Supplementary Allowance/Assistance 1970 to 1985, Rent Assistance from 1985

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Milestones

Details

1970
September

Long-term sickness beneficiaries, paying rent and entirely or substantially dependent on their benefit, eligible to receive Supplementary Allowance of up to $2 per week.

1974
November

Amount of Supplementary Allowance restricted to amount of rent actually paid.

1982
February

Maximum rate of Supplementary Allowance either $8 per week or one half of the amount by which rent was more than $10 per week, whichever was the lower. Tenants of government housing authorities now ineligible.

1982
December

Supplementary Allowance eligibility extended to those who had transferred from Unemployment Benefit (SB) to Sickness Benefit (SB) or who, but for their illness or incapacity, would have qualified for UB.

1985
September

Supplementary Assistance renamed Rent Assistance (RA).

1986
May

RA of $10 per week extended to UB recipients who had been on benefit for six or more months and were renting privately, and who were married with dependent children, aged 25 or over, or were aged 18 to 24 years and not living with parents or guardians.

1986
December

Rent threshold above which RA payable increased to $15 per week.

1987
July

Separate income test on RA abolished. Payment became additional to maximum rate of pension or benefit and subject to normal income tests.

1987
December

RA standardised across all benefits, with the more liberal SB rent assistance provisions no longer applying.

Payment extended to Family Allowance Supplement recipients.

1989
June

A $5 per week payment added to RA for those with children.

Waiting time for ex-prisoners reduced by length of time they had spent in prison.

Rent threshold above which RA payable raised to $20 per week.

Those paying board and lodgings had only two-thirds of payment counted as rent.

1989
December

Maximum RA rate standardised for all pensions, benefits and the Family Allowance supplement.

1990
June

Higher RA rate introduced for those with three or more children.

1991
March

Rent threshold above which RA paid increased to $25 per week.

RA rates indexed twice-yearly indexation in line with CPI movements.

1992
March

RA waiting period removed for recipients of JSA, NSA, SA or SpB who had no dependants and who were aged 18 to 60 years.

RA eligibility extended to those aged under 18 years who received independent/homeless rate of JSA, SA or SpB, and who had been receiving income support for at least 18 weeks.

1993
January

RA for those with children paid as an add-on to Additional Family Payment.

1993
March

Rent threshold above which RA payable indexed and set at levels varying according to family situation. Thresholds: single with no children, $60 pf; single with children, $80 pf; couples without children, $100 pf; and couples with children, $120 pf.

Above the new thresholds RA paid at 75 cents for each dollar of rent paid up to the maximum RA amount.

1994
March

Waiting period of 18 weeks abolished for those aged under 18 years who were JSA/SA recipients.

1996
March

Maximum RA rates increased by $5 pf for families with children. Minimum amount of rent that had to be paid to receive RA increased by $5. RA rates frozen for those receiving RA under various savings provisions resulting from previous changes in RA conditions until general RA rates caught up to their higher saved rate.

1997
July

From July those who were single without dependent children and who shared accommodation only eligible for two-thirds of the maximum RA rate.

1998
January

Those who lived in public housing but not the primary tenant ineligible for RA. Exemptions applied if primary tenant unsubsidised or if state housing authority notified of sub-tenant’s presence and their income had been taken into account in setting the household rent.

2000
July

GST compensation

RA rates increased as part of a package of measures to compensate for GST introduction.

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