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B33/1991 EXTENSION OF SERVICE PENSION ELIGIBILITY TO SPOUSES OF FEMALE VETERANS
DATE OF ISSUE: 9 July 1991
EXTENSION OF SERVICE PENSION ELIGIBILITY TO SPOUSES OF FEMALE VETERANS
The legislation extending eligibility for Repatriation Benefits to male spouses of female veterans has been passed by Parliament. Royal Assent occurred on 25 June 1991.
2.The legislation provides for the male spouse of a female veteran to receive the same benefits as a female spouse of a male veteran, that is, be able to receive service pension, war widowers' pension and Defence Service Homes loans and insurance.
3.The VEA has been amended by three Amendment Bills,
(i)Veterans' Entitlement Amendment Bill 1991,
(ii)Veterans' Entitlements (Rewrite) Transition Bill 1991, and
(iii)Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Act 1991.
4.There are terminology changes throughout Part III of the VEA as a result of the rewrite. The principle change in regard to male spouses is the renaming of the "wife's service pension" to "partner service pension".
5.Details of "Rewrite" terminology will be covered in a separate instruction.
7.The eligibility provisions for a male spouse are a mirror image of those for a female spouse. That is, they must meet income, asset and residency requirements, but there is no age limit. The provisions are contained within Section 40 of the VEA, which was formerly titled "Eligibility for wife's service pension".
8.If the female veteran becomes eligible for service pension or is permanently incapacitated, her male partner is also eligible for pension.
9.If the male partner is a veteran in his own right, he will not be entitled to receive a Service Pensioner Benefits Card or Personal Treatment Entitlement Card until he reaches the age of 60 or he is considered Permanently Incapacitated.
DATE OF GRANT
10.Provision has been made in the legislation to backdate the payment of service pension to a male spouse to 22 January 1991, the date that the Minister announced the changes.
11.If a claim for pension from a male spouse is lodged prior to 1 October 1991, pension can be backdated to 22 January 1991 or the first day after that date that the spouse becomes eligible. This provision also applies to applications received from male spouses transferring from DSS.
12.There are two instances where pension will not be backdated to 22 January. These are, where the veteran first became eligible for pension after 22 January and when the couple were married or entered into a defacto relationship after 22 January. In both these cases pension can be backdated to the first payday after gaining eligibility.
13.If a claim for pension is received after 30 September 1991, normal date of grant rules apply.
14.A mailout exercise will be conducted during the week of 12 July 1991, to advise those female veterans who are known to be married of the changes to the eligibility of male spouses. Primarily, these women are in receipt of service pension. A copy of the advice letter is at attachment A. please ensure that this is available to examiners prior to the letters reaching pensioners.
15.No changes have been made to the daily advices as the information contained in the standard paragraphs is still applicable.
16.The extension of service pension eligibility to male spouses has not required any change to the PIPS system.
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR