C15/1999 JUNE 1999 QUARTERLY LETTERS MAILOUT | Compensation and Support Reference Library, Departmental Instructions, 1999

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C15/1999 JUNE 1999 QUARTERLY LETTERS MAILOUT

Document

DATE OF ISSUE:  3 June 1999

JUNE 1999 QUARTERLY LETTERS MAILOUT

Table of Contents

Letter Content...........................................................

Inserts.................................................................

Number of Pensioner Households Affected......................................

Pre-Mailout Processing Details for States.......................................

Printing and Despatch of Advice Packages......................................

Issues Requiring State Office Action...........................................

BOB HAY

BRANCH HEAD

INCOME SUPPORT

Background

Purpose

The purpose of this Departmental Instruction is to provide information about processing for the June quarterly letters, Group Certificates and Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates mailout.

Introduction

In June each year, the Department undertakes a bulk exercise to issue approximately 350,000 households with advice letters to persons in receipt of service pension, income support supplement payments from DVA or Social Security age pension.  Some of these letters will include Group Certificates for the end of the financial year, and various miscellaneous inserts.

Significant issues

The June 1999 Quarterly mailout will incorporate the following events for pay day 1 July 1999:

  • adjustment of pension payment rates in accordance with any CPI adjustment to the Income Free Area or Asset Free Area;

  • production of letters to reduced rate and maximum rate service, age pension and income support supplement recipients;

  • production and issue of end of financial year Group Certificates;

  • production and issue of Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates;

  • payment of telephone allowance to those eligible; and

  • advice to pensioners of any gain or loss of treatment eligibility.

CPI

Because the cost of living figure for the most recent reference period has resulted in a positive amount, there will be a change to thresholds and limits which in turn will affect rates of pension for reduced rate pensioners.

Letter Content

Letters

Prior to the issue of this DI, System Support Officers and Managers Income Support were provided with copies of the paragraph sequencing and mock-ups of advice letters for this run.  Copies of those mock-ups are reproduced at Attachments A, B and C to this DI.

Group Certificates

Group Certificates will be issued to all pensioners whose pensions are taxable.  Group Certificates without tax deductions will be part of the advice letter sent from the mailing house.  Group Certificates for pensioners who have had tax deductions during the year, will be sent to the State Offices for checking prior to mailing.

Reduced Rate basic letter format

All reduced rate service pension, age pension and income support supplement recipients will receive:

  • A full income and asset listing;

  • A payment box; and

  • Financial obligations (including their prescribed rate) in their advice letter.

Maximum Rate basic letter format

All maximum rate service pension, age pension and income support supplement recipients;

  • Will not receive full obligations or a payment box;

  • Will receive financial obligations (including their prescribed rate) in their advice letter.

Telephone Allowance

Letters will inform pensioners entitled to a telephone allowance payment about their quarterly payment.

Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates (MLEC)

Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates will be issued.  This will consist of a box in the Group Certificate stating the period of exemption if applicable or a separate certificate for Gold Card beneficiaries who are not in receipt of a taxable income support pension.

NON TAXABLE pensioners

Those pensioners whose pensions are not taxable (e.g., service pension on grounds of permanent incapacity and under 65 years of age) will receive an advice letter only.  A Medicare Levy Exemption Certificate (MLEC) will be issued separately

Gifting

The new gifting rules paragraph will go to everyone that receives an advice letter.  See samples letters for more information on this paragraph   Robyn Carroll is the contact officer for any comments relating to this paragraph.

New Notification Rules

From 13 July 1999 the period the client has to notify the Department of changes to their circumstances change from 21 days to within 14 days.  New notifications rules will go to everyone that receives an advice letter.  See sample letters for more information on this paragraph.  Fiona Thompson is the contact officer for any comments relating to this paragraph.

How we calculate your pension

There will be two paragraphs that explain 'How to calculate your pension'.  One will be for service pension and income support supplement recipients and the other one will be for age pensioners.  See sample letters for more information on these paragraphs.  Fiona Thompson is the contact officer for any comments relating to these paragraphs.

General Information Sheet (GIS)

Each letter will contain a General Information Sheet (GIS).  This will act as the consistent last page for gatemarking purposes at the mailing house.  The GIS has been modified and will contain rates and limits information.

Inserts

Australian Taxation Office

A brochure produced in conjunction with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Centrelink and DVA will be included with all advice letters issued in this exercise.  The brochure is a revision of the ATO insert issued with the June 1998 mailout.  The revisions are largely aimed at eliminating the confusion caused by the issue of the brochure last year.  It is hoped that this brochure will significantly reduce the number of queries the State Offices receive about taxation matters. The brochure is titled “Do you need to lodge a tax return”.  This brochure will be included with all Group Certificates and Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates.  See attachment D.

Date of Effect

An insert explaining the new notification period for the Budget 1998/99 “Date of Effect” initiative will be included in the June mailout for all advice letter recipients.  The insert is designed to be a simple, bold, one page notice explaining the change from a 21 day notification period to a 14 day notification period.  See attachment E.

Number of Pensioner Households Affected

The estimated number of Households to receive a Group Certificate and/or Medicare Levy Exemption Certificate information is as follows:

Type

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

AUST

SP

63,818

43.233

40,730

19,609

18,734

8,481

194,605

ISS

26,141

18,532

14,144

6,379

4,950

2,598

72,744

AP

3,265

2,296

1,626

740

738

147

8,812

DP*

27,190

19,170

12,618

5,521

5,648

2,040

72,187

TOTAL

120,414

83,231

69,118

32,249

30,070

13,266

348,348

*  Medicare Levy Exemption Certificate to these pensioner only

Pre-Mailout Processing Details for States

Processing

Processing is scheduled to run from Thursday evening 10 June until Sunday evening 13 June 1999.  Production facilities will therefore not be available from 2.00 pm local time 10 June 1999 until Monday morning 14 June 1999.

ADP Processing

Detailed information regarding ADP Processing will be issued to State System Support Officers in a separate memorandum.  The Systems Support Offices will be issuing a local processing timetable and should be consulted on any matter concerning ADP Processing.

Timetable

Key time frames and events for the June mailout are summarised below.  The first processing run will begin on the evening of

Date

Event

Thursday 10/6/99

Cut off for payday 78 will be 2.00pm local time ALL STATES – Production not available

Thursday evening 10/6/99

Tax Processing and Group Certificate Production

Friday 11/6/99

Day 1 processing for pay period 01.  Daily letters from this processing to be dispatched immediately – Production not available.

Saturday 12/6/99 and

Sunday 13/6/99

Automatic Run for Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates, Group Certificates and Advice cartridge production.

Tuesday 15/6/99

Full production to recommence for all cases

Handling of Daily Advices

Cases processed in advance for 1 July 1999 should have the daily advice despatched prior to the Quarterly Advice being sent.

Daily payment advices produced after the processing run on 12-13 June 1999 for pay period 01 (01 July 1999), should be held by State Offices until confirmation is received from the Quarterly Advices Project Officer in National Office to release such advices.  This will ensure that pensioners who have pension variations processed for payday 01 July 1999 will receive their daily advice after the quarterly advice rather than in advance of it.

To minimise the number of daily advices to be held whilst quarterly advices are processed, it is suggested that only manual cases (and essential processing) should be processed for payday 01 July 1999.

Printing and Despatch of Advice Packages

Package Production

Security Mailing Services, Kingsgrove, Sydney will print advice letters, add inserts and envelope them.  Production of letters is expected to occur over period 16 June to 25 June.

Lodgment of Packages

All letters will be held at the mailing house to be lodged for scheduled posting at the end of the production week (ie. All posted on 25 June).

Issues Requiring State Office Action

Special Register and Overseas

Overseas cases for Tasmania will be sent on a cartridge to Security Mailing Services for printing.  All other States overseas letters will be printed at Hermes and forwarded to the State Offices in with normal daily advice output, for checking and mailing.  All Special Register letters will be printed at Hermes and forwarded to State Offices in with normal daily output for checking and mailing.  States will be provided with following inserts to be included in letters to these pensioners:

  • ATO brochures; and

  • 'Date of Effect' inserts.

Enclosures Letters

It is possible that some States will receive some enclosure advice letters (these are letters that will include a treatment change).  These will also be forwarded in with normal daily advice output and the inserts will also need to be included with these letters.

Tax deduction Cases

The Group Certificates for pensioners who have had tax deductions will be sent to the System Support Officers in each State for checking and mailing.

