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B06/1993 BUDGET 1992 INITIATIVE: TO ISSUE DUPLICATE PENSIONER HEALTH BENEFIT (PHB) AND PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFIT CONCESSION (PBC) CARDS TO ELIGIBLE CUSTODIAL PARENTS
DATE OF ISSUE: 03 February 1993
BUDGET 1992 INITIATIVE: TO ISSUE DUPLICATE PENSIONER HEALTH BENEFIT (PHB) AND PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFIT CONCESSION (PBC) CARDS TO ELIGIBLE CUSTODIAL PARENTS
The purpose of this Departmental Instruction (DI) is to provide background information concerning the Budget 1992 initiative to issue duplicate PHB and PBC cards to eligible custodial parents from 1 January 1993, for use by dependent children during access visits with non-custodial parents (NCP).
2.Where a service pensioner has dependent children, the pensioner's PHB or PBC card contains details of those children. Those children are then eligible for any medical/pharmaceutical concessions available with that card.
3.Eligible service pensioners must fit one of the following categories:
.service pensioner receiving guardians allowance for dependent children, including single pensioners or members of illness separated or respite care couples;
.veteran or carer with partner, the children belong to the partner (not the veteran or carer) but are dependent on the veteran or carer;
.partnered veteran or carer whose dependent children are not his/her partner's children; or
.service pensioner whose payments are redirected to the partner because the pensioner is in gaol.
4.The eligible service pensioner may not necessarily be the custodial parent. Where the children are the product of a split marriage, the pensioner may either be the custodial parent or the partner of the custodial parent.
5.Children are regarded as dependants of the eligible service pensioner even while absent from the custodial pensioner/couple (eg while on access visits with the NCP) and any medical/pharmaceutical concessions for which the children are eligible, should continue to be available to them during these absences.
6.As part of the 1992 Budget, the Government announced that custodial parents/couples would be able to apply for a duplicate card (PHB or PBC) which they can then pass on to the NCP for the children's use during access visits. The issue of duplicate cards was a Department of Social Security (DSS) initiative.
7.The issuing of a duplicate card for NCPs to use during access visits is a practical way of assisting them with the unexpected costs of access and ensuring children are given the opportunity of receiving proper medical attention.
8.It is estimated that the number of DVA clients affected by this initiative will be under 300. DSS expects approximately 3,000 applications for a duplicate card.
9.This initiative has been publicised via a flyer to Ex-Service organisations and the Veterans' Affairs Advisory Service in each Branch Office. An article will also feature in VetAffairs as soon as possible in the New Year. It is not possible, due to system limitations, to identify and contact individuals who may wish to apply for the extra card.
10.Any eligible service pensioner (as defined in para 3 above) can request a duplicate card for his/her child/ren's use while on access visits with the NCP.
11.Applications may be made in writing. It is not intended to develop a special form for the purpose. Applications may also be accepted over the telephone, provided the person satisfies the Identity Check as per the procedures set out in DI no. B42/92.
12.No Applications From NCPs Should Be Accepted.
Issue of Duplicate Card
13.Due to the small number of applications expected, automatic issue is not a viable option. Duplicate cards will need to be manually issued at the counter from stocks of blank cards held by Branch offices.
14.Each duplicate card is to be clearly identified as such, to be used only for the eligible children. No personal details of the eligible service pensioner or NCP are to appear on the card. Only the name/s and date/s of birth of eligible children are to appear on the card. For accounting purposes, the card will also show the eligible service pensioner's file number and State indicator.
15.The card should be overtyped with the following text:
"This duplicate health benefits card is for use only by the child/ren whose name/s and date/s of birth appear below."
Recording of Duplicate Card Issue
16.As automatic recording of duplicate card issues is not possible, manual records will need to be kept. The file should be noted. Also a separate record of all cards issued, showing file number, name and date of issue, is to be kept. It is important that a distinction is made between PHB and PBC card issues. See also para 17 below.
Extension of Fringe Benefits to all Service Pensioners
17.It should be noted that from 1 April 1993 when the current fringe beneftis income and assets tests are abolished, pensioners holding PBC cards will become eligible for fringe benefts. Those pensioners will then be automatically issued with a PHB card. The records of any duplicate card issues to PBC card holders should be reviewed at the end of March 1993, so that a replacement PHB card can be issued manually for 1 April. Also, records of all NCP card issues will need to be reviewed at the end of 1993 , so that a replacement Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) can be manually issued, if required, when that initiative is implemented.
18.No mention of the duplicate cards will be made in the quarterly, fortnightly or daily advices. However, it is appropriate to send the card out to clients with a DVA compliments slip. There will be no advice provided by the Department to NCPs.
Loss of Eligibility
19.NCPs will lose the facility to use the duplicate card on a child's behalf if:
.the person on whom the child is dependent loses service pension eligibility or payability;
.the person on whom the child is dependent dies; or
.the child ceases to be a dependent child.
20.However given the low numbers involved and the fact that, at this stage, the cards are only valid for a 12 month period, it is not intended to pursue recovery of cards issued to NCPs following loss of eligibility. However, an appropriate paragraph could be included in the daily advices making eligible service pensioners aware that, if any of the 3 situations listed in para 19 above occurs, the NCP should be asked to return or destroy the duplicate card. In addition, it would be appropriate to ask for the return of the duplicate card if personal contact is made with a service pensioner who has lost eligibility,
21.Amendments to the GOSP will be completed as soon as possible.
22.The contact officer for this project is Liz Lambart on telephone (06)289 6405.
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR