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C12/1996 CARAVAN PARKS MARKETED AS RETIREMENT PARKS
DATE OF ISSUE: 5 FEBRUARY 1996
CARAVAN PARKS MARKETED AS RETIREMENT PARKS
The purpose of this Departmental Instruction (DI) is to clarify policy in relation to caravan parks marketed as retirement parks and veterans residing in these parks eligibility for rent assistance.
2.The NSW State Office recently advised of an issue concerning the sale of on site mobile homes by a caravan park to persons over age 55. On purchase of the mobile home weekly site fees are payable and one of the main selling points of the "homes" was that they would be able to receive government rent assistance. The issue raised issues in relation to the treatment of such parks in relation to the definition of retirement village and the eligibility of veterans who purchase such "homes" for rent assistance.
3.This matter was discussed with DSS who advise that they have ruled on this matter previously.
4.DSS advised that they have been aware of these arrangements for some time. Even though the caravan parks are generally marketed as retirement parks, the parks were not considered to be retirement villages.
5.DSS were satisfied that if these "homes" were situated on premises (ie a caravan park) where the pensioners were required to pay site fees as a condition of occupying the premises, the pensioners may be eligible for rent assistance. The pensioners would be assessed in accordance with the relevant DSS legislative provisions to determine their eligibility and rate of rent assistance.
6.The DSS approach was considered appropriate and a similar approach should be adopted by DVA on this matter.
7.Generally, caravan parks which offer on site caravans, mobile or transportable homes, or other vehicles or structures for sale to persons who are over age 55 do not satisfy the definition of "retirement village" under subsection 5M(3) of the VEA, even though they may be marketed as retirement parks.
8.Pensioners who own a caravan, mobile or transportable home, or some other vehicle or structure as their principal home and pay amounts for the use of a site for the principal home would not be ineligible property owners in accordance with subsection 5N(1) of the VEA.
9.Accordingly, if a pensioner is not, among other things, an ineligible property owner they may be eligible to receive rent assistance. Eligibility for rent assistance and rates of rent assistance are prescribed under section 41 Module C of the VEA and pensioners should be assessed on this basis when they apply for rent assistance. Consistent with current policy, the value of the caravan, mobile or transportable home, other vehicle or structure is not disregarded for the purposes of the assets test.
Amendments to the General Orders Service Pension (GOSP)
12.Amendments reiterating the above-mentioned policy will be included in the "Retirement Village" chapter of the GOSP at the next available release of that document.
13.Any further queries in respect of this matter should be directed to John Bruce on telephone 06-2896441, fax. 06-2894854, LAN C-C-PAA-5.