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Partner Service Pension

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Section 38 (eligibility)
Section
38A to 38N (payability, claims, rate)
Schedule 6 (calculation of rates)

 

Stated Current Purpose/Intent

To provide income support for a veteran's partner.

 

Current Eligibility Criteria

A person is eligible for a partner service pension if the person is:

  • a member of couple, whose partner is a veteran receiving age or invalidity service pension or who would be receiving such a pension if not for the operation of one or more of the disqualifying provisions; or
  • a member of a couple whose partner is a veteran with qualifying service, and who is qualified for an age pension from Department of Human Services; or
  • a non-illness separated spouse of a veteran who is receiving age or invalidity service pension or would be receiving such a pension if not for the operation of one or more of the disqualifying provisions, where the spouse is qualified for an age pension from Department of Human Services; or
  • a non-illness separated spouse of a veteran who is receiving age or invalidity service pension or would be receiving such a pension if not for the operation of one or more of the disqualifying provisions, where special domestic circumstances apply; or
  • a non-illness separated spouse of a veteran who is receiving age or invalidity service pension or would be receiving such a pension if not for the operation of one or more of the disqualifying provisions, with eligibility limited to 12 months from the date of separation; or
  • the widow or widower of a veteran who was immediately before his or her death, receiving age or invalidity service pension or would have been receiving such a pension if not for the operation of one or more of the disqualifying provisions; and the widow or widower was receiving partner service pension or a Department of Human Services pension immediately before the veteran's death; or
  • a widow or widower of a veteran who had made a claim for partner service pension which had not been determined before the veteran died, and the veteran had made a claim for age or invalidity service pension which had not been determined before he or she died, but which the Commission determines would have been granted; or
  • the widow or widower of a veteran with qualifying service, who is qualified to receive an age pension from Department of Human Services;

and

  • is of qualifying age or older; or
  • has dependent children; or
  • is the partner of a veteran who:
    • is receiving the special rate of disability pension (T&PI); or
    • is receiving, or is eligible to receive, a special rate disability pension safety net payment under the MRCA.

 

Notes

  1. Qualifying age is equivalent to the pension age for veterans, which is 60 years.

 

Date of Introduction

In 1936 (providing the veteran was permanently incapacitated).

 

Original Purpose/Intent

To provide financial assistance to a veteran's partner or spouse.

 

Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction

Chronology of changes including those relating to means testing.

1943

Wife's pension eligibility extended to spouse of a permanently incapacitated veteran.

1965

Service pension granted to the wife of an ex-serviceman receiving a service pension on the ground of age.

Wife's service pension allowed to be continued after the death of a veteran.

1972

Wife's service pension rate made equivalent to a veteran's married rate.

Married rate provision introduced when veteran's wife paid by the Department of Social Security.

1983

Carer pension for spouses introduced.

1991

Benefits extended to partners of female veterans.

Pension instalments of equal rate paid to each member of a couple.

1995

Introduction of requirement for certain partner service pensioners to test their eligibility for an overseas pension.

Widows, widowers and non-illness separated spouses, who are partner service pensioners became eligible for payment at the single rate.

Minimum age set at 50 years for partner service pension for non-veterans, unless they have dependent children or they are the partners of veterans receiving the special (T&PI) rate of disability pension.

Non-veterans, including widows and widowers, became eligible for partner service pension if they satisfied certain criteria.

Existing partner service pensioners were allowed to retain eligibility even if the veteran ceased to be paid service pension.

1996

Lump sum advance of service pension was introduced.

1997

It was legislated that the single rate of service pension be maintained at least at 25% of MTAWE.  The relativity between single and married rates of pensions was also retained.

1998

The first MTAWE increase in the single rate of service pension occurred on 26 March 1998.

2000

1 July 2000 taper rate on service pension was reduced from 50 cents in the dollar for income over the free area to 40 cents in the dollar.

2004

Service pension was extended to members, former members and declared members under the MRCA.

2007

20 September 2007, the assets test taper rate reduced to 37.5 cents reduction for each $250 of assets over the free areas.

2008

For claims lodged from 1 July 2008, the minimum age eligibility was increased from 50 years to qualifying age.  The pre-existing exemptions from the age requirement were unchanged.

2009

1 July 2009 married but separated partners of veterans lose eligibility for PSP 12 months from the date of separation, unless they are over age pension age or special domestic circumstances apply. The measure applies to any couple whose marital relationship has broken down, but not to those couples who have a continuing relationship but live separately for health reasons.  No change was made to eligibility for de facto couples – de facto couples continue to lose eligibility for partner service pension from the date of separation.

20 September 2009, the first of the changes introduced following the Harmer Review into the adequacy and sustainability of the pension system. Changes include:

  • the tightening of the income test taper from 40 cents in each dollar of income to 50 cents.
  • Transitional arrangements are in place for those who would otherwise be worse off.
  • Single service pension increased to 66.33% of the combined couples rate.
  • GST Supplement, Pharmaceutical Allowance, Utilities allowance and telephone allowance rolled into a single pension supplement and paid fortnightly with pension.
2010

20 March 2010, combined couples rate of service pension indexed and compared to 41.76% of MTAWE. Single service pension rate set at 66.33% of combined couples rate.

2012

Clean energy advance payable for the period 1 July 2012 to 19 March 2013 for eligible recipients.

2013

Clean energy supplement commenced 20 March 2013 for eligible recipients.

2014

Clean energy supplement replaced by energy supplement commenced 20 September 2014.

2015 Income test change: from 1 January 2015, income deeming applies to asset-tested income streams (long term) that are account‑based.  Products held on, and those in receipt of income support since, 31 December 2014 are grandfathered from the change.