Reprints of selected letters

Any requests for reprints of individual Quarterly Advice letters should be referred to System Support Officers to organise a reprint.

Reprints of Group Certificates

System Support Officers have been provided with a Group Certificate template in Word format for any reprints.

Reprints of MLEC

System Support Officers have been provided with Medicare Levy Exemption Certificate template in Word format for any reprints.

Feedback from State Offices

Any concerns regarding letters produced as part of this run should be directed immediately to the NO contact officer, Tiffany McIntyre.  At the end of this process we will be collating all State feedback to analyse issues raised and develop solutions to address any concerns raised.  Any problems noted should be reported to the National Office contact officer with the nature of the query and the file number of the client.  Please ensure that problems are reported as early as possible.

Contacts

There will be one National Office contact for this mailout.  Any queries regarding advice wording, data cartridges, mail house printing and letter lodgment should be referred to:

Tiffany McIntyre

(02) 6289 6398 (Phone)

(02) 6289 6553 (Fax)


ATTACHMENT A

PARAGRAPH SEQUENCING AND TARGET AUDIENCE

Paragraph

To whom

State specific letterhead

All

Date

All

File Number

All

Name and Address

All

Opening Paragraph

All

Cost of living paragraph

All (subject to confirmation)

Payment box

Reduced Raters

Your payment is unchanged

Maximum Raters

Group Certificates

All who are taxable

Your MLEC is being posted separately

Non Taxable SP/ISS

Your Obligations

Age Pensioners

Financial Obligations

All (except Age Pensioners)

Telephone Allowance

All eligible for payment

New notification rules

All

Changes You Have Already Told Us About

All

Closing Paragraph

All

Australian Tax Office paragraph

All who are taxable

Signature Block (State specific)

All

Full Income & Asset Listing

Reduced Raters (except Age Pensioners)

How to calculate your pension

All

General Information Sheet

All


ATTACHMENT B

SAMPLE LETTERS

JUNE PARAGRAPH CONTENT

EXAMPLE1: SP, Sgle Assmt, Reduced Rate, Income tested, TA payment, Full I&A Listing, Increase pension, Taxable

T-ADVICE-RETURN-ADDRESS

0

Commonwealth Department of

Veterans' Affairs

STATE OFFICE

Contact: T-CONTACT-OFFICER

Telephone: T-CONTACT-TELEPHONE

AMP Place

10 Eagle Street

Brisbane  Qld  4000

Postal Address:

GPO Box 651

Brisbane Qld 4001

Telephone:

Metropolitan Residents: (02) 3223 8333

Country Residents: 1800 113304

Interstate Residents: 1800 777634

Facsimile: (07) 3223 8585

T - ADVICE-PRINT-DATE

YOUR FILE NUMBER IS T-FILE-NUMBER

T-ADVICE-SALUTATION

I am writing to you about your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP payment from Veterans' Affairs.

Cost of living changes to the Income and Assets Tests

Recent increases in the cost of living have been applied to the following income and assets limits for T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP:

  • Income Free Area - this is the amount of income you can have before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable;

  • Assets Value Limit - this is the amount of assets you can have (other than your family home) before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable; and

  • Deeming Thresholds - these are the amounts of financial assets you can have before the higher deemed interest rates are applied to the assessment of T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP.

Your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP has been increased as a result of these changes.

Payment Details

The fortnightly rate of pension you will receive from T-CLNT-EFFECTIVE-DATE is shown below.

PAYBOX INSERTED HERE

Group Certificates

As it is the end of the 1998/99 financial year Group Certificates are being issued.  You will need this information if you are required to lodge a tax return.  If no tax deductions have been made from your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP for the 1998/99 financial year, your original Group Certificate has been included with this letter.  If tax deductions have been made on your behalf, the Group Certificate will be mailed separately.  You should contact your local Taxation Office if you have any questions about taxation.

Medicare Levy Exemption

If you have been eligible for full treatment at departmental expense during the past financial year, you do not have to pay the Medicare Levy for that period.  The period for which you have been exempt from the levy appears on your Group Certificate.

Financial Obligations

You do not have to tell us of changes to your income and assets unless your income from all sources increases above T-TOTAL-INCOME-PLUS-2 per fortnight or your assets, apart from your home, exceed T-PRESCR-ASSET-AMT.  Income includes deemed income from your financial assets and income from other sources.

New Gifting Rules

From 1 July 1999, you now need to tell us within 14 days if you give away $5,000 or more over the course of a financial year.  These new rules will apply immediately for age and wife pensioners, but if you are a service pensioner or income support supplement recipient and you give away more than $5,000 in the 1999-2000 financial year your pension may be re-assessed early in July 2000.

Telephone Allowance

Your quarterly telephone allowance will be paid on T-DATE-OF-PAYMENT, together with your fortnightly rate of pension.  The current telephone allowance rates are:

Singles Rate $15.60

Couples Rate (each)$  7.80

World War I Veterans$42.50

New Notification Rules

From 13 July 1999, the period you have to notify the Department of changes in your circumstances that may affect your income support pension is changing from 21 days to within 14 days.  You will also need to tell us the date any changes to your circumstances occur.

Changes You Have Already Told Us About

If you have told us recently about a change to your income and assets or your domestic situation, it may not have been processed before this letter was sent.  When that change has been finalised, we will send you another letter providing details of your new pension assessment.

If you have any questions about any of the above matters, please contact the Department at the address or telephone number shown at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

.si sigql3 depth 5 absolute

Gary Collins


ATTACHMENT to Example 1 letter

How we calculate your pension

As of 13 July 1999, the Department is calculating Service Pension or Income Support Supplement payments on a daily basis.  This means that fortnightly payments are made up of 14 days of entitlement of pension.

By paying pensions in this way, we can ensure that any changes in your circumstances you tell us about can be reflected in your payment earlier.  We can now apply changes to your payment from any given day in a fortnight, rather than the next payday. As a result of changes in your circumstances, some fortnightly payments may be calculated using different rates of pension for different days.  This can sometimes lead to fluctuations in your payments for one or two payments after a reassessment.

In order to make any changes to your pension promptly, it is important that you notify the Department of changes in your circumstances within the new 14 day notification period.  When you notify us of a change in your circumstances, we will also need you to tell us the date that this change occurred.  The 14 day notification period applies from 13 July 1999.  For those people living overseas, or receiving remote area allowance, the notification period is extended to 28 days.

The following table explains when we apply changes in circumstances to your pension payment.  This depends on when you notify us of a change in your circumstances.

If you notify of a change in circumstances within 14 days of the change occurring...

  • A REDUCTION in pension will take effect on the day immediately following the 14 day notification period.

  • An INCREASE in pension will take effect on the day you notify us of the change.

If you notify of a change in circumstances after the 14 day notification period has passed...

  • A REDUCTION in pension will take effect on the day the change occurred (this will be backdated).

  • An INCREASE in pension will take effect on the day you notify us of the change.

OTHER ATTACHMENTS

FULL INCOME AND ASSETS

GROUP CERTIFICATE

GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET


EXAMPLE 2: SP, Sgle Assmt, Max Rate, TA Payment, Taxable.

T-ADVICE-RETURN-ADDRESS

0

Commonwealth Department of

Veterans' Affairs

STATE OFFICE

Contact: T-CONTACT-OFFICER

Telephone: T-CONTACT-TELEPHONE

AMP Place

10 Eagle Street

Brisbane  Qld  4000

Postal Address:

GPO Box 651

Brisbane Qld 4001

Telephone:

Metropolitan Residents: (02) 3223 8333

Country Residents: 1800 113304

Interstate Residents: 1800 777634

Facsimile: (07) 3223 8585

T - ADVICE-PRINT-DATE

YOUR FILE NUMBER IS T-FILE-NUMBER

T-ADVICE-SALUTATION

I am writing to you about your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP payment from Veterans' Affairs.

Cost of living changes to the Income and Assets Tests

Recent increases in the cost of living have been applied to the following income and assets limits for T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP:

  • Income Free Area - this is the amount of income you can have before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable;

  • Assets Value Limit - this is the amount of assets you can have (other than your family home) before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable; and

  • Deeming Thresholds - these are the amounts of financial assets you can have before the higher deemed interest rates are applied to the assessment of T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP.

You currently receive the maximum rate of T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP and this amount remains unchanged.

