Bills Digest No. 145  1999-2000Social Security and Veterans' Entitlements Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Bill 2000


Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

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
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Concluding Comments
Endnotes
Contact Officer & Copyright Details

Passage History

Social Security and Veterans' Entitlements Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Bill 2000

Date Introduced: 16 March 2000

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Family and Community Services

Commencement: Royal Assent. However, the measures contained in the Bill have differing application dates which are dealt within the Main Provisions section of this Digest.

Purpose

To:

  • standardise and centralise provisions in the Social Security Act 1991 relating to domestic residence requirements and overseas portability of social security payments and other related payments
  • complete a regime for providing compensation to social security payment recipients in respect of the Goods and Services Tax
  • generalise an existing requirement for claimants and recipients to obtain comparable social security payments from foreign countries
  • simplify domestic residence requirements, particularly exemptions for refugees and holders of certain classes of visas
  • provide for data matching in social security payments (using tax file numbers), and
  • remedy numbering anomalies in social security related legislation.

Background

Beneficiaries Leaving Australia

Presence and Portability

Presence in Australia

Many of the pensions and allowances (and pension rate calculators) in the Social Security Act 1991 contain a requirement that the claimant or recipient must be 'in Australia'.(1)

Temporary Absences

Some pensions and allowances allow temporary absences. Thus, a person may be overseas for a limited period whilst still being considered to be 'in Australia' and may therefore continue to qualify (subject to other requirements such as the 'activity test').(2)

International Portability Provisions

The remaining payments are largely subject to 'international portability' rules that allow a recipient to be paid or a claimant to qualify while s/he is overseas. Some payments are made 'portable' by the operation of the Social Security (International Agreements) Act 1999 ('agreement pensions and allowances').(3) Others are made 'portable' by specific provisions in the Social Security Act 1991 ('non-agreement pensions and allowances').

History

General 'portability' was introduced in 1973.(4) When it was introduced, 'portability' applied to all pensions and allowances except where the allowance was by way of supplementary assistance(5) or where the claim was based on short residence (described below).(6) There was provision for the Director General to issue a determination exempting a recipient from the short residence requirement. Other than these provisions, and regulations implementing international social security agreements, no other provision was made for 'portability'.

Since 1973 amendments have been made to the general portability provisions to introduce requirements relating to 'Australian working life residence', 'proportional portability', 'departure certificates' and 'post departure review' and to limit or cease the application of the 'portability' rules to certain payments. The provisions regarding international social security agreements have also been formalised into legislation.

These features of the current administrative regime are described below.

Machinery

Agreement Pensions and Allowances

The Social Security (International Agreements) Act gives effect to agreements between Australia and foreign countries regarding reciprocity in social security matters. It relaxes residence requirements for parenting payment consistently with the terms of any scheduled agreement.(7) It also provides for the 'portability' of pensions or allowances in accordance with these agreements.(8) Thus, an 'international agreement pension or allowance' continues to be payable even if the recipient is overseas. International agreements generally take precedence over other qualification and payment provisions in the Social Security Act.

Non-Agreement Pensions and Allowances

Part 4.2 of the Social Security Act applies 'overseas portability' rules to certain pensions and allowances.(9) It also provides for certain pensions and allowances,(10) which have been automatically cancelled or for which payment has automatically ceased,(11) to be 'transferred' if the recipient qualifies for a specific 'portable' pension or allowance.(12)

Essentially the 'portable' pensions and allowances are:

  • age pension
  • bereavement allowance
  • disability support pension
  • wife pension (and special needs wife pension), and
  • widow B pension (and special needs widow B pension).

