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4.3.2 Advice letters
18.104.22.168 — The frequency with which the computer generated advice letters are sent are:
- Daily Advices
These are automatically generated and forwarded to pensioners after a pension assessment has been completed in PIPS. These assessments will usually be the result of the pensioner, or a third party, advising of a change of circumstances (PIR), or following a departmentally initiated action (DIA). The guidelines limit the sending of full obligations and/or income and asset details following a PIR or a departmental initiated action. It is recognised that the guidelines for the provision of income/asset details and obligation information may not always be appropriate. Staff have the flexibility to choose other advice options in order to respond to individual pensioner circumstances.
- June Statutory Increase Advices
In June each year the Department undertakes a bulk exercise to issue advice letters to all service pension, age pension and income support supplement recipients. The letters contain PAYG (Pay As You Go) Payment Summaries and other information, such as news about budget initiatives. In line with Repatriation Commission policy, full obligations are provided once every 2 years (June 2004) for all less than maximum rate pensioners and every 5 years for maximum rate pensioners (June 2008). During years when full obligations are not sent, obligations are suppressed and reference is made to previous obligations.
- A full income and assets statement is provided for all less-than-maximum-rate pensioners who are either assets tested or income tested where the total of their assets is within $10,000 of their prescribed assets limit. A full income and assets statement provides a complete income and assets list detailing all income and assets in the assessment.
- A tailored income and assets statement is provided for all less-than-maximum rate pensioners who are income tested where the total of their assets is more than $10,000 below their prescribed assets limit. A tailored income and assets statement excludes all miscellaneous assets such as vehicles that may not effect the rate of pension.
- Full income and assets statements should contain a paragraph requiring a pensioner to notify the Department within 14 days (28 days if living overseas) if any details contained within their statement are incorrect or have been omitted.
Note:Where obligations are issued, the Secretary's delegation is required. The signature block of advice letters should read “delegate of the Secretary and Repatriation Commission”.
- March and September Quarterly Advices In March, and September each year the Department varies certain pension and allowance rates and thresholds in line with movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and/or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). The Department does not send advice letters to all pensioners whose pensions are adjusted because of the CPI or MTAWE.
- Letters are only sent to those pensioners on less than the maximum rate of income support pension who have managed investments (MIs) and/or shares (SHs) in their assessment. Obligations are suppressed for all letters produced. Reference is made to previous obligations issued to clients and in the case of service pension and income support supplement recipients, reference will be made to obligations provided in the You and Your Pension (Y&YP) booklet. Y&YP does not constitute formal legal notification of obligations to DVA age pensioners. The financial obligations paragraph (including the Prescribed Rates) will be present in the advice for all clients (excluding Blinded pensioners and clients reduced to nil rate of income support pension). The signature block of advice letters should read “delegate of the Secretary and Repatriation Commission”.
- Income and assets statements sent to less than maximum rate pensioners in the March and September mailout contain information on pensioner's MIs and SHs only. This information is only provided if there is a variation in pension or a reduction to nil. No advice is sent if there is a continuation of the current rate of pension.
- In March and September DVA does not write to any maximum rate pensioners, and does not write to those less than maximum rate pensioners without managed investments or shares in their pension assessment. Information on pension rate increases is contained in the relevant edition of VetAffairs.
- Periodic Advices automatic fortnightly and periodic processing runs update aspects of pensioners' financial circumstances including:
- Commonwealth and State superannuation increases
- Managed investment and share values
- Income streams – indexation and asset depletion
- Exchange rate variations for overseas pensions; and
- Indexation of some UK pensions.