Group Certificates

As it is the end of the 1998/99 financial year Group Certificates are being issued.  You will need this information if you are required to lodge a tax return.  If no tax deductions have been made from your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP for the 1998/99 financial year, your original Group Certificate has been included with this letter.  If tax deductions have been made on your behalf, the Group Certificate will be mailed separately.  You should contact your local Taxation Office if you have any questions about taxation.

Medicare Levy Exemption

If you have been eligible for full treatment at departmental expense during the past financial year, you do not have to pay the Medicare Levy for that period.  The period for which you have been exempt from the levy appears on your Group Certificate.

Financial Obligations

You do not have to tell us of changes to your income and assets unless your income from all sources increases above T-PRESCR-INC-AMT per fortnight or your assets, apart from your home, exceed T-PRESCR-ASSET-AMT.  Income includes deemed income from your financial assets and income from other sources.

New Gifting Rules

From 1 July 1999, you now need to tell us within 14 days if you give away $5,000 or more over the course of a financial year.  These new rules will apply immediately for age and wife pensioners, but if you are a service pensioner or income support supplement recipient and you give away more than $5,000 in the 1999-2000 financial year your pension may be re-assessed early in July 2000.


Telephone Allowance

Your quarterly telephone allowance will be paid on T-DATE-OF-PAYMENT, together with your fortnightly rate of pension.  The current telephone allowance rates are:

Singles Rate$15.60

Couples Rate (each)$  7.80

World War I Veterans$42.50

New Notification Rules

From 13 July 1999, the period you have to notify the Department of changes in your circumstances that may affect your income support pension is changing from 21 days to within 14 days.  You will also need to tell us the date any changes to your circumstances occur.

Changes You Have Already Told Us About

If you have told us recently about a change to your income and assets or your domestic situation, it may not have been processed before this letter was sent.  When that change has been finalised, we will send you another letter providing details of your new pension assessment.

If you have any questions about any of the above matters, please contact the Department at the address or telephone number shown at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

.si sigql3 depth 5 absolute

Gary Collins


ATTACHMENT to Example 2 letter

How we calculate your pension

As of 13 July 1999, the Department is calculating Service Pension or Income Support Supplement payments on a daily basis.  This means that fortnightly payments are made up of 14 days of entitlement of pension.

By paying pensions in this way, we can ensure that any changes in your circumstances you tell us about can be reflected in your payment earlier.  We can now apply changes to your payment from any given day in a fortnight, rather than the next payday. As a result of changes in your circumstances, some fortnightly payments may be calculated using different rates of pension for different days.  This can sometimes lead to fluctuations in your payments for one or two payments after a reassessment.

In order to make any changes to your pension promptly, it is important that you notify the Department of changes in your circumstances within the new 14 day notification period.  When you notify us of a change in your circumstances, we will also need you to tell us the date that this change occurred.  The 14 day notification period applies from 13 July 1999.  For those people living overseas, or receiving remote area allowance, the notification period is extended to 28 days.

The following table explains when we apply changes in circumstances to your pension payment.  This depends on when you notify us of a change in your circumstances.

If you notify of a change in circumstances within 14 days of the change occurring...

  • A REDUCTION in pension will take effect on the day immediately following the 14 day notification period.

  • An INCREASE in pension will take effect on the day you notify us of the change.

If you notify of a change in circumstances after the 14 day notification period has passed...

  • A REDUCTION in pension will take effect on the day the change occurred (this will be backdated).

  • An INCREASE in pension will take effect on the day you notify us of the change.

OTHER ATTACHMENTS

GROUP CERTIFICATE

GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET


Example 3: AP, Sgle Assmt, Reduced Rater, No TA, Full I&A Listing, Taxable.

T-ADVICE-RETURN-ADDRESS

0

Commonwealth Department of

Veterans' Affairs

STATE OFFICE

Contact: T-CONTACT-OFFICER

Telephone: T-CONTACT-TELEPHONE

AMP Place

10 Eagle Street

Brisbane  Qld  4000

Postal Address:

GPO Box 651

Brisbane Qld 4001

Telephone:

Metropolitan Residents: (02) 3223 8333

Country Residents: 1800 113304

Interstate Residents: 1800 777634

Facsimile: (07) 3223 8585

T - ADVICE-PRINT-DATE

YOUR FILE NUMBER IS T-FILE-NUMBER

T-ADVICE-SALUTATION

I am writing to you about your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP payment from Veterans' Affairs.

