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10.6.4 Assessment and Review of Maintenance
Last amended: 18 June 2010
Assessment of maintenance
When a pensioner is receiving maintenance, the delegate of the Commission must determine:
- the current rate paid for the pensioner and each dependent child,
- the relationship between the pensioner receiving and the person paying maintenance,
- whether the payments are voluntary or ordered by the court,
- whether a valid and binding spousal maintenance agreement has been made, which provides for or varies the maintenance of one person by another, and
- whether the pensioner is receiving the benefit of any other payments made on their behalf.
Review action for maintenance variation or cessation
The following table shows the review action required when a person advises of a maintenance variation or cessation.
If a person advises...
Then a delegate must...
a variation in maintenance, and it is necessary to verify the payment
consult either the:
that their maintenance payments:
Section 5F(1) of the VEA defines dependent child as having the same meaning as in the Social Security Act 1991. For income support purposes, dependent child is defined as:
Child under 16 years
- the pensioner has legal responsibility either alone or jointly with another person for the day to day care, welfare and development of the young person AND the young person is in the pensioner's care, or
- the young person is not a dependent child of someone else AND the young person is wholly or substantially in the pensioner's care.
A child under 16 years cannot be considered a dependent child if:
- they are not a full-time student, and
- their weekly income from any source is more than the amount specified in section 5(3)(c) of the Social Security Act.
Child 16 years or older
A young person who has turned 16 years but is under 22 years can still be a dependent child of the pensioner if:
- they are wholly or substantially dependent on the pensioner, and
- their income in the financial year will not exceed the personal income limit, and
- they are receiving full-time education at a school, college or university.
A child over 16 years cannot be considered a dependent child if:
- they receive a social security pension or benefit such as youth allowance, or
- their personal income is more than the amount specified in section 5(4)(b) of the Social Security Act.
Income includes earning from casual, part-time or full-time earnings.
Note: the meaning of a dependent child for DVA income support pension purposes is not the same as the meaning for Family Tax Benefit purposes.