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B43/1995 ISSUING A NOTICE UNDER S54AA OF THE VEA
DATE OF ISSUE: 19 JUNE 1995
ISSUING A NOTICE UNDER S54AA OF THE VEA
The purpose of this instruction is to advise of procedures to be taken before invoking s56EA of the Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA) to suspend or cancel a pension, following failure to comply with a notice under s54AA of the VEA.
2.In using s128 of the VEA to require the pensioner to provide information, a problem was identified that if there was a failure to respond to the s128 notice, there was no provision to suspend or cancel a pension. A proposal was put forward to amend s128 to add the ability to suspend or cancel a pension. When drafting instructions were put forward, subsequent discussion with Office of Parliamentary Counsel resulted in s54AA being inserted in the VEA rather than an amendment to s128.
3.The Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Act VALA 1995 received Royal Assent on 12 April 1995. It was in this Amendment Act that s54AA was inserted, along with an amendment to s56EA see DI B35/95 for further information.
4.Section 54AA of the VEA allows the Secretary to issue a notice to a person receiving service pension to provide information relevant to the receipt of that service pension. If the pensioner fails to comply with a s54AA notice, s56EA allows the Repatriation Commission to suspend or cancel a person's service pension or income support supplement.
5.However, when the Bill was being considered by the Community Services Caucus Committee prior to introduction, the Chair of the Committee sought an undertaking from the Minister that, before action is taken to cancel or suspend pension or benefit, the Department would contact the pensioner by telephone.
6.Therefore, the pensioner must be contacted by telephone to establish the reason for non compliance with a notice requesting information and possibly forestalling action to cancel or suspend the person's pension or benefit by allowing the pensioner a final chance to provide the information requested.
7.The contact officer for enquiries regarding this instruction is Chris Sugden on telephone (06) 289 6441.