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3.4.2 Agents, trustees and nominees

3.4.2.1Under the VEA the Commission may approve payment of pension to agents and trustees who act on behalf of the pensioner. A detailed description of agents and trustees may be obtained from P11/C3 of the CLIK Policy Library.

3.4.2.2Trustees have a legal right to receive and retain pension payments, but also must fulfil any obligations imposed on the pensioner under the VEA. While an agent may receive payments on the pensioner's behalf, they are under no obligation to notify of a change in circumstance. Obligations imposed under the VEA remain with the pensioner.

3.4.2.3With effect from 1 July 2003, changes were made to the social security law (SSL) in relation to payment and correspondence nominees. Income support staff need to be aware of the SSL changes when dealing with DVA age pensioners. The legislative changes are contained within the new Part 3A of the Social Security Administration Act 1999 (SSAA) which can be accessed through ComLaw.    

Under the new legislation nominee arrangements have been refined to:

  • correspondence nominees
  • payment nominees; or
  • a combination of both.

3.4.2.4Correspondence nominees are authorised by the pensioner to receive correspondence on their behalf and are nominated to assist the pensioner in their dealings with DVA, including fulfilling reporting obligations. If a nominee fails to report relevant changes to DVA then the recipient is taken to have failed in their obligations. For example, any debt incurred remains the responsibility of the pensioner.

3.4.2.5A payment nominee (who can be an individual or body corporate) receives a payment on the pensioner's behalf. A payment nominee may have access to minimal protected information for the purposes of administration of the payments. A payment nominee must keep a record detailing the particulars of the disposal of the payment/s. Penalty provisions may apply if the nominee fails to comply with a request to provide disposal records.

3.4.2.6VEA agents are not subject to the same penalty provisions as SSL payment nominees. Any obligation imposed under the VEA to notify the Department of an event or change of circumstance remains with the pensioner.

3.4.2.7Full guidelines relating to SSL nominees are contained at 8.5.3 of the Guide to Social Security Law.