Varying Portability Conditions

Different portability conditions apply to each of the pensions and allowances. Age pension and bereavement allowance are completely 'portable' and are thus unaffected by the recipient's leaving Australia, provided s/he complies with requirements discussed below. Disability support pension is completely 'portable' but only if the recipient is severely disabled (if s/he is not severely disabled the pension is only 'portable' for 12 months).(13) In general, pensions for wives and widows(14) are 'portable' for 12 months,(15) although this period may be extended while the recipient is in a specified foreign country(16) and in some circumstances these pensions are 'portable' for an indefinite period.(17)

Departure Certificates and Post-Departure Review

Portability also depends on the claimant or recipient meeting certain requirements regarding departure certificates.(18) In general, a claimant or recipient who is absent from Australia for more than 6 months ceases to qualify for any pension or allowance unless s/he has a departure certificate.(19) A claimant or recipient who proposes to leave Australia may obtain a departure certificate by notifying the Department prior to leaving Australia.(20) Alternatively, a claimant or recipient who leaves Australia without a departure certificate may have his or her qualification continued or restored if s/he responds to a notice issued by the Secretary.(21) Notwithstanding these requirements, a claimant or recipient may have his or her qualification continued if the Secretary considers that there are circumstances that were beyond the person's control that 'justify the person continuing to be qualified' during a specified period.(22)

Short Residence

Portability is limited where a claim is based on short residence.(23) Where a person lodges a claim after regaining Australian residency and leaves Australia within 12 months, while s/he may qualify for a pension or allowance, it is not payable while s/he is overseas.(24)

Proportional Portability

Generally, where a recipient has been overseas for more than 12 months, while they may continue to qualify for a 'portable' pension or allowance, the payment rate is reduced to the proportion of the time in the recipient's working life during which they were a resident in Australia ('Australian working life residence').

Other Provisions relating to Overseas Portability

'Overseas portability' is also dealt with in the context of specific pensions and allowances. Thus, specific 'portability' rules appear in provisions relating to carer payment,(25) widow allowance,(26) parenting payment,(27) newstart allowance,(28) mature age allowance and mature age partner allowance (pre and post 30 June 1986), sickness allowance, special benefit, special needs wife and special needs widow B pension.

Reserve Forces

In addition, specific provisions within the Act relax certain qualification requirements to allow members of the Reserve Forces to attend training courses outside Australia.(29)

Rent Assistance and Qualifying PP Child

While a pension or allowance may be portable, certain incidental benefits may not be. For example, rent assistance is generally only payable where the recipient is in Australia.(30) Equally, while a parenting payment recipient may leave Australia, if their dependent child is away from Australia for more than 26 weeks they are liable to lose their qualification.(31)

Pension Bonuses and Retirement Assistance for Farmers

One element of the Government's Tax Reform Package involved increasing pension rates by 4% to compensate for the effects of the GST. The A New Tax System (Compensation Measures Legislation Amendment) Act 1999 largely achieved this objective. However, it did not amend certain provisions dealing with the calculation of 'pension bonuses'(32) or 'retirement assistance for farmers'.(33)

Overseas Entitlements

Under the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 the Secretary has the power to require a claimant or recipient of certain pensions and allowances(34) or their partner to take reasonable action to obtain a 'comparable foreign payment' from a 'CFP country'.(35) If s/he fails to take 'reasonable action' the Secretary may reject a claim(36) or cancel the payment.(37)

A 'comparable foreign payment' is a payment which is similar to a payment under the Social Security Act. 'CFP countries' are listed in the definitions to the Act. They are the countries with which Australia has an international social security agreement.

Australian Residence and Qualifying Residence Exemption

The Social Security Act defines an 'Australian resident' to include a person who holds a 'special purpose visa' and 'who is likely to remain permanently in Australia'.(38) The Act also provides a 'qualifying residence exemption' which exempts certain claimants from residence requirements on the basis that they are refugees, etc. or if they hold certain kinds of visas. In particular, the Act exempts special benefit claimants who hold certain classes of visas issued prior to 1994 ('exempt residents').(39) These classes of visa were issued to persons claiming political asylum following the incident at Tiananmen square.(40)

Bereavement Allowance

Bereavement allowance provides some support for claimants who do not qualify for parenting payment. It also provides some support for women who do not qualify for widow pension(41) or widow B pension.(42) It is payable until another pension or benefit becomes payable (ie the claimant makes a claim and qualifies for another payment).

