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Section 204  of the MRCA  requires that the maximum weekly amount of SRDP that is payable or paid to a person be reduced by the sum of:
any weekly amounts that are being paid to the person under Part 2; and
if the person has chosen to convert all or part of one or more weekly amounts that were payable to the person under that Part to lump sums – those weekly amounts or those parts of those weekly amounts.
If the person is in receipt of Commonwealth Superannuation, an amount equal to 60% of the Commonwealth-funded portion of their weekly superannuation entitlement (lump sum and/or pension).
Note that any payment received for eligible young persons or for financial advice under Part 2 does not reduce the maximum amount of SRDP that could be payable to the person.
Section 14 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 provides that any SRDP is reduced by:
any Disability Compensation Payment, including above general rate pension, paid under the VEA; and
the weekly equivalent of any lump sum compensation paid under the DRCA.
Offsetting PI Compensation
SRDP is offset dollar for dollar by the weekly value of any permanent impairment (PI) compensation that has or is being paid to the former member. All DRCA PI compensation is paid as a lump sum and MRCA PI compensation may be paid as a weekly amount or, all or part of the weekly amount, can be converted to a lump sum. If the PI compensation has been paid as a lump sum the compensation must be converted to a weekly equivalent to offset from the SRDP. The method to convert a PI lump sum payment to a weekly amount is different under the MRCA and DRCA.
Offsetting MRCA PI Compensation
MRCA PI compensation is originally paid as a weekly amount. If all or part of this compensation has been converted to a lump sum, SRDP is offset dollar for dollar by all or part of the total amount of periodic payment the person would have been receiving had the lump sum not been chosen. To calculate the weekly amount of PI compensation the person would be receiving, regardless of whether all or part of this payment was converted to a lump sum, the person’s compensation factor is multiplied by the current maximum PI payment (this is a weekly amount). The compensation factor is found under the ‘Benefit History’ tab in CADET.
The amount to be reduced from SRDP for a MRCA PI payment increases on 1 July annually when the statutory increase in the maximum rate of PI payment occurs.
Example A: Offsetting PI compensation
Warrant Officer Peter Holmes is offered a weekly PI compensation payment of $144.65 in August 2007 (compensation factor of 0.54 multiplied by the maximum amount payable of in August 2007 of $267.88 per week). He chooses to convert 100% of this weekly payment to a lump sum. In July 2010 he receives an SRDP offer. His SRDP is offset by $157.72, the amount of weekly PI compensation he would have been paid had the lump sum not been chosen (compensation factor of 0.54 multiplied by maximum weekly amount payable in July 2010 of $292.08)
Converting Previous DRCA Lump Sums into Current Weekly Amounts
The Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2004 sets out the method for converting lump sum payments under the DRCA into weekly amounts:
The aged based number is provided by the Australian Government Actuary by reference to the age of the person on the day on which the lump sum amount under the DRCA was paid to the former member and the gender of the former member (refer to DVA Factsheet MRC29 for further information).
The current lump sum amount means the amount worked out using the following formula:
'Maximum amount' means the maximum amount payable under the DRCA.
'Previous lump sum' amount means the sum of any amounts previously paid under the DRCA.
'Relevant financial year' means the financial year in which an amount of compensation was paid to the former member under the DRCA.
Example B: Offsetting previous DRCA lump sum amount
Captain Mandy Clark received a lump sum of $38,871.57 under the DRCA in December 2006.
The current value of that lump sum (using the formula for conversion) would be:
$38,871.57 x $141,351.15 = $43,789.92
She was aged 30 at her next birthday (at the time the lump sum was paid). Therefore, her weekly amount under the DRCA would be:
1382.4 = $31.68
Example C: Offsetting VEA Disability Compensation Payment and previous lump sum payments under “both” the MRCA and DRCA.
Following on from the above example, if Captain Clark has 50 Impairment Points (which includes 20% WPI under the DRCA and 10% DCP under the VEA), her offsetting would be calculated as follows:
For the purpose of this example we are assuming her impairment(s) are related to peacetime service and she has a lifestyle rating of 4.
50 IPs and 4 lifestyle for peacetime service = 0.297 conversion factor.
$292.08 (current maximum weekly PI) x 0.297 = $86.75
$38,871.57 lump sum was paid under the DRCA in December 2006.
