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B16/1991 ISSUE OF AUTOMATIC CPI ADVICES TO RECIPIENTS OF SERVICE PENSION PHASE - 1
DATE OF ISSUE: 15 APRIL 1991
ISSUE OF AUTOMATIC CPI ADVICES TO RECIPIENTS OF SERVICE PENSION PHASE - 1
This instruction is to advise on the implementation of the first phase of a strategy to issue payment and obligation advice to all recipients of service pension whenever a Statutory Increase in pension rates or indexation adjustments to BIL/BAL occur.
2.Phase - 1 will coincide with the Statutory Increase which is to take place on 21 March 1991. Please refer to Departmental Instruction No B08/91 of 15 February 1991 which gives a full explanation of the Statutory Increase.
3.The majority of service pensioners receive little information concerning their service pension. To date, only those service pensioners who initiate a review or who are subject to a Departmentally initiated review have received the benefit of the Automatic payment advices system. The indexation advices project will address the anomaly.
4.The introduction of indexation advices marks a further progression in the overall strategy to extend and to improve communication with our clients.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
5.The aims and objectives of the Indexation advices project are as follows:
*To supply timely advice to clients of changes to their pensions and obligations.
*To assist clients to gain a better understanding of their obligations to notify the Department of changes to their circumstances which may affect the rate of service pension payable.
*To ensure that the Department has fulfilled it's legal requirement to advise pensioners of their full obligations.
*To maintain regular contact with clients and thereby reduce the numbers of "whereabouts unknown cases".
*To ensure that all service pensioners receive the benefit of the Automatic Payment Advices system.
*To provide clear, comprehensive advice to clients.
*To tailor the advice letters to provide personalised information relevant to the needs of individuals.
OVERALL IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY
6.The project will be implemented in 4 phases, commencing with the 21 March 1991 Statutory Increase in pension. By the time that Phase - 4 has been completed an annual cycle will be set in place.
7.The advice letters which will be issued at each phase will be tailored to the particular needs of the individual and will be dependant on the type of CPI advices that have been issued to a pensioner(s) in the past 12 months.
8.The main reason for implementing the project stage by stage is to minimise the impact of any ensuing enquiries that may occur at the Branch Office level.
IMPACT ON BRANCHES
9.Several steps have been taken to ensure that the number of inquiries resulting from the CPI advices is minimal. These steps include:
*Implementation in 4 stages
*The use of plain English and formatting designed to make the advices easier for pensioners to read and comprehend.
*Inclusion in the advice letter of a paragraph which discourages maximum rate service pensioners from contacting the Department unnecessarily.
*Advices to the majority of maximum rate service pensioners will not include income and asset details thus the scope for inconsequential inquiries will be further reduced.
10.A summary of the 4 phases of the Indexation advice strategy is provided at attachment A. In this Departmental Instruction only Phase - I will be dealt with in detail. Separate Instructions will be issued for the later phases of the project.
INDEXATION ADVICES PHASE - 1
11.The indexation advices for Phase 1 of the Indexation Advices project were issued on the 21 March 1991 pension increase. Advices were issued to all maximum rate service pensioners who have no dependant children and are not in receipt of blinded SP. Advices to other service pension groups will be progressively introduced in later phases of the project.
12.The advices were mailed out to the target population on the 15 March 1991. This was to sufficient time prior to the increase date for delivery of the advices.
13.The Phase -1 advice letter includes a breakdown of pensions and allowances paid, key obligation details and a general information sheet (see samples at attachment B).
14.The advices were issued on a household basis. This means that couples received one advice between them unless they are separated due to marital differences.
15.An exception report has been produced for each state however the only cases appearing on this report that will require manual action by Branches are those cases involving overseas residents. With the exception of the Tasmanian Branch this will only include a handful of cases. An advice letter will be produced automatically for cases which come into this category, however Branches will be required to complete enveloping and mailing of the advice letter.
16.Due to formatting difficulties advice letters will not be issued to special register cases in Phase 1 of this project.
17.The schedule of service pensioners who have been issued with an Advice in Phase - 1 will be forwarded to Branches.
18.In order to assess whether the attempt to minimise the impact of the exercise on Branches was a success and whether the information supplied was adequate, the Branches were provided with a "Statistical Information Sheet" to monitor the number of inquiries that the indexation project generated.
19.The information will be used in the design and implementation of Phase - 2 of the Indexation Advices project scheduled for July 1991.
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR BENEFITS
INDEXATION ADVICES STRATEGY
PHASE 1 — 21 MARCH 1991 WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BLINDED SERVICE PENSIONERS AND THOSE CASES WHICH REQUIRE MANUAL ACTION TO IMPLEMENT THE STATUTORY INCREASE, A LIMITED ADVICE TO BE ISSUED TO ALL MAXIMUM RATE SERVICE PENSIONERS WHO HAVE NO DEPENDANT CHILDREN. IE DETAILS OF PENSIONS RECEIVED, KEY OBLIGATIONS AND A GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET.
PHASE 2 — JULY 1991 A FULL ADVICE TO BE ISSUED TO ALL SERVICE PENSIONERS IN RECEIPT OF LESS THAN MAXIMUM RATE
PHASE 3 — SEPTEMBER 1991 ADVICES TO BE ISSUED TO ALL SERVICE PENSIONERS. THE ADVICES WILL BE TAILORED TO A CLIENTS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES, FOR EXAMPLE CLIENTS WHO RECEIVED A FULL ADVICE IN JULY WILL ONLY RECEIVE DETAILS OF NEW PENSION AMOUNTS AND KEY OBLIGATION INFORMATION.
PHASE 4 — MARCH 1991 A LIMITED ADVICE IS TO BE ISSUED TO ALL SERVICE PENSIONERS. THIS WILL INCLUDE DETAILS OF NEW PENSION AMOUNTS AND A KEY OBLIGATION.