Gender Equity: Pensions for Wives and Widows

The Social Security Act currently contains a number of female-specific payments which contain qualification criteria based on circumstances of partners or former partners. For example, a person qualifies for wife pension if she is a member of a couple and her partner receives age pension, disability support pension or a rehabilitation allowance.(43) Similarly, a person qualifies for widow B pension if she is over a certain age, does not qualify for parenting payment, has been divorced and has been an Australian resident for 10 years.(44)

These pensions are being phased out. Wife pension must have been claimed prior to 30 June 1995. Widow B pension must have been claimed prior to 20 March 1997.(45) Since 1996 the move has been towards female partners of recipients being required to claim and qualify for payments in their own right, eg. newstart allowance, parenting payment (partnered), partner allowance. The move recognised that a female-specific payment no longer reflected the changing role of women in society and in the workforce (there has never been a widower pension for males). It accords with the general move towards gender equity across payments.

Data Matching

One of the major themes in the 1999-2000 Budget for the Family and Community Services Portfolio was the need for greater data matching between relevant agencies. The Government announced improvements to data matching using tax file numbers (TFNs).(46) Data matching involves the exchange of personal information (including TFNs) between relevant agencies that may otherwise have constituted a breach of the Privacy Act 1988.

Main Provisions

Beneficiaries Leaving Australia

Schedule 1, Part 1 deals with international portability.

Provisions

Items 1-107 amend the 'international portability' provisions described above by removing most of the 'presence in Australia' requirements and corresponding components of the administrative regime (departure certificates, notices regarding absences) and by centralising the 'international portability' rules to a single part of the Act.

Items 16 and 17 preserve the qualification of parenting payment children in accordance with the 'portability' rules applying to parenting payment recipients overseas. (This allows parenting payments made in respect of a child to continue if the parent's portability period is extended).

Items 19 and 32 effectively preserve the presence requirement in the 'activity test'. In order to qualify, a recipient will have to be 'actively seeking, and willing to undertake, paid work in Australia'.

Items 82, 87, 90, 92, 96, 101, 104 and 107 provide that, while a recipient need not be 'in Australia' to qualify for a pension or allowance, rent assistance may only be paid on properties in Australia. Qualification and application for special needs pension is already restricted as the pension is being phased out.

Item 57 places a sunset clause on the grant of special needs pensions. These will no longer be granted after 20 September 2000.

Items 108-130 establish the new centralised international portability regime. The regime consists of:

  • Items 108-110 - Preliminary: These items contain an express intention that the Social Security (International Agreements) Act overrides the part and definitions including:
  • eligible medical treatment: treatment that cannot be obtained in Australia.
  • entitled person: the category of women whose wife or widow pensions are currently 'portable' for an indefinite period.
  • reserve service: training camp for one of the reserve forces (proposed s 1212).
  • acute family crisis: absence which the Secretary is satisfied is for the purpose of visiting a family member who is critical ill or hospitalised with a serious illness or who is facing a life threatening situation (proposed s 1212A).
  • humanitarian purpose: absence which the Secretary is satisfied is for the purpose of attending custody or other legal proceedings, for adoption purposes or for other purposes prescribed in regulations (proposed s 1212B).
  • temporary absence: absence which does not involve a change in Australian residence (proposed s 1212C).
  • Items 111-113 - General Portability Provisions: These items provide for a general regime for portability of social security payments. Division 2, Subdivision A aims to give effect to a table describing the portability of various social security payments. The table preserves and expands upon the rules that currently apply:
  • 'presence in Australia' pensions and allowances: temporary absences are generally permitted for 26 weeks, but for youth, newstart, sickness and special benefit, absences are only permitted in respect of eligible medical treatment, acute family crises and humanitarian purposes.
  • 'temporary absence' pensions and allowances: temporary absences for 26 weeks.
  • 'portable' pensions and allowances: any absence is permitted.
  • 'entitled persons': any absence is permitted.

Proposed s 1216 limits the portability of remote area allowance, rent assistance, incentive allowance and pharmaceutical allowance to a maximum period of 26 weeks.

Division 2, Subdivision B seeks to provide exemptions to the portability restrictions for austudy recipients studying overseas (proposed s 1218), recipients of parenting payment, youth allowance, austudy, newstart, mature age allowance or mature age partner allowance for reserve service overseas (proposed s 1218A) and any recipient where the Secretary is satisfied that certain exceptional circumstances exist (proposed s 1218C).

  • Items 114-120 - Short Residence: These items extend the residence period for claims based on short residence from 12 months to 2 years.(47) They also remove a general discretion allowing the Secretary to exempt a claimant or recipient from the short residence restrictions where the absence from Australia could not have been foreseen.
  • Items 121-125 - Proportionality: Item 121 brings the operation of the 'proportional portability' rules (described earlier) forward from 12 months to 26 weeks. Item 123 rectifies an anomaly in the 'proportional portability' regime which would have allowed recipients to receive an inflated pension or allowance rate because their 'Australian working life residence' exceeded the theoretical limit of 300 months or 25 years. Item 125 removes provisions which benefited couples having different 'Australian working life residences'.(48)
  • Item 126-130 - Savings: Item 126 ensures that new portability rules do not apply to claimants and recipients who are overseas at the commencement date(49) until they return to Australia. It also provides that the original portability provisions, except certain provisions including those relating to indefinitely portable pensions for wives and widows(50) continue to apply to these persons, and limits the operation of the extended short residence rules to pensions granted after the commencement date.

Schedule 2, Part 3 makes corresponding housekeeping amendments to the Social Security (Administration) Act. They relate to decisions regarding departure certificates.

Schedule 3 makes amendments to the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 providing for overseas portability of various entitlements. Allowances such as rent assistance, pharmaceutical allowance and telephone allowance are 'portable' (in the sense implied by the above amendments) for a maximum period of 26 weeks. Allowance for FA children is only 'portable' in respect of absences by those children for a period of 8 weeks.

Schedule 8 makes amendments to the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 providing for 'overseas portability' of family tax benefit and child care benefit for non-residents who hold visas determined by the Minister in relation to special benefit. It applies the centralised 'overseas portability' rules in the Social Security Act to an absence by these non-residents. The portability period is 26 weeks which is equivalent to the standard portability period for recipients of family tax benefit.(51) There are no particular portability rules in the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act for child care benefit.

Schedule 9 corrects an anomaly in the 'proportional portability' provisions of the Social Security (International Agreements) Act. It is a similar anomaly addressed by Schedule 1, Part 1, item 123.

Commencement

Schedule 1, Part 1 (except for items 71, 72, and 123) and Schedule 2, Part 3 commence on 20 September 2000.

Schedule 1, Part 1, items 71 and 72 commence on 20 September 2000 or immediately following the commencement of Schedule 1, item 4 of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance and Related Measures) Act 2000 (currently a bill), whichever is the later.(52)

Schedule 3 commences on Royal Assent.

Schedule 8 commences on 20 September 2000 or immediately following the commencement of Schedule 1 of the A New Tax System (Compensation Measures Legislation Amendment) Act 1999.

Schedule 1, Item 123 and Schedule 9 commence on 1 August 2000.

Pension Bonus and Retirement Assistance for Farmers

Schedule 1, Part 2 and Part 3 rectify the GST omissions described above relating to pension bonuses and retirement assistance for farmers. They commence immediately after the commencement of Schedule 1 of the A New Tax System (Compensation Measures Legislation Amendment) Act 1999.

Overseas Entitlements and Social Security Amnesty

Schedule 1, Part 4 removes references in the Social Security Act to 'CFP countries' so that an obligation to obtain a 'comparable foreign payment' is not limited to countries with which Australia has an international social security agreement. Item 133 provides the framework for a 'social security amnesty' to encourage recipients to disclose the existence of a previously undisclosed 'comparable foreign payment'. It prevents recovery of overpayments during the period 20 September 2000 - 19 January 2001.

Schedule 2, Part 2 similarly broadens the scope in the Social Security (Administration) Act from 'CFP countries' to any 'foreign countries'.

Both Schedule 1, Part 4 and Schedule 2, Part 2 commence on 20 September 2000.

Qualifying Residence

Provisions

Schedule 1, Part 5 contains housekeeping amendments with respect to the definition of Australian residence and qualification for certain pensions and allowances, including:

  • Items 134-135 & 142-144 - exempt residents: These items remove the 'qualifying residence exemption' for 'exempt residents' as '[m]ost categories of visa listed under 'exempt resident' are no longer issued, and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs advises that none of those granted are still valid'.(53)
  • Items 137 to 139 - special purpose visas: These items remove references to 'special purpose visas' on the basis that these visas only allow holders to remain in Australia for short periods and for special purposes. Thus, the holders are not 'likely to remain permanently in Australia' for the purposes of the Social Security Act.(54)
  • Item 141 & 145 & Items 156-163- legislative reference to visas: Item 141 seeks to remove any references to visa classes in a provision relating to 'qualifying residence exemption' (s 7(6AA)) leaving the classes to be specified by ministerial determination. This will allow visa classes to be added or subtracted without amendment of the Act (the intention is that the existing specified classes will be incorporated in the first determination made under the amended section). Item 145 makes these determinations disallowable instruments ensuring that they are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.(55)

Items 156-162 remove references to specific visa classes in the context of special benefit(56) (which effectively operate as a form of 'qualifying residence exemption') also leaving them to be specified by ministerial determination. Item 163 makes these determinations disallowable instruments.

  • Item 150 & 151 - bereavement allowance: These items relax residence requirements for bereavement allowance so that they are consistent with the current 104 week residence requirement for comparable pensions: for example, parenting payment (single),(57) age pension (where a partner has died)(58) and newly arrived residents.(59)
  • Item 149 - newly arrived residents' waiting periods (carer's payment): This item inserts a general reference to visa classes (specified by ministerial determination) into the list of exemptions applying to waiting periods for newly arrived residents.(60)

Schedule 6 amends the Health Insurance Act 1973 to remove references to 'exempt resident' in relation to waiting periods for 'disadvantaged low income residents'. It substitutes a more general reference to the (amended) 'qualifying residence exemption' in the Social Security Act (see items 134 & 135 above). Thus, the category of persons exempted from the waiting period is broadened from refugees, etc. and 'exempt residents' to refugees, etc.(61) and the holders of classes of visas determined by the Minister.

[Schedule 6 repeals subparagraphs 5BA(4)(b)(iv), (v) and (vi) which relate to 'exempt residents'. But it does not does not repeal subparagraphs 5BA(4)(b)(i), (ii) and (iii) which relate to refugees, etc. Both of these categories of people have a 'qualifying residence exemption' under the Social Security Act (ss 7(6) and 7(6AA)). Thus, subparagraphs 5BA(4)(b)(i), (ii) and (iii) would seem already to be covered by the new reference to the more general 'qualifying residence exemption'. No reason is given for this overlap.]

Commencement

Both Schedule 1, Part 5 and Schedule 6 commence on 20 September 2000.

Data Matching

Schedule 2, Part 1 inserts a new section 204A into the Social Security Administration Act. This empowers the Secretary to obtain information, including tax file numbers (TFNs), from the Commissioner of Taxation for the purpose of establishing or verifying a claimant's or recipient's qualification, payment rate or entitlement to be paid.

Schedule 4 amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 to include a reference to s 204A in the data matching provisions.

Schedule 5 updates a cross-reference in the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to these amended provisions.

All of these provisions commence on 1 July 2000.

Miscellaneous

Schedule 7 remedies two renumbering errors in the Social Security (Administration and International Agreements) (Consequential Amendments) Act 1999. It commences immediately after the commencement of Schedule 5 of the Further 1998 Budget Measures Legislation Amendment (Social Security) Act 1999.(62)

Schedule 10 remedies renumbering errors in the Further 1998 Budget Measures Legislation (Social Security) Act 1999. It is taken to have commenced immediately before the commencement of Schedule 2, items 8-52.(63)

Concluding Comments

A few specific comments may be made about the amendments in the Bill:

  • Presence in Australia - Activity Test: As indicated, while the residence requirements are being relaxed, the activity test is being strengthened such that recipients must be looking for work 'in Australia'. It is unclear whether the new activity test will require that recipients be looking for work while 'in Australia' or whether it will permit recipients to be overseas but looking for work 'in Australia'.(64)
  • Proportional Portability - pensioner couples and Australian Working Life Residence: As indicated, currently a member (or former member) of a couple is presumed to have an equal Australian Working Life Residence to their existing (or former) partner for the purposes of calculating rates of payment for certain pensions.(65) Schedule 1, Part 1, Item 125 removes this equivalence apparently on the basis that it is 'redundant'.

Clearly, this will disadvantage some recipients if they stay overseas beyond 26 weeks (at which time the proportional portability payment rules apply: Schedule 1, Part 1, Item 121). There appear to be no winners in this circumstance. Nor does there seem to be a particular justification for considering the current equivalence 'redundant' apart from the general principle of gender 'equity' (or 'neutrality') across payments discussed above in the context of wife pension and widow pension.

  • Portability - 'entitled persons' in the transition period: As indicated, currently certain recipients of certain wife and widow pensions ('entitled persons') have an unlimited portability period.(66) Clearly, the same rule will apply under the new regime.(67)

However, it appears that the arrangements will not apply to recipients caught by the savings provisions.(68) Thus, recipients of these pensions who are overseas at 20 September 2000 and who remain overseas will lose their entitlement to unlimited portability and will only benefit from the general 'temporary absence' and 'overseas portability' provisions while they remain overseas. If they have been overseas for longer than a year they may lose their entitlement to their pension.

  • Qualifying Residence - Health Insurance Act: As indicated, Schedule 6 appears to leave an overlap between provisions in the Social Security Act relating to 'qualifying residence exemption' and provisions in the Health Insurance Act.

