You are here
B37/1993 BUDGET 1992 INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE ASSISTANCE TO CARER SERVICE PENSIONERS
DATE OF ISSUE: 13 July 1993
BUDGET 1992 INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE ASSISTANCE TO CARER SERVICE PENSIONERS
This instruction details the changes to Carer Service Pension that take effect from
1 July 1993.
2.A Carer Service Pension is paid to a person who provides ongoing care in the home of a severely handicapped veteran.
3.To qualify for payment, the carer must:
.provide care in the home of the veteran service pensioner (for administrative purposes, the definition of 'home' excludes residency in hospitals and nursing homes); and
.live in, or adjacent to, the home of the pensioner; and
.satisfy the income and assets tests.
4.Prior to 1 July 1993, Carer Service Pensioners could not have a break from caring for more than 28 days in a year. In addition, they could not work, undertake educational courses or training or travel overseas without losing eligibility for Carer Service Pension.
Summary of Changes Effective From 1 July 1993
5.A number of changes were announced in the 1992/93 Budget to improve assistance to carers. These initiatives are:
.Increase the respite period from 28 to 42 days within a calendar year before eligibility for Carer Service Pension is lost;
.Allow carers to travel overseas during a period when they temporarily cease to provide care;
.Allow carers to undertake training, education and employment for up to 10 hours per week;
.Permit carers access to earnings credit arrangements; and
.Extend the lump sum bereavement payment to certain carers;
Also, eligibility for Social Security Carer Pension was extended to a person caring for a non-pensioner.
Changes Effective From 1 July 1993
DSS related change
6.From 1 July 1993, a person who cares for a non-pensioner may qualify for DSS Carer Pension. This will encourage home-based rather than institutional care. Any enquiries about these types of cases should be referred to the Department of Social Security which is responsible for the administration of these cases.
7.Respite care is when someone takes over the carer's responsibility of looking after the veteran service pensioner. Respite may be provided in the veteran's own home or in an institution such as a nursing home or hostel.
8. From 1 July 1993, Carer Service Pension will be continued if the period of respite does not exceed 42 days within a calandar year. Prior to 1 July 1993, Carer Service pension would have ceased after only 28 days respite.
9.The respite may be taken continuously or for broken periods of time. If the cessation of care exceeds a total of 42 days, the Commission may approve continuation of Carer Service Pension if special circumstances apply. In such a case, the reason for ceasing to provide care should be outside the control of the carer. For example, a special reason could exist where the veteran being cared for had been in hospital for 42 days and it then became necessary for his or her hospitalisation to continue for a further short period.
10.The Commission will only accept financial responsibility for the full costs of respite for a maximum of 28 days within a financial year. Commission must also be satisfied that the respite has been planned in advance, approved by the Department and is in respect of the following card holders:
.Service Pensioner Benefits Card (SPBC)
.Personal Treatment Entitlement Card (PTEC)
.Dependant Treatment Entitlement Card (DTEC)
.Specific Treatment Entitlement Card (STEC)
11.With regard to STEC holders, Commission will only accept financial responsibility where the respite is for an accepted disability.
12.A carer will be able to go overseas during temporary cessation of care without losing eligibility for Carer Service Pension. Eligibility for payment will continue providing the carer is not absent from Australia for more than 42 days a year. Payment cannot be continued if a carer travels overseas with the severely handicapped veteran unless provision is made for the temporary cessation of care.
13.The provision of constant care prevents a person from engaging in full-time work or study. However, it is acknowledged that an extended absence from the work force or educational facilities inhibits a person's opportunities to return to paid employment. Consequently, carers are now allowed up to 10 hours a week for training, education and employment without losing eligibility for payment.
14.Carers are also eligible for an earnings credit, providing they do not work for more than 10 hours per week. The maximum amount of an earnings credit available to a single carer is $1,000. A carer with a partner receiving an income support payment from Social Security can accrue an earnings credit of $2,000. The earnings credit is indexed annually.
15.The Earnings Credit Account Balance (ECAB) began accruing for Carer Service Pensioners on 1 January 1993. Any person who was receiving a DSS/DVA pension and then transferred to Carer Service Pension on or after 1 July 1993, will be able to carry over any ECAB that accrued while they were receiving their previous pension.
16.After the death of a single veteran service pensioner, the carer will be eligible to receive 7 further fortnightly instalments of carer service pension. In addition to this, they will also be eligible to receive a lump sum bereavement payment. This will be equivalent to the lesser of the following:
.7 instalments of carer service pension; or
.7 times half the combined maximum married rate of service pension.
17.Only one lump sum bereavement payment can be made in respect of a veteran's death. If a veteran (with a partner and a carer) passes away, the lump sum bereavement will be credited to the partner.
18.The Government emphasised in the 1992 Budget that a carer who paid for the funeral of a veteran service pensioner would qualify for a funeral benefit, providing special circumstances apply.
19.Special circumstances apply if:
.the veteran's death was war caused;
.the veteran was receiving a T&PI Pension at the time of death;
.the veteran was receiving a special allowance for a double amputation or blindness;
.the veteran died in needy circumstances;
.the veteran died
-in an institution,
-travelling to or from an institution,
-after discharge from an institution in which the veteran was being treated for a terminal illness:
-while being treated for a terminal illness at home,
where that admission, discharge, treatment or travel was approved by the Repatriation Commission in accordance with the Treatment Principles.
