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##### Calculation of rate of pension or payment for a member of a couple

The rate of service pension, veteran payment and income support supplement for a member of a couple, also called the partnered rate, is limited to the partnered items in the tables in the Rate Calculator in Schedule 6 in the VEA. This applies even where only one member is eligible for, or chooses to, receive the pension. The calculation of the pension or payment rate is based on the combined income of the couple and the partnered rate applies, except for:

##### Member of an illness separated or respite care couple

Under the Rate Calculator in Schedule 6 of the VEA, there are provisions which allow a couple to be assessed under more beneficial rules which enable a higher threshold and a higher base rate of pension or payment to be applied. Those specified circumstances are:

Note: When the provisions are applied, it is important to be aware that the relationship status remains member of a couple, even though a not a member of a couple rate is being paid. The combined income and assets and personal circumstances are taken into account when calculating the overall level of payment or benefit.

##### Rate for an illness separated couple

The rate of service pension, veteran payment or income support supplement for an illness separated couple is calculated using the member of an illness separated couple items in the tables in the Rate Calculator in Schedule 6 in the VEA. The rate of payment is calculated using a combination of the single and partnered rate calculation methods under the following principles:

• the rate of pension or payment is calculated using 50% of the combined income and assets of the couple.
• the maximum rate of payment for each member of the couple is calculated as if the person was single (item 1 in tables B, C and D of the rate calculator).
• the income free area is that for a member of a couple (items 2 or 3 of table E).
• the assets free area is that for a member of a couple (item 2 of table F).

Note: The member of an illness separated couple rate is equal to the not a member of a couple rate and the partnered income and assets tests apply.

##### Rate for a respite care couple

The rate of service pension, veteran payment or income support supplement for a respite care couple is calculated using the member of a respite care couple items in the tables in the Rate Calculator in Schedule 6 in the VEA.

Note: the member of an respite care couple rate is equal to the not a member of a couple rate and the partnered income test and partnered assets test apply.

##### Regarding a member of a couple as not a member of a couple

In limited and unusual circumstances, not including illness separated couples and respite care couples, there is a provision to allow a person who is a member of a couple to be regarded as not a member of a couple. When a written determination is made under section 5R(3) VEA a higher rate of income support payment is able to be paid to one member of the couple, where unusual circumstances exist and the other partner has no means of support. The combined financial and personal circumstances are considered by the delegate before making a decision under this provision. However, after the determination is made, the person is regarded as being not a member of a couple when calculating the rate of income support payment.

##### Calculation of rate of pension or payment after subsection 5R(3) determination

When calculating the rate of pension or payment after a determination under section 5R(3) VEA, the person must be treated as not a member of a couple for all purposes of the VEA. The pension or payment assessment is therefore based on the higher, not a member of a couple items in the tables in the Rate Calculator in Schedule 6 in the VEA. When calculating pension or payment entitlement where subsection 5R(3) applies, the income and assets of the person's partner are not included in the person's assessment. The lower not a member of a couple income and assets tests free area thresholds also apply in calculating the rate.

##### Obligations to notify of a change which a subsection 5R(3) determination is in force

No obligations in respect of section 54 VEA apply to the partner of a person paid under the provision of section 5R(3). However, the person who is being paid under this provision is obliged under section 54 to advise of changes in circumstances in respect of their unpaid partner, such as where their partner:

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Policy Library – Recipient Obligations

Section 12.1.1

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