Determining the current value of that DRCA lump sum:
$38,871.57 x $141,351.15 = $43,789.92
This amount is then converted using the Actuary Table from the age next birthday (as at the payment date of the lump sum)
30 next birthday (female) = 1382.4
1382.4 = $31.68 per week DRCA equivalent
Captain Clark is also receiving a Disability Compensation Payment at 10% of the General Rate (for the same impairment) which is $19.00 per week.
The weekly MRCA PI payment is $86.75 - $31.68 - $19.00 = $36.07
Her total SRDP entitlement is therefore:
$534.65 (SRDP) - $36.07 (MRCA) - $31.68 (DRCA) - $19.00 (DCP) = $447.90 per week.
Offsetting Commonwealth Superannuation Payments
If the former member is receiving Commonwealth superannuation then the remaining SRDP is offset at 60 cents in the dollar (i.e. each dollar of Commonwealth-funded superannuation reduces the SRDP by 60 cents) for every dollar that is calculated.
- Establishing the Commonwealth-funded portion of a superannuation payment is determined by the fund and benefit type the person receives. For example, if the person is receiving a MSBS invalidity pension the whole amount is considered Commonwealth-funded, whereas for a DFRDB invalidity pension (A or B) only 80% of the original pension amount is considered commonwealth-funded.
- Incapacity Policy Manual Ch 9.4 provides guidance on establishing the employer (Commonwealth-funded) benefit, and detailed information on the various superannuation funds can be found at Ch 9.5 (DFRDB), Ch 9.6 (MSBS) and Ch 9.7 (ADF Super and ADF Cover).
Example D: Offsetting Commonwealth Superannuation Payments
Petty Officer Watson received a fortnightly pension from the MSBS scheme of $201.40 per week.
The offsetting amount due to the receipt of this payment would be 60% of that pension, being $120.84 weekly.
On 1 July 2010 the pension payment increases to $210.50 due to indexation factors. The offset amount therefore becomes $126.30 (ie 60% of $210.50).
The calculation of the offset amount should be reviewed in January and July each year when the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation adjust pension payments.
*Note: A written determination is not required under the MRCA where the rate of SRDP is adjusted in line with statutory increases to the Special Rate Disability Compensation Payment, or the amount of offset is changed. The indexation of MRCA SRDP and changes to offsetting amounts occur 'automatically' (by virtue of s198 of the VEA, and s204 of the MRCA respectively) and no decision is required under the Act. However, Departmental correspondence referring to the adjustments is required. Incapacity Procedures Manual Chapter 8 provides further information, and can be accessed here http://auth-clik.dvastaff.dva.gov.au/military-compensation-reference-library/special-rate-disability-pension/8-processing-srdp-payments-increases-and-adjustmentsThe amount of superannuation that is used in reducing the SRDP is not counted as income for income testing purposes for VEA or social security income support purposes.
The combined effects of these two offsetting provisions mean that the amount of SRDP payable to a former member may be less than their normal entitlement to incapacity payments. However, whereas incapacity payments are generally only payable until Age Pension age , SRDP is payable indefinitely. Additionally, the SRDP is exempt from income tax.
When SRDP is NOT offset by Commonwealth-funded Superannuation Payments
When a persons incapacity payments have not been offset by superannuation, their SRDP payment must not be offset either. There are two situations in which this will be the case:
- the person has received superannuation on the grounds of severe financial hardship/specified compassionate grounds and not because of retirement (Incapacity Policy Manual Chapter 9.1.5); or
- the person had multiple periods of service and the incapacity payments are not derived from the same period of service as the superannuation payment (Incapacity Policy Manual Chapter 9.11).
There is no need for the SRDP delegate to undertake any investigation other than to establish whether incapacity payments were offset by superannuation. The SRDP delegate must rely on the expertise of the incapacity delegate who made the decision.
Overpayment of lump sum incapacity payment where a person elects to receive SRDP
Section 204A requires that if a former member elects to receive SRDP after accepting a lump sum incapacity payment, all or part of the lump sum will be considered an overpayment.
The amount of overpayment is calculated through a formula established through legislative instrument.
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The overpayment amount is the original lump sum amount calculated under section 138 minus the lump sum amount calculated in the legislative instrument. The lump sum calculated in the legislative instrument represents the amount of incapacity payment paid for the period from the day the former member advised the Commission of his or her choice to accept the original lump sum to the day before the SRDP becomes payable.
The overpayment is a recoverable amount under section 415. The recovery of the overpayment may have implications for a former member's VEA or social security income support entitlements.