20.Section 39 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act (VEA) contains the amended rules governing the eligibility criteria for Carer Service Pension. Section 39QA provides the legal basis for lump sum bereavement payments to carers. The rules governing carers overseas are housed in subsections 58K(2) & (2A) VEA. The following sections of the VEA have been amended to provide legislative backing for the extension of Earnings Credit arrangements to Carer Service Pensioners: 49, 49A, 49B-B1, 49B-B2A and 49B-B3.
21.These changes are contained in the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 1992, given Royal Assent on 24 December 1992 and which became effective from 1 July 1993.
Publicity and Advices
22.All Carer Service Pensioners will receive an advice letter detailing the changes that will take place on 1 July 1993. This letter will be manually produced and distributed by Central Office in early July to coincide with the implementation date. A copy of this letter is included at Attachment A.
23.A Carer Support Brochure produced by the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services will be included with the advice letter. A copy of the brochure is at Attachment B.
24.An article explaining the changes affecting Carer Service Pensioners will be published in the August edition of Vetaffairs. A copy is included at Attachment C.
25.Carer Service Pension cases will continue to be processed manually. There will be no modifications to the PIPS program. Any outstanding case work should be finalised by 1 July 1993 to ensure the accuracy of advices.
26.The project manager is Colette Woodford who can be contacted on (06) 289 6342. The project officer is Graham Keaney who is outposted to the NSW Branch Office. Graham can be contacted on (02) 213 7770.
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR
THIS ATTACHMENT HAS BEEN RE-KEYED TO ENABLE IT TO BE LOADED ONTO THE GENERAL
280 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
JOHN B SMITH — GPO Box 3994, Sydney NSW 2001
1029 ANZAC AVENUE
HOMEBUSH BAY 2140 — Telephone:
Metropolitan residents: 213 7777
Country residents: 008 257251
7 July 1993
YOUR FILE NUMBER IS NX543210
I am writing to tell you about a number of new rules that came into effect from 1 July 1993 which are designed to assist people such as yourself who get a Carer Service Pension.
Employment, Education and Training
Looking after a severely handicapped veteran prevents you from working or studying full-time. However, it is acknowledged that an extended absence from the workforce or educational training lessens your chances of returning to paid employment. Consequently, you are now allowed up to 10 hours a week for training, education and employment without losing eligibility for your pension.
Can The Earnings Credit Scheme Help You?
You may be able to do some work without losing any pension. The amount you can earn before your pension is reduced depends on whether you have built up an earnings credit. Your credit may go as high as $1,000 if single and $2,000 combined if you are married. The credit builds up when you are paid the maximum rate of pension. If you were receiving a pension from Social Security or Veterans' Affairs and you then transferred to Carer Service pension on or after 1 July 1993, you will be able to carry over any Earnings Credit that accrued while you were receiving your previous pension. Remember, however, the maximum you can work in one week is 10 hours.
Your Pension Can Be Paid While You Have A Break From Caring
You will be able to keep getting the pension for up to 6 weeks each year if you choose to have a break from providing care. It won't matter if you take your break in Australia or overseas - you will still be paid for up to 6 weeks.
Lump Sum Payment If The Person You Care For Dies
Your pension will be paid for a further 7 payments if the person you are caring for dies. You may also be able to receive a lump sum payment.
Carer Support Brochure
You will also find enclosed a copy of a Carer Support Brochure provided by the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services. This brochure tells you who to call if you want a copy of a free Carer Support Kit. Please ring your State or Territory Carer Association if you have enquiries about the brochure or the Carer Support Kit. Their telephone numbers are listed on the back page of the brochure.
If you want to know more about Carer Service Pension payable to carers of veteran service pensioners, please contact this office at the address or telephone number shown at the top of this letter.
G K Stonehouse
Deputy Commissioner as
Delegate of the Secretary
FOR DETAILS REGARDING ATTACHMENT B PLEASE REFER TO YOUR HARD COPY
CHANGES TO CARER SERVICE PENSION
WHAT IS CARER SERVICE PENSION ?
Carer Service pension is paid to a person who provides ongoing care in the home of a severely handicapped veteran.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE ?
To get Carer Service Pension you have to provide care in the home of the veteran service pensioner; live in, or adjacent to the home of the pensioner; and satisfy an income and assets test.
Before I July 1993, those people receiving Carer Service Pension would lose this pension if they took a break from caring for the veteran service pensioner for more than 28 days a year They would also lose it if they worked, took up an educational course or other training or if they travelled overseas
WHAT HAS CHANGED ?
In recognition of the important role carers play in society, the Government announced a range of measures to assist them in the 1992/93 Budget
Did you know that from 1 July 1993, carers will not lose Carer Service Pension if they:
In addition, from I July 1993, carers will be able to;
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR CARER SERVICE PENSION
If you think you may be eligible for Carer Service Pension, or if you have a question about any of the changes mentioned above, please contact your local DVA Branch Office.