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B21/1993 CHANGES TO PAYMENT OF NEW ZEALAND WAR PENSION PAID TO NEW ZEALAND VETERANS RESIDENT IN AUSTRALIA
DATE OF ISSUE: 13 April 1993
CHANGES TO PAYMENT OF NEW ZEALAND WAR PENSION PAID TO NEW ZEALAND VETERANS RESIDENT IN AUSTRALIA
The purpose of this Departmental Instruction is to advise staff of impending changes to the payment of the New Zealand War Pension paid to New Zealand Veterans who are resident in Australia. These changes will take effect from DVA pay-day 24 June 1993.
.The last New Zealand War Pension payment made by DVA will be on pay-day 24 June 1993;
.Pharmaceutical Allowance will remain in payment;
.DVA remains responsible for NZ entitlement claims;
.DVA will continue to provide NZ veterans with medical treatment;
.Changes to PA, entitlement processing and medical treatment are being negotiated.
2.A reciprocal arrangement was originally signed by the Australian and New Zealand Governments in 1924. This arrangement was reviewed and a new arrangement signed in 1966. Under the agreement each country administers the payment of pensions and provides treatment for the other country's veterans and dependants who are resident in their country. Neither country charges for the administrative costs arising from the processing of pensions and benefits.
Clients Affected by the Change
3.There are approximately 831 New Zealand veterans resident in Australia in receipt of a pension which is paid by this Department on behalf of the New Zealand Government. There may be a small number of veterans eligible for treatment but who are not in receipt of a pension. New Zealand War Widows are not eligible for treatment. Some veterans are paid the Australian Service Pension and PA as well as their New Zealand Disability Pension.
4.The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) has recently undergone a name change and is now called the New Zealand Income Support Service (NZISS).
Proposed New Zealand Direct Credit System
5.From 7 July 1993 the New Zealand Income Support Service will begin to make payments to New Zealand veterans who reside in Australia by direct credit into their nominated bank account. DVA (Central Office) will provide NZISS with the postal address, telephone number and current pension payment account details of the New Zealand veterans in receipt of a New Zealand War Pension Payment.
6.NZISS have appointed Westpac as their Australian banker through which war pension payments will be made from New Zealand to New Zealand pensioners resident in Australia.
7.NZISS payments will be made each four weeks, three weeks in arrears and one week in advance. The changes in payment from what is effectively 2 weekly in advance to the new system can be expected to cause some pensioners dissatisfaction and financial difficulty. Pensioners should be advised that this is a NZISS matter and not within the control of DVA.
8.Composite cases ie., part paid by NZISS and part paid by DVA, are not affected by these changes and will continue to be paid by this Department. A claim for reimbursement of the New Zealand liability will continue to be made. The future of Composite cases is still under consideration. You will be advised when this detail is known.
9.There is to be no change at this time to the administrative procedures for claiming an entitlement to benefits and treatment by New Zealand Veterans. DVA will continue to process these cases in the normal manner. Further discussion and negotiation on this matter will take place shortly and some change may occur. You will be advised when this detail is known.
Arrangements for Medical Treatment
10.The arrangements for medical treatment will remain the same at this time, although they are expected to change. In the meantime STEC cards will be issued to newly eligible New Zealand veterans in the normal manner. Payment of Pharmaceutical Allowance will still be made. The Health Program (Management and Services) will provide further information on the treatment issues.
Advice to pensioners of the Proposed Changes
11.At Attachment A is a copy of the letter that has been sent to each New Zealand pensioner resident in Australia advising them of the proposed changes. Additionally this letter will inform them that we will be providing NZISS with personal information. The letter advises New Zealand pensioners that they do not have to do anything and that their pension will continue to be paid to the same account or address as it is now. The letter further advises New Zealand pensioners to direct any enquiries they may have to NZISS.
12.An information sheet is included with the letter. The information sheet will hopefully provide the answers to all questions the New Zealand pensioners may have and reduce the amount of enquiries generated.
13.The letters will be printed on State Branch Office letterhead and signed by the respective Deputy Commissioners and lodged progressively with Australia Post by Wednesday 14 April 1993.
Information on Effective Dates
14.Although the information sheet will provide much of the information New Zealand pensioners will need to know, it is the dates of effect of these changes and associated variations to pension payments that are expected to be of the most concern and those which will generate the majority of enquiries.
15.The following outline of the processing for the effective dates will assist with any enquiries you may receive.
24 June 1993
The last payment by DVA will be made on this pay-day. This payday effectively covers the period 24 June to 7 July 1993.
Wednesday 7 July 1993
This payment will be an arrears payment due to the increase in New Zealand War Pensions from 1 April 1993. It will not include a routine War Pension payment. (This payment could possibly cause some enquiries as the amount being paid on this date will not be equal to the amount of a regular payment.).
Tuesday 27 July 1993
This payment will be a 4 week payment minus one day and covers the period 8 July to 3 August 1993 and will be paid at the new general increase rate.
Tuesday 24 August 1993
This payment will be a 4 week payment covering the period 4 August to 31 August 1993. Payments will then continue at 4 weekly intervals.
System Issues - Automatic Cancellation
16.Two computer programs will be developed to automatically remove payments under PMF Payment Category Code 50 and PMF code 5600. One program is to generate transactions type 60's and the other type 10's.
17.Cases requiring type 60 transactions will be a limited number of war widows. War widows are not distinguishable within the system as they are coded with the same PMF category and PMF code as a veteran. These war widows are not in receipt of service pension or pharmaceutical allowance. There could be some veteran cases where PA is paid by DSS. In these cases the entire PMF record will be removed.
18.The remainder of the cases will require type 10 transactions as either service pension or pharmaceutical allowance will remain in payment. In many cases, pharmaceutical allowance will be the only payment that remains.
19.It is suggested that the following steps be undertaken prior to the computer runs to limit the number of manual actions required.
.Minimise the number of NZ cases in frozen status (PY or SB);
.Clear outstanding MS cases;
.Resolve any SP compare edits;
.Arrange an early cut-off for NZ cases to allow automatic authorities time to progress to Payments Administration.
20.Cases with either a suspension or a limitation segment will be excluded from the selection. These cases will be selected separately and reported to the Branch Office for manual action.
21.The computer processing calendar has not yet been finalised but processing to delete payments is expected on the weekend 5 June to meet the effective date of 24 June 1993.
Management of Overpayments
22.Where an overpayment exists for a New Zealand pensioner, the balance of the overpayment will be referred to NZISS for recovery. Any overpayment case should be referred to Central Office for on forwarding to New Zealand. The following data will be required:
Name Address — Payment Details (BSB - Account)
Current recovery amount. Amount of the outstanding overpayment, post 24 June.
23.Cases should be referred as soon as possible so that the recovery action can continue from New Zealand without further involvement by the pensioner. (There is only one NSW case showing on the PMF at 26 March)
24.The overpayment should then be finalised on PORS and no further action taken.
25.Should you require any further information regarding these matters please contact either Ric Moore (telephone (06) 289 4739) or Pat Webb (telephone (06) 289 6444).
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR