Social services budget bills propose major changes to welfare

Parliament house flag post

Social services budget bills propose major changes to welfare

Posted 22/08/2014 by Luke Buckmaster


The 2014-15 federal budget included proposals for major changes in the social services portfolio, including payments to the unemployed, aged, people with disability and families with children. With most of these measures being introduced through two large and complex pieces of social services legislation, there is likely to be some confusion about the changes being made and which changes are being introduced where. This FlagPost provides a brief outline of what is in each of the social services bills.

Most of the significant (and contentious) changes are introduced in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014.

This Bill includes proposals to:

  • change the indexation of pensions to Consumer Price Index (CPI) only, along with a number of other changes to income support indexation arrangements
  • gradually increase the qualifying age for Age Pension from 67 to 70 from 1 July 2025
  • introduce six-month waiting periods for new applicants for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) who are aged under 30, and only allow these payments to be paid for periods of six months for recipients in this age group
  • introduce new, more stringent participation requirements focused around Work for the Dole for those aged under 30 in receipt of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other)
  • change eligibility rules for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) so that those aged under 25 years can only receive the latter (which has lower payment rates and tighter eligibility rules)
  • remove eligibility for relocation scholarships from students who need to relocate within or between major cities to take up their studies
  • limit Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B) eligibility to families where the primary income earner makes $100,000 or less (down from $150,000), and where the youngest child is aged under six years
  • pause indexation, reduce supplementary payments and tighten eligibility for other family payments
  • include tax-free superannuation in the income test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)
  • lower the income thresholds used in the income test for all social security payments to assess deemed income from financial assets
  • limit the period for which Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients can travel overseas and remain eligible to 28 days in a 12 month period (with some exceptions for special circumstances)
  • remove the three month backdating from the date of claim for Veterans’ Disability Pension and
  • abolish the Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment .

Explanation and analysis of each of the measures introduced in this Bill can be found in the relevant Parliamentary Library Bills Digest.

Changes proposed by the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 include:

  • applying participation requirements to certain DSP recipients aged under 35 years who have had their eligibility reviewed against the current Impairment Tables
  • ceasing payment of the Seniors Supplement for holders of the CSHC or the Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
  • renaming the Clean Energy Supplement as the Energy Supplement and permanently ceasing its indexation
  • indexing Parenting Payment (Single) to the CPI only by removing benchmarking to Male Total Average Weekly Earnings)
  • applying the Ordinary Waiting Period of seven days, currently applying to Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, to recipients of Widow Allowance, Parenting Payment and Youth Allowance (Other)
  • limiting the six-week overseas portability period for student payments and
  • maintaining Family Tax Benefit (FTB) standard payment rates for two years from 1 July 2014.

For further details and analysis, see the Parliamentary Library Bills Digest.

Many of these measures are opposed by the Opposition, minor parties and independents. Of these, the Opposition has declared that it opposes:

  • changing the indexation method for pensions
  • lowering the deemed income thresholds
  • abolishing the Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment
  • changing the age eligibility age requirements for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other)
  • introducing six-month waiting periods for new applicants for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) aged under 30
  • reducing FTB end-of-year supplements
  • restricting eligibility for FTB-B to those whose youngest child is aged under six
  • raising the Age Pension eligibility age to 70  
  • removing the three-month backdating provisions for the veterans’ Disability Pension
  • abolishing Seniors Supplement for holders of the CSHC or Gold Card and
  • freezing FTB payment rates.

The Opposition has said that it will support a number of measures, including reducing the FTB-B primary earner income limit from $150,000 to $100,000; limiting DSP portability; removing eligibility for the relocation scholarship for students relocating within and between major cities; and ceasing indexation of the Clean Energy Supplement.

Both Bills have passed the House but are yet to be debated in the Senate. They have been jointly referred to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 4 September 2014.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.

Add your comment

[Click to expand]

We welcome your comments, or additional information which is relevant to a post. These can be added by clicking on the ‘Add your comment’ option above. Please note that the Parliamentary Library will moderate comments, and reserves the right not to publish comments that are inconsistent with the objectives of FlagPost. This includes spam, profanity and personal abuse, as well as comments that are factually incorrect or politically partisan. We will close comments after three months.




Captcha
Generate a new image
Type characters from the image:

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

Refugees asylum climate change immigration Australian foreign policy parliament social security welfare policy elections welfare reform school education health financing higher education Australian Defence Force emissions trading indigenous Australians women private health insurance people trafficking illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 United Nations Employment Asia disability income management Middle East Medicare Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics sport health forced labour federal budget Afghanistan Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism politics dental health United States aid child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency steroids World Anti-Doping Agency National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Criminal Law Fair Work Act Australian Public Service governance labour force people smuggling transport debt taxation international relations constitution New Zealand food WADA Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme pensions public service reform children's health Aviation foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senate Senators and Members ALP ASADA Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations accountability Papua New Guinea youth paid parental leave same sex relationships corruption coal seam gas customs planning federal election 2013 Australian Electoral Commission doping OECD crime health risks International Women's Day Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy welfare ASIO intelligence community terrorist groups Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining High Court military history electoral reform employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union Federal Court family assistance skilled migration banking United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs UK Parliament welfare systems Indonesia social media children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy science social inclusion human rights paternalism Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse terrorism World Trade Organization Australia public health China housing affordability bulk billing political parties water productivity health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions domestic violence export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery firearms question time speaker superannuation public housing election results by-election expertise public policy climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership voting Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats research and development new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare ADRV Census Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics violence against women language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage Population rural and regional mental health alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran transparency ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution early childhood education Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly national security smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid disability employment Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct integrity retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers financial sector Canada Somalia United Kingdom GDP Tasmania world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea fuel rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition standards conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office NATO work-life balance

Show all
Show less