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C17/2008 Increase in Eligible Age for Partner Service Pension


DATE OF ISSUE:  30 June 2008

Increase in Eligible Age for Partner Service Pension


The purpose of this Departmental Instruction is to inform staff of amendments to the Veterans' Entitlements Act1986 (VEA) regarding changes to the eligible age for partner service pension (PSP) and the associated changes to the Consolidated Library of Information and Knowledge (CLIK) and information products.


As part of the 2008–09 Budget, the Government agreed that the eligible age for PSP should be increased from 50 years of age to the qualifying age, which is equivalent to veteran pension age, 60 for males and between 58.5 and 60 for females, subject to age equalisation..

The implementation date for this initiative is 1 July 2008.

Legislative changes

Legislative change for these measures is included in the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008.

Royal assent was received for this Act on 30 June 2008.

Qualifying age

Qualifying age is defined in subsection 5Q(1) of the VEA as meaning the pension age for a veteran. Veteran pension age also applies if that person is not a veteran.  The ages described in section 5QA of the VEA as “pension age for veterans” will also apply for qualifying age.

This means for PSP claims lodged from 1 July 2008, the qualifying age for:

  • males will increase from 50 to 60 years
  • females will increase from 50 to 58.5 years of age.

Note: The qualifying age for females will gradually increase to 60 by 2014 in line with the female age equalisation regime.

Exemptions to qualifying age

Qualifying age will apply to all PSP claims, except when the claimant:

  • is the partner of a special rate (T&PI) veteran or is the partner of a person receiving or eligible to receive Special Rate Disability Pension under the MRCA; or
  • has a dependent child/ren at the time of the PSP claim.

Receipt of claim by DVA

Claims for PSP lodged with DVA, or an agency of DVA, up to and including 30 June 2008 are to be assessed using the previous age requirement of 50 years.

Any PSP claim lodged with DVA, or an agency of DVA, on or after 1 July 2008 is to be assessed under the new qualifying age requirement.

Informal claims lodged on or before 30 June 2008

When an informal claim for PSP has been lodged on or before 30 June 2008, and is followed by a formal claim within the allowable 3 months, the claim is to be assessed under the pre–1 July 2008 age qualification rules. If the proper claim is lodged outside the allowable 3 months, the person must meet the post 1 July 2008 age qualification rules.

When an informal claim for PSP has been lodged on or before 30 June 2008 by a person who will not be eligible under the new qualifying age requirement after 1 July 2008, and a formal claim has not yet been lodged, it is suggested that a phone call be made to the claimant before the allowable 3 months expires.  The claimant should be advised that if a formal claim is not received within the allowable 3 months from the date of the informal claim, any subsequent claim for PSP will be assessed using the new qualifying age requirement.

Partners of veterans in receipt of an above general rate disability pension

Following representations, the Minister is considering the impact of the change to the age requirement on partners of above general rate (AGR) disability pensioners.

AGR disability pensioners are:

  • in receipt of the following rates of disability pension under the VEA:
  • extreme disablement adjustment under subsection 22(4);
  • intermediate rate under section 23;
  • temporary special rate under section 25;
  • disability pension increased by an amount specified in table items 1-6 of the table in subsection 27(1); or
  • persons to whom subsection 80(1) of MRCA applies.

Any claim for PSP received from the partner of a veteran in receipt of AGR disability pension should not be rejected on the basis of age.  The claims should be held, and you will be advised shortly what action needs to be taken.

Please email details of any partner service pension claims that are being held for this reason to Christine Johnston of Income Support Policy Implementation section.

Note: Partners of special rate disability pensioners will retain exemption from the age requirement.

Impact of change on existing PSP recipients

Partners who were in receipt of PSP prior to 1 July 2008 will not lose eligibility to their pension as a result of the change to qualifying age.

However, if the PSP is later cancelled due to loss of eligibility any subsequent claim for partner service pension will need to satisfy the eligibility criteria current at the time of the new claim.

Note:  If only payability is lost, the existing eligibility is retained.

Widow/ widower claimants

A widow/widower of a veteran with qualifying service who was not receiving a pension at the time of the veteran's death must be qualified for social security age pension, which means he/she must be age pension age rather than qualifying age.

This age requirement does not apply if the widow/widower was in receipt of partner service pension or a social security pension immediately before the veteran's death. It also does not apply if there was a partner service pension claim pending immediately before the veteran's death that is later determined as able to be granted. In these cases qualifying age applies.

Policy updates – CLIK

Policy in relation to changes to the qualifying age for partner service pension has been updated in the following areas of CLIK Policy Library:

P3/C1/S4 – Partner Service Pension

P3/C3/S2 – Payment of Service Pension and Income Support Supplement

P3/C4 – Age

P9/C4/S2 – Effect of children on eligibility for income support pensions, benefits and allowances

Glossary terms

  • qualifying age
  • pension age

Fact sheets and other information products

The fact sheets listed below have been updated to reflect the changes to the eligibility for partner service pension:

IS01 – Service Pension Overview

IS02 – How to Claim Service Pension

IS45 – Partner Service Pension

The online version of You & Your Pension has been updated.  These changes will be incorporated in the next annual bulk print.


The following form booklet has been updated:

D503/4B – About Claiming Service Pension.

Standard Letters

Changes have been made to the following IS Standard Letters under the New Claim tab:

  • PSP reject–dp pending
  • PSP reject–no QS
  • PSP reject–not pensioner
  • PSP reject–not veteran
  • PSP reject–under age
  • PSP delay SRDP pending
  • PSP delay TPI pending

System changes – PIPS warning message

Changes will be made to existing PIPS messages relating to PSP eligibility to improve the clarity of the wording and the display of the messages.  New messages will be better tailored to the personal circumstances of the partner.

Please note:  until the messages are updated, PIPS will continue to display messages relevant to the 50 year age requirement.  No message will be produced to warn users that PSP claimants who are over 50 but under qualifying age may not be eligible until new messages are promoted.  IS Claims Officers must be careful to ensure that qualifying age requirements are applied to Claims lodged on or after 1 July 2008.


Any queries should be directed to Chris Johnston, Income Support Policy Implementation, x14773.