You are here
B46/1993 PAYMENT OF TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE ARREARS ON-LINE
DATE OF ISSUE: 9 SEPTEMBER 1993
PAYMENT OF TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE ARREARS ON-LINE
This instruction details the changes for the implementation of the on-line payment of Telephone Allowance arrears.
2. Telephone Allowance was introduced with effect from 1 July 1992, with the Legislative requirement that arrears of the Allowance be paid to eligible pensioners where appropriate. To date, any arrears due have been paid manually in the Branches via keyfast. It should be noted that in relation to Telephone Allowance, 'arrears' may be a single instalment of TA or a backdated payment of more than one instalment.
3. The primary incidence of TA arrears being paid is when a grant of service pension, war widow's pension, or disability pension (at a rate which qualifies a veteran for TA) occurs where a person is a telephone subscriber, and the date of grant is prior to the most recent TA pay-day. There are also occasions when it is necessary to pay an instalment of TA which was not paid automatically (payment may have been missed during a transfer action, or it may be necessary to adjust the rate paid automatically).
CHANGES EFFECTIVE FOR ON-LINE PAYMENT
4. It is now possible to pay arrears of TA on-line via the existing arrears screen (PP.AR). Should the TA arrears payment be in conjunction with a grant of or variation to an appropriate rate of pension, the TA arrears payment may be processed as a part of that action i.e. a separate registration is not required (see point 9). For service pension cases, a TA arrears payment may be processed in conjunction with a Pensioner Initiated Review (PIR). For a TA arrears payment only (no other change), a PIPS case is to be registered using the Nil Pension Variation classification (Item 15 on the CMS Classify Pension (CM.CP) screen).
5. The following processing steps will apply :
Classify Pension (CM.CP);
Assessment Control (PP.AC);
Payment Advices (PP.AD);
Submission (PP.SU); and
6. The existing PP.AR screen is to be used as follows to pay TA arrears:
A (ADD), C (CHANGE) or D (DELETE) is to be recorded in the ACTION field;
the literals of TA are to be entered in the TYPE field;
the effective date of the TA arrears payment is to be recorded in the FROM DATE field. This date is not to be earlier that 090792 (the date of the introduction of Telephone Allowance). The date must be a pay-day but need not be a TA pay-day.
Should it be necessary to pay the next TA instalment via the arrears facility (where the automatic 'run' has already occurred), the FROM DATE may be an advance date not later than the next TA pay-day (the action would need to be processed for the pay-day following the TA pay-day i.e. the assessment effective date must be later than the TA pay-day).
Similarly, a processing effective date (assessment date) in advance of the next TA pay-day is to be used if it is necessary to include the next TA instalment in a TA arrears payment (when the automatic 'run' to pay TA has already occurred). The arrears FROM DATE must be a pay-date not later than the first TA pay-day from which arrears are payable;
CHANGES EFFECTIVE FOR ON-LINE PAYMENT (cont)
the PAYMENT AMOUNT OLD is always to be NIL or the field may be left blank. A variation in the rate of TA cannot be processed via the arrears facility; it is rarely necessary to vary a rate of TA payable. The most common variation would be from the married (half base) rate to the single (base) rate, which can be processed by making an additional payment at the married rate.
Any other variation in a TA payment which cannot be processed on-line will need to be processed manually via keyfast;
the literals of W, B or H are to be entered in the PAYMENT AMOUNT NEW field. The literals will be converted to WWI, Base or Half after pressing ENTER (monetary amounts will not display). The current WWI rate of TA is $41.30, the Base rate is $13.20 and the Half rate is $6.60; the rate/s appropriate to the date/s recorded will be applied to automatically calculate the TA arrears payment, based on the number of TA payment dates involved; and
TA is not taxable; no data is to be entered in the TAXABLE AMOUNT fields.
7. The method for recording arrears lines on PP.AR is modelled on that for disability pension. Only the initial arrears line will generally need to be recorded. It will not be necessary to record a line for each TA pay-day or for any date where the TA rate changes due to indexation. A new arrears line need only be recorded if there is a break in the payment of TA arrears or if there is a change from W, B or H.
A zero recorded in the PAYMENT AMOUNT NEW field from a particular date will result in no TA arrears being calculated from that date. All arrears lines where there is a variation in the TA amount will display on the payment authority form D.2650 (a payment authority is to be generated whenever a TA arrears payment is processed).
NOTE: TA arrears lines display on the D.2650 as for any other pension or allowance. However, the amounts for TA are in fact QUARTERLY, not fortnightly.
8. TA payments made via the PP.AR facility are to appear as MANUAL on the TA inquiry facility (PP.TI). A lump sum amount is to display on that screen for an arrears payment involving more than one quarterly TA payment. The date of the pension pay-day for which a 'manual' TA payment is processed will display on the PP.TI facility.
'HOLDING' OF TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE ARREARS
9. Whilst it may be necessary to 'hold' arrears of service pension, disability pension or war widows pension, TA arrears are to not be held for adjustment purposes i.e. an amount of pension is not to be adjusted from arrears of Telephone Allowance. Where TA arrears are due to be paid in conjunction with pension arrears which are to be held for adjustment purposes e.g. a backdated grant of war widow's pension requiring DSS clearance, the TA arrears should be paid in a separate action, so that they are not included with an amount of arrears which is held.
In the case of a TA arrears only payment, a person's entitlement to that payment should be determined conclusively prior to the payment being processed; this procedure will avoid the need to 'hold' TA arrears.
ONUS TO PAY TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE ARREARS
10. Determining a persons eligibility for TA and the responsibility for paying Telephone Allowance arrears to eligible pensioners will continue to lie with the examiner/delegate. The system does not assess entitlement to TA and there are to be no on-line edits which will require TA arrears to be paid i.e. a backdated grant of a TPI pension to a telephone subscriber will not demand that TA arrears be paid.
11. As for other arrears payments, details of arrears of Telephone Allowance will be included on the Released Arrears schedule and the Cases Actioned report.
DAILY ADVICES AND GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET
12. To date there has been no reference to Telephone Allowance in the General Information Sheet or in daily advices. To coincide with the introduction of the on-line payment of TA arrears, Telephone Allowance information is to be included in the General Information Sheet and there is to be wording included in the daily advices where a TA arrears payment is made.
13. To enable the General Information Sheet to remain at one page, the wording re Gifts has been rationalised, and TA wording included as follows:
You have the right to use your assets for any purpose you want. You may sell or reduce your assets and spend money on things such as the purchase of consumer goods, home maintenance or improvements, or to pay for trips or holidays. However, if you give away money or assets or sell assets for less than their NET value, your pension may be affected. If you would like more information about how this may affect your pension please contact this office."
Telephone Allowance is paid to assist pensioners with payment of their telephone rental charge. If you are a telephone subscriber you may be eligible to receive Telephone Allowance. Telephone Allowance is paid to eligible pensioners quarterly (usually in January, April, July and October) with their normal pension payment. The rates of Telephone Allowance are:
World War I rate$41.30
General rate (single service pensioners, War Widows/ers$13.20
and recipients of certain rates of disability pension)
Married rate (service pensioners)$ 6.60 each
Please note that if you are in receipt of Telephone Allowance and you cease to be a telephone subscriber you must tell us."
14. The daily advice wording for TA arrears payments will be as follows:
With no other arrears payable:
You are eligible to receive a payment of Telephone Allowance arrears totalling (.........). This amount will be paid to you on (.........).
With other arrears payable:
You are eligible to receive a payment of Telephone Allowance arrears. This amount will be paid to you on (.........) and is included in the arrears adjustment above.
15. The advice produced for a TA arrears payment only (where there is a nil variation and no other change in details) should only be a short advice with no income and asset information or obligations included.
16. The Central Office contact for enquiries re this Departmental Instruction is Raelene Lihou on (06) 289 6081.
BENEFITS PLANNING & MANAGEMENT