Cost of living changes to the Income and Assets Tests

Recent increases in the cost of living have been applied to the following income and assets limits for T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP:

  • Income Free Area - this is the amount of income you can have before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable;

  • Assets Value Limit - this is the amount of assets you can have (other than your family home) before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable; and

  • Deeming Thresholds - these are the amounts of financial assets you can have before the higher deemed interest rates are applied to the assessment of T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP.

Payment Details

The fortnightly rate of pension you will receive from T-CLNT-EFFECTIVE-DATE is shown below.

PAYMENT BOX INSERTED HERE

Group Certificates

As it is the end of the 1998/99 financial year Group Certificates are being issued.  You will need this information if you are required to lodge a tax return.  If no tax deductions have been made from your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP for the 1998/99 financial year, your original Group Certificate has been included with this letter.  If tax deductions have been made on your behalf, the Group Certificate will be mailed separately.  You should contact your local Taxation Office if you have any questions about taxation.

Medicare Levy Exemption

If you have been eligible for full treatment at departmental expense during the past financial year, you do not have to pay the Medicare Levy for that period.  The period for which you have been exempt from the levy appears on your Group Certificate.

New Gifting Rules

From 1 July 1999, you now need to tell us within 14 days if you give away $5,000 or more over the course of a financial year.  These new rules will apply immediately for age and wife pensioners, but if you are a service pensioner or income support supplement recipient and you give away more than $5,000 in the 1999-2000 financial year your pension may be re-assessed early in July 2000.

New Notification Rules

From 13 July 1999, the period you have to notify the Department of changes in your circumstances that may affect your income support pension is changing from 21 days to within 14 days.  You will also need to tell us the date any changes to your circumstances occur.

Changes You Have Already Told Us About

If you have told us recently about a change to your income and assets or your domestic situation, it may not have been processed before this letter was sent.  When that change has been finalised, we will send you another letter providing details of your new pension assessment.

If you have any questions about any of the above matters, please contact the Department at the address or telephone number shown at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

.si sigql3 depth 5 absolute

Gary Collins


ATTACHMENT to Example 3 letter

How we calculate your pension

As of 13 July 1999, the Department is calculating age pension payments on a daily basis.  This means that fortnightly payments are made up of 14 days of entitlement of pension.

By paying pensions in this way, we can ensure that any changes in your circumstances you tell us about can be reflected in your payment earlier.  We can now apply changes to your payment from any given day in a fortnight, rather than the next payday. As a result of changes in your circumstances, some fortnightly payments may be calculated using different rates of pension for different days.  This can sometimes lead to fluctuations in your payments for one or two payments after a reassessment.

In order to make any changes to your pension promptly, it is important that you notify the Department of changes in your circumstances within the new 14 day notification period.  When you notify us of a change in your circumstances, we will also need you to tell us the date that this change occurred.  The 14 day notification period applies from 13 July 1999.  For those people living overseas, the notification period is extended to 28 days.

OTHER ATTACHMENTS

FULL INCOME AND ASSETS

GROUP CERTIFICATE

GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET


Example 4: SP, Sgle Assmt, Reduced Rater, TA payment, Full I&A Listing, Non Taxable

T-ADVICE-RETURN-ADDRESS

0

Commonwealth Department of

Veterans' Affairs

STATE OFFICE

Contact: T-CONTACT-OFFICER

Telephone: T-CONTACT-TELEPHONE

AMP Place

10 Eagle Street

Brisbane  Qld  4000

Postal Address:

GPO Box 651

Brisbane Qld 4001

Telephone:

Metropolitan Residents: (02) 3223 8333

Country Residents: 1800 113304

Interstate Residents: 1800 777634

Facsimile: (07) 3223 8585

T - ADVICE-PRINT-DATE

YOUR FILE NUMBER IS T-FILE-NUMBER

T-ADVICE-SALUTATION

I am writing to you about your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP payment from Veterans' Affairs.

Cost of living changes to the Income and Assets Tests

Recent increases in the cost of living have been applied to the following income and assets limits for T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP:

  • Income Free Area - this is the amount of income you can have before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable;

  • Assets Value Limit - this is the amount of assets you can have (other than your family home) before your T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP is reduced below the maximum rate payable; and

  • Deeming Thresholds - these are the amounts of financial assets you can have before the higher deemed interest rates are applied to the assessment of T-PENSION-SP-ISS-AP.

Payment Details

The fortnightly rate of pension you will receive from T-CLNT-EFFECTIVE-DATE is shown below.

PAYMENT BOX INSERTED HERE

Medicare Levy Exemption Certificates

A Medicare Levy Exemption Certificate will be issued to you separately.

Financial Obligations

You do not have to tell us of changes to your income and assets unless your income from all sources increases above T-TOTAL-INCOME-PLUS-2 per fortnight or your assets, apart from your home, exceed T-PRESCR-ASSET-AMT.  Income includes deemed income from your financial assets and income from other sources.

New Gifting Rules

From 1 July 1999, you now need to tell us within 14 days if you give away $5,000 or more over the course of a financial year.  These new rules will apply immediately for age and wife pensioners, but if you are a service pensioner or income support supplement recipient and you give away more than $5,000 in the 1999-2000 financial year your pension may be re-assessed early in July 2000.

Telephone Allowance

Your quarterly telephone allowance will be paid on T-DATE-OF-PAYMENT, together with your fortnightly rate of pension.  The current telephone allowance rates are:

Singles Rate$15.60

Couples Rate (each)$  7.80

World War I Veterans$42.50

New Notification Rules

From 13 July 1999, the period you have to notify the Department of changes in your circumstances that may affect your income support pension is changing from 21 days to within 14 days.  You will also need to tell us the date any changes to your circumstances occur.

Changes You Have Already Told Us About

If you have told us recently about a change to your income and assets or your domestic situation, it may not have been processed before this letter was sent.  When that change has been finalised, we will send you another letter providing details of your new pension assessment.

If you have any questions about any of the above matters, please contact the Department at the address or telephone number shown at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

.si sigql3 depth 5 absolute

Gary Collins


ATTACHMENT to Example 4 letter

How we calculate your pension

As of 13 July 1999, the Department is calculating Service Pension or Income Support Supplement payments on a daily basis.  This means that fortnightly payments are made up of 14 days of entitlement of pension.

By paying pensions in this way, we can ensure that any changes in your circumstances you tell us about can be reflected in your payment earlier.  We can now apply changes to your payment from any given day in a fortnight, rather than the next payday. As a result of changes in your circumstances, some fortnightly payments may be calculated using different rates of pension for different days.  This can sometimes lead to fluctuations in your payments for one or two payments after a reassessment.

In order to make any changes to your pension promptly, it is important that you notify the Department of changes in your circumstances within the new 14 day notification period.  When you notify us of a change in your circumstances, we will also need you to tell us the date that this change occurred.  The 14 day notification period applies from 13 July 1999.  For those people living overseas, or receiving remote area allowance, the notification period is extended to 28 days.

The following table explains when we apply changes in circumstances to your pension payment.  This depends on when you notify us of a change in your circumstances.

If you notify of a change in circumstances within 14 days of the change occurring...

  • A REDUCTION in pension will take effect on the day immediately following the 14 day notification period.

  • An INCREASE in pension will take effect on the day you notify us of the change.

If you notify of a change in circumstances after the 14 day notification period has passed...

  • A REDUCTION in pension will take effect on the day the change occurred (this will be backdated).

  • An INCREASE in pension will take effect on the day you notify us of the change.

OTHER ATTACHEMENTS

FULL INCOME AND ASSETS

GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET


ATTACHMENT C

This is an example of the General Information Sheet (GIS) for Service Pensioners that will be used in the June mailout.  There is a separate GIS for both Income Support Supplement recipients and Age pensioners.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON SERVICE PENSION RATES AND LIMITS

(Information current as at T-ADVICE-PRINT-DATE )

MAXIMUM RATES OF SERVICE PENSION (excludes pharmaceutical allowance)

Singles Rate              $361.40 (per fortnight)

Couples Rate (each)              $301.60 (per fortnight)

INCOME LIMIT

Before Service Pension ReducesCut Off*

Singles Rate$100.00 (per fortnight)$  833.60 (per fortnight)

Couples Rate (each)$176.00 (per fortnight)$1393.20 (per fortnight)

These limits increase for each dependent child or student up to the age of T-CHILD-AGE, or if rent assistance is payable.

