Bills Digest 135 1996-97 Aged Care Income Testing Bill 1997


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WARNING:
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

CONTENTS

Passage History

Aged Care Income Testing Bill 1997

Date Introduced: 27 February 1997
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Health and Family Services
Commencement: Royal Assent

Purpose

To establish an administrative procedure to support the income testing arrangements necessary for the anticipated implementation of the Aged Care Bill 1997.

Background

As part of the 1996 Budget package, the Minister for Health and Family Services introduced the Aged Care Bill 1997 on 26 March 1997. This Bill proposes a restructure of the existing programs funded under the Aged or Disabled Persons Care Act 1954, into a new residential care system.

The Aged Care Income Testing Bill 1997 will allow the Department of Social Security and the Department of Veterans' Affairs to commence income testing residents in nursing homes and hostels so that they can be advised in advance of 1 July 1997 about charges they will face when the Aged Care Bill 1997 is passed.(1) The Aged Care Income Testing Bill only allows income assessment to be undertaken and will be overtaken by the substantive income testing provisions found in the Aged Care Bill 1997.

For a comprehensive explanation of the Aged Care Bill 1997 refer to the Parliamentary Library's Digest No. 132 1996 97 and the Current Issues Brief No. 27 1996 97, entitled Proposed changes to institutional residential aged care in Australia.

Main Provisions

The bill consist of 6 parts. The most significant are as follows:

Part 2 - Determination of ordinary income

Clause 5 allows the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Servicesto determine in writing the ordinary income ofnursing home or hostel residents. The Secretary may delegate this power to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of the Department of Social Security or both (clause 20).

In order to make the determination, the Secretary may request information from the resident, the person acting for the resident or any other person who may have appropriate information (clause 6). The Explanatory Memorandum points out that a person is not obliged to provide this information.(2)

Ordinary income is calculated according to the existing calculators for determining entitlement to social security and veterans pensions and benefits found in the Social Security Act 1991 and the Veterans Entitlement Act 1986 (clause 7).

Clause 9 provides that the Secretary must notify residents in writing of any determination of ordinary income together with reasons for the determination and any related information.

Part 3 - Reconsideration and review of ordinary income determinations

A person whose interests are affected by a determination made under the Veterans'Entitlement Act 1986 is entitled to request the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Services to reconsider the decision. The Secretary must reconsider the decision and either confirm, vary or set aside and substitute a new decision (clause 11). The Secretary may delegate this power to the Secretary of the Department of Veteranss Affairs (clause 20).

If no notification is given within ninety days of the review application, the decision is taken to be a confirmation of the original determination (clause 11(7)).

An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the review of a decision that has been confirmed, varied or set aside by the Secretary (clause 14).

Determinations of ordinary income made under the Social Security Act 1991 are reviewable under that Act through an amendment provided in Schedule 1 of the Bill. Review processes for determinations made under the Social Security Act 1991 differ from those made under the Veterans Entitlement Act 1986in that they provide an additional tier of review to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (Schedule 1,item 3).

Part 4 - Protection of information

Part 4 prohibits the disclosure of any personal information obtained for the purposes of income determination.

If Departments exchange information for the purposes of income determination of residents, they must not make a record of, disclose or use it for any other purposes (Clause 17).

Endnotes

  1. Second Reading Speech, Aged Care Income Testing Bill 1997.
  2. Explanatory Memorandum, Aged Care Income Testing Bill 1997: 1.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Mary Anne Neilsen
6 May 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.

This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 9 May 1997


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