Endnotes

  1. For example, s 14(3) (remote area allowance), ss 198(4), 198AC(1), 198AC(2) and 198AC(2)(c) (carer payment), s 408BA(2)(e)(ii) (widow allowance), s 500(1)(c) (parenting payment), s 540(d) (youth allowance), s 568(c) (austudy), ss 593(1A), 593(1B)(b)(iii), 593(2)(g)(iii) (newstart allowance), s 660XBA(1)(f) (mature age allowance), s 660XBI(1)(c) (mature age partner allowance), s 660YBA(8) (mature age allowance - post 30 June 1986), ss 666(1)(h) and 667(f)(d) (sickness allowance), s 729(2)(fa) (special benefit), s 771HA(1)(D) (partner allowance), s 953(1)(e), 953(2)(e), 954(1)(e), 957(1), 957(2)(c), 957(2) (carer allowance), ss 1035(1)(a)(iv), 1035(1)(b)(iv), 1035(1)(ba)(v), 1035(1)(c)(iii), 1035(1)(ca)(iii), 1035(1)(d)(iii) (mobility allowance), s 1061G(1) (advance pharmaceutical allowance) and 1061R(a) (telephone allowance).
  2. For example, absences for 3 months: s408BA(4) (widow allowance), s 513(1B) (jobsearch, subject to the activity test), s 593(1A) (newstart, subject to the activity test), s 674 (sickness allowance), s 660YBA(9) (mature age allowance - post 30 June 1986); 13 weeks: s 729(5) (special benefit, in exceptional circumstances); 26 weeks: ss 660XBA(3) (mature age allowance), 660XBI(2) (mature age partner allowance) and s 500(1)(c) (parenting payment). In addition, while a family allowance recipient is not required to be in Australia if s/he or his or her dependent child is away from Australia for more than 3 years, the allowance ceases to be payable: ss 836 & 840. The same rules apply to the double orphan pension (s 999(1)(a)) and similar rules apply to the family tax payment (s 900AC)
  3. International Agreements were originally given legislative effect by being included in a Schedule to the Social Security Act. The Social Security (International Agreements) Act consolidated existing social security international agreements into a separate Act: see Bills Digest No. 2 1999-2000 at http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/bd/1999-2000/2000Bd002.htm [28/03/00].
  4. Social Services Act (No.2) 1973. The portability provisions commenced on 8 May 1973.
  5. Social Services Act, s 83AC.
  6. Social Services Act, s 83AD.
  7. S 1208A.
  8. S 1209.
  9. Excluding all benefits, pensions and allowances for which presence in Australia is an essential qualifying condition (see note 1 above) (s 1211) and except for: carer payment, pension PP (single) and rehabilitation allowance (s 1212(2)); and wife pension, widow B pension, special needs wife pension and special needs widow B pension where the recipient has never been an Australian resident (s 1215).
  10. Age pension, disability support pension, wife pension, pension PP [parenting payment] (single), bereavement allowance, widow B pension, mature age allowance under Part 2.12A, mature age partner allowance or service pension.
  11. For example, a pension may cease to be payable to a recipient because another social security pension or benefit or a service pension becomes payable to him or her: s 71A (age pension); s 136 (disability support pension). A pension may also cease to be payable if the recipient fails to respond to notification requirement: s 73 (Age); s 138 (DSP).
  12. Age pension, disability support pension (where the recipient is severely disabled), wife pension, bereavement allowance or widow B pension.
  13. Ss 1213A(2) and 1213A(3).
  14. Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, Special Needs Wife Pension and Special Needs Widow B Pension.
  15. S 1216.
  16. S 1216A
  17. That is, where the recipient has been an Australia resident for at least 10 years, is in receipt of a widow B pension because she was legally married and her husband has died or was or is the partner of a man who was the subject of compensation arising out of inquiry into matters known as the 'Greek conspiracy': s 1216B.
  18. Ss 1218, 1218A, 1218B, 1218C and 1219: see s 1213(2).
  19. S 1218(2).
  20. S 1219.
  21. The qualification is continued if the claimant or recipient responds within 3 months (s 1218B) and it is restored if s/he responds after 3 months but before 12 months (s 1218C).
  22. S1218A. The specified period may not exceed 18 months.
  23. S 1220: see s 1213(2).
  24. S 1220.
  25. S 198AB.
  26. S 408BA(2).
  27. S 500A.
  28. S 593(1).
  29. For example: exemptions in respect of newstart activity test (s 593(3)), qualification for mature age allowance (s 660XBH) or mature age partner allowance (s 660XBI(2)).
  30. For example, s 1064-D1(e) (age, disability support, wife pensions and carer payment), s 1066-D1 (sole parent pension, bereavement allowance and widow B pension), s 1066A-EA2(g) (disability support pension, under 18), s 1066A-EB2(h) (disability support pension, over 18), s 1067G-D1(f) (youth allowance), s 1068-F1(d) (widow allowance, newstart allowance (18 or over), sickness allowance (18 or over), partner allowance and mature age allowance), s 1068A-D1(e) (parenting payment (single)), s 1068B-F1(f) (parenting payment (partnered)).
  31. This is because a child born overseas ceases to qualify as a 'PP child' if they are absent from Australia for more than 26 weeks.
  32. Where a person qualifies for age pension, but defers claiming it s/he may receive a single lump-sum bonus: see s 92A. See the Department of Family and Community Services Guide ('the Guide') at http://www.facs.gov.au/guide/ssguide/11p130.htm [28/03/00]