ASSETS LIMIT

Before Service Pension ReducesCut Off*

Home Owner

Singles Rate$125,750$248,250

Couples Rate (combined)$178,500$381,500

Non Home Owner

Singles Rate$215,750$338,250

Couples Rate (combined)$268,500$471,500

These limits increase for each dependent child or student up to the age of T-CHILD-AGE, or if rent assistance is payable.

*Income and assets cut off limits apply to all service pensioners except blinded service pensioners.

The following Gold Card cut off limits only apply to veterans of the Australian Defence Forces.

INCOME CUT OFF LIMIT FOR GOLD CARD

Singles Rate$250.00 (per fortnight)

Couples Rate (combined)$436.00 (per fortnight)

Add $52.40 per fortnight for each dependent child or student to the age of T-CHILD-AGE.

ASSETS CUT OFF LIMIT FOR GOLD CARD

Home Owner

Singles Rate$150,750

Couples Rate (combined)$221,500

Non Home Owner

Singles Rate$240,750

Couples Rate (combined)$311,500

* If you are a World War 2 veteran, over 70 years of age, with qualifying service, who served in the Australian Defence Forces, the Gold Card income and asset cut off limits do not apply to you.

DEEMING

Rather than calculating the actual income received from your financial assets, they are deemed to earn income at the following rates.

SinglesCouples

Low Rate3% interest up to the3% interest up to the

threshold of $30,400threshold of $50,600

High Rate4.5% interest for the4.5% interest for the

remaining balanceremaining balance

ILLNESS SEPARATED COUPLES

Couples separated due to ill health are paid at the single rate of service pension, but have their income and assets assessed as a couple.

RENT ASSISTANCE

You may be eligible for rent assistance if you pay rent to a non-government body or landlord.  The amount of rent assistance you receive depends on the amount of rent you pay and your family circumstances.  Rent assistance is paid at the rate of 75 cents in the dollar for every dollar you pay over the set rent limits.

Maximum Amount of Rent Assistance Payable (per fortnight)

No children1-2 children3 or more children

Singles Rate$75.80$88.60$100.00

Couples Rate (combined)$71.40$88.60$100.00

Rent Limits (per fortnight)

No children1-2 children3 or more children

Singles Rate$  72.60$  95.40$ 95.40

Couples Rate (combined)$118.00$141.00$141.00


ATTACHMENT D

Do you need to lodge a tax return?

CentrelinkTo find out if you need to lodge a tax return with the

logoAustralian Taxation Office, answer the following 5 questions.

here

1Was your own assessable income more than the following threshold, whichever applies to you?              YES

NO

  • $12 369 if you were single or widowed at any time during the year.
  • $12 054 if you had a spouse – married or de facto – and either of you lived in a nursing home or you had to live apart due to illness.
  • $10 514 if you lived with your spouse – married or de facto - for the full year.

Your assessable income includes the amount shown as 'taxable' on your group certificate plus other types of income such as bank interest, taxable unit trust distributions, dividends, most foreign pensions, net capital gains, eligible termination payments and part-time wages.

Any tax exempt payments have already been omitted from your 'taxable' amount.

DVA logo

2In 1998-99 did you have tax deducted from income you received or earned or did you pay provisional tax?              YES              NO

3Did you have any overseas income which was not on a pension?

YES              NO

  1.    Were you entitled to receive a distribution from a trust which carried on a business of primary production?

(Your trust fund can tell you this).YES              NO

ATO Logo

  1.    Did you carry on a business or have an interest in a partnership?

YES

NO

If you answered no to ALL of the questions, you do not need to lodge a tax return for 1998-99.  You do not need to advise the Australian Taxation Office or return this form.

If you answered yes to ANY question, you will need to lodge a tax return, which is available in TaxPack TaxPack is available free of charge from any newsagencies.

You may have received a group certificate.  This has been provided in case you need to lodge a tax return.

If you have any questions about this notice please call the Australia Taxation Office on 13 2863.


Attachment E

IMPORTANT

Starting on 13 July 1999,

you will have 14 days to tell DVA

about a change to your circumstances,

if it affects your service pension or

income support supplement.

Suggestion:  Keep this sheet with your copy of the You & Your Pension booklet, if you have one.  From 13 July 1999, all references in the booklet to 21 days should be read as 14 days.