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Table 8 Rent Assistance

Type

What to Verify

What to Request

Who to Contact for Information

Pensioner ceases paying rent

  1. Date payment ceased.
  2. Reason payment ceased.
  3. Current living arrangements (i.e. boarder, family support, home owner).

A statement from the pensioner, and an income and assets form.

Verification of date rent ceased being paid.

The landlord or real estate agent will be able to provide the date the rent ceased being paid, and if necessary a forwarding address.

Pensioner pays rent at a lower rate

  1. Date rent reduced.
  2. New amount of rent payable.
  3. Reason.

A statement regarding the new rental amount.

Copies of rent receipts.

If moved, an income/assets review may be in order.

A copy of the new lease agreement or rent receipts can be obtained from the pensioner, landlord or real estate agent.

Pensioner commences paying rent to a Government Authority

  1. Date rent commenced.

Statement of new rental amount and verification of start date.

The Government Authority should be contacted and will be able to provide all details.

Pensioner is granted disability pension* (DP) or has their DP increased

  1. Date of grant of DP.
  2. Rate(s) of DP payable.

M File or access VIEW/CMS.

The M file will detail date of grant/increase which will affect rate of RA paid.

Pensioner leaves Australia

  1. Date pensioner left Australia.
  2. Expected date of return.
  3. Has the pensioner left Australia temporarily or otherwise?

Statement from pensioner(s).

Verification in the form of travel documents, passport etc.

If pensioner is overseas, then ask a relative to verify dates, or contact the Department of Immigration.

Notes on table 8

Refer to DI C25/2000 Simplified International Payments for changes to the eligibility for certain allowances while a pensioner is overseas. The new rules apply to all pensioners who leave Australia from 20 September 2000 onwards. Those who depart from Australia prior to 20 September 2000 are assessed under the old rules regardless of when DVA was notified.

The guidelines for recovering Rent Assistance where notification was received through a change of address are contained in DI C10/99. This DI amends DI B24/93 which stated that an overpayment of Rent Assistance could not be raised where a pensioner(s) had advised of a change of address within the specified time, but DVA failed to adequately follow up the details of the change. This broad directive that no overpayment is to be raised where a change of address has been provided, regardless of the circumstances, is no longer appropriate.

Instead, when determining whether a recipient of rent assistance has complied with notification requirements the delegate must:

  • judge each case individually, based on the particular circumstances of the case; and
  • take into consideration any failure on the part of the Department to take appropriate action.

For example, if a recipient of RA notifies of a change of address, and the Department fails to ask the relevant questions, or undertakes follow-up action, then some responsibility rests with the Department. The extent of that responsibility and its impact on the consequent overpayment would depend on a number of other factors and would differ in each case.

Rent Assistance may be paid to granny flat dwellers who pay an entry contribution less than their 'extra allowable limit' to establish a right to accommodation and who pay rent as defined in the VEA. From 22 August 1990 the establishment of a granny flat interest in a private residence is to be treated in the same way as an entry contribution to a retirement village. DI B13/92 refers. The information on eligibility for rent assistance if an entry contribution to a retirement village has been made is contained in DI B44/88.

Note:Under SCH6-C13 VEA certain payments are considered to be disability pension for the purposes of calculating Rent Assistance. These payments are:

  • special rate of pension
  • intermediate rate of pension
  • general rate of pension and extreme disablement adjustment
  • temporary incapacity allowance
  • a payment made in respect of incapacity or death resulting from employment in connection with a warlike operation in which the Crown was engaged, e.g.: British disability pension.

Note: Pharmaceutical allowance and Telephone allowance are also cancelled if a pensioner leaves Australia permanently or has been absent from Australia for more than 26 weeks.