  33. The retirement assistance for farmers scheme (RAFS) 'allows older farmers to transfer ownership of the family farm to the younger generation, retire and gain access to Age. The Scheme offers a 3 year moratorium on the gifting provisions, which allows retiring farmers to gift farm(s) valued at up to $500,000 without affecting their eligibility for [the age pension]': See the Guide at http://www.facs.gov.au/guide/ssguide/12380.htm [28/03/00].
  34. Age pension, bereavement allowance, carer payment, disability support pension, parenting payment, special needs age pension, special needs disability support pension, special needs widow B pension, special needs wife pension, widow allowance, widow B pension, wife pension: s 66(1).
  35. S 66.
  36. S 40.
  37. S 82.
  38. S 7(2).
  39. S 7(6C). These include transitional (temporary) visas issued pursuant to the Migration Reform (Transitional Provisions) Regulations to persons who had the following class of visa or entry permit prior to 1 September 1994: 437 (PRC (temporary)), 784 (Domestic Protection (temporary)), 820 (Extended eligibility (spouse)). They also include the following class of visa held prior to 1 February 1993: 781 (Refugee (restricted)), and 783 (PRC (temporary) and a class of temporary visas that are declared under s 25A to be relevant visas for the purposes of s 7(6C).
  40. The visas were created in 1989 and expired in 1993 when the holders were able to make a claim for permanent residence. They allowed PRC nationals who were in Australia prior to 20 June 1989 to remain in Australia and to qualify for social security payments. This qualification continued until after 1993 while their permanent residence status was being determined. Most of this group held four year temporary entry permits which expired on 30 June 1994: Joint Standing Committee on Migration Regulations, Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian System: Achieving a balance between refuge and control, August 1992, pp 187-194; Prime Minister, 'Joint Statement by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs', Media Release, 27 June 1990; Senator Nick Bolkus, 'Government Decision on PRC Nationals', Media Release, 1 November 1993.
  41. For example, because they are not over 50.
  42. For example, because the claim was not lodged before 20 March 1997 or because they were neither legally married or a member of a couple for 3 years.
  43. S 147.
  44. S 362.
  45. S 362A.
  46. Information and Research Services, Budget Features 1999-2000, May 1999.
  47. Thus, a claimant or recipient who has regained Australia residency will not be paid for the period they are overseas if they leave Australia within 2 years.
  48. Points 1221-B5-B8 of Pension Portability Rate Calculator, Module B - Australian Working Life Residence provided that if a member or former member of a couple had a shorter Australian working life residence than their partner, they would be deemed to have an equal Australian working life residence for the purpose of calculating their payment rate.
  49. 20 September 2000.
  50. See note 14 above.
  51. S 62.
  52. Item 4 of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance and Related Measures) Bill 2000 makes amendments to the A New Tax System (Family Assistance Act) 1999 to create a list of exceptions relating to an individual's qualification as an FTB child. The amendments will commence immediately after the commencement of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance Act) 1999 which will commence after the last of the following provisions has commenced:
  1. section 1-2 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999;
  2. section 2 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition-Excise) Act 1999;
  3. section 2 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition-Customs) Act 1999;
  4. section 2 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition-General) Act 1999;
  5. section 2 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Administration) Act 1999.
  1. Explanatory Memorandum, p 25.
  2. See the text accompanying note 38 above.
  3. Under s 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901
  4. S 729(2)(f) and ss 739A(1), (2), (3)(b), (4)(b), and (6).
  5. S 315(1)(D)(iii).
  6. S 43(1A).
  7. S 201AA.
  8. The list of exemptions was created by the Further 1998 Budget Measures Legislation Amendment (social Security) Act 1999, Schedule 5, Item 6.
  9. That is refugees, former refugees, and family members of refugees and former refugees.
  10. Schedule 5 commences on a day fixed by proclamation, or, if Schedule 5 does not commence within 6 months beginning on the day the Act receives Royal Assent, from the first day after the end of that period.
  11. That is, 20 March 2000.
  12. Recipients would still be obliged to demonstrate that they are 'actively seeking, and willing to undertake, paid work'. But it may be possible to do so whilst outside Australia.
  13. Age pension, disability support pension, wife pension, sole parent pension, bereavement allowance or widow B pension.
  14. See note 17 above.
  15. See the discussion above of items 111-113.
  16. As indicated, item 130 provides that the amendment to 1216B (ie its repeal) applies to all persons including persons who were overseas prior to 20 September 2000 and had not returned to Australia at a time after 20 September 2000.

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4 April 2000
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