, and average dollar reductions per fortnight, are required for all cases decided under Amnesty.
A/g National Program Director (Benefits)