Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013

Bills Digest no. 141 2012–13

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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.

Peter Yeend
Social Policy Section
14 June 2013

Contents
Glossary
Purpose of the Bill
Structure of the Bill
Background
Committee consideration
Financial implications
Key issues and provisions
Concluding comments

Glossary

Abbreviation

Definition 

CPI

Consumer Price Index

EMTR

Effective Marginal Tax Rates

GST

Goods and Services Tax

JSA

Job Search Allowance

NSA

Newstart Allowance

PPS

Parenting Payment – Single

PCC

Pensioner Concession Card

PES

Pensioner Education Supplement

pf

per fortnight

SSA 1991

Social Security Act 1991

UB

Unemployment Benefit

WtW

Welfare to Work

YA

Youth Allowance

Date introduced: 29 May 2013
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Commencement: Sections 1–3 on Royal Assent. Schedule 1 from 20 March 2014, Schedule 2 from 1 January 2014 and Schedule 3 from 1 July 2013.

Links: The links to the Bill, its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can be found on the Bill's home page, or through http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation. When Bills have been passed and have received Royal Assent, they become Acts, which can be found at the ComLaw website at http://www.comlaw.gov.au/.

Purpose of the Bill

The purpose of the Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013 (the Bill) is to amend the Social Security Act 1991 (SSA 1991)[1] to give effect to several employment assistance initiatives announced by the Government in the 2013–14 Budget.

Structure of the Bill

The Bill contains three Schedules:

  • Schedule 1 amends the SSA 1991 to increase income free areas
  • Schedule 2 amends the SSA 1991 in relation to the pensioner education supplement and pensioner concession card and
  • Schedule 3 makes minor technical amendments to the SSA 1991.

Background

The Government announced several initiatives in the 2013–14 Budget aimed at providing better assistance to some income support recipients.[2] The initiatives can be briefly described as:

  • increasing and also indexing the income test free area for allowance payments[3]
  • extending access to the Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) to Newstart Allowance (NSA)[4] recipients who are principal carers of at least one child and are not members of a couple and
  • extending access to the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)[5] for a single parent who loses access to the PCC as they:

–      have lost access to Parenting Payment-Single (PPS)[6] as their youngest child has turned eight years of age and

–      no longer qualify for income support due to employment earnings.[7]

Increase and index the allowance rate of payment income test free area

Income support payments—pension or allowance regime

There are two main regimes of income support payments provided under the SSA 1991. First, there are the pension regime payments; for example, the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension and they, traditionally, have been considered to be long-term income support. Second, are the allowance payments, primarily for persons of working age, like NSA. However, this group of income support payments also includes payments paid at the NSA rate like Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance and Partner Allowance. The pension regime payments are paid at a higher rate and have more generous income and asset testing recognising that they are considered long-term income support. In contrast, the allowance regime payments have lower rates of payments and tighter income and asset testing, recognising that they are considered short-term income support.

Current allowance payments income testing

The allowance payments have equivalent payment rates, and income testing arrangements in terms of income test free area,[8] taper rate[9] and cut–off points.[10]

The allowance income test regime as at June 2013 is set out in the table below.[11]

Family situation

For full allowance
(pf)*

For part allowance
(pf)**

Single no children

up to $62.00

less than $935.67

Single with dependent children

up to $62.00

less than $1,004.84

Single principal carer of a dependent child/ren***

up to $62.00

less than $1,429.25

Single principal carer of a dependent child (granted an exemption for foster caring/home schooling/distance education/large family)***

up to $62.00

less than $1,799.75

Single aged 60 or over, after nine months continuous months on payment

up to $62.00

less than $1,015.17

Partnered (each)

up to $62.00

less than $853.84

Family Situation For full

*     Fortnightly income between $62 and $250 reduces the maximum fortnightly rate by 50 cents in the dollar.
**   Income above $250 per fortnight reduces the fortnightly allowance rate by 60 cents in the dollar.

*** Income over $62 per fortnight reduces the maximum rate by 40 cents in the dollar.

As set out above, the allowance payments income test has a two-step taper for income over the free area. This two-step taper reduces the net allowance payable progressively as income rises, being a transition from allowance receipt to self-support from employment income.

As can be seen in the table above, the allowance income test free area is currently $62 per fortnight (pf). This is the area of the income test that is proposed to be increased and indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in this Bill.

History of the income test free area

The income test free area has only changed a few times since the introduction of Unemployment Benefit (UB) in 1945, with no clear pattern or reason for the limit set on each occasion. Details of changes to the allowance payments income test free areas and limits can be seen in the table on pages 44 to 45 in the Parliamentary Library’s Background Note: Social Security payments for the unemployed, the sick and those in special circumstance, 1942 to 2012: a chronology.[12]

The initiating legislation for UB and Sickness Benefit was passed in 1944 and the second reading speech for the Unemployment and Sickness Benefits Act 1944 stated only that the income test free area would apply for the income test but did not state any reason for the level set. The income test thresholds were almost the same as the payment rate at that time.[13]

Kewley and Murphy, in their respective histories of Australia’s social security system, do not make reference to any debate or rationale in regards to the setting of the income free area at this time.[14] Since 1945, the main reason stated for amending the free area appears to be to offer some incentive for the unemployed to earn more income and support themselves and to avoid ‘poverty traps’.

The present income test free area ($62pf) for the allowance rate of payments dates back to 2000. Some additional free areas were added in the early 1990s before being discarded when the income test was reworked in 1995. The following chronology gives some description of more recent changes to the allowance income test:[15]

  • from November 1982, the income tests for all unemployment and sickness benefits were standardised. Under the new arrangements, benefits were reduced by 50 cents for each $1 of income above the free area which then was $10 per week. Above $60 a week, benefits were reduced by $1 per week for each $1 of income
  • from March 1984, the income test free area was increased to $20 per week and benefit reduced by $1 for each $1 of income above $70 a week
  • from May 1986, the income test free area was increased to $30 per week
  • from September 1990, married beneficiaries and their spouses were allowed to earn an additional $30pf each from salaries or wages before their benefit was reduced under the income test
  • from September 1993, single recipients of Job Search Allowance (JSA)/NSA were able to earn an additional $30pf before the income test reduced their payment. A similar earned income disregard for couples was increased from $30 to $50 each pf
  • from July 1995, the income test was modified. The 'earnings disregard' was removed leaving a standard $60pf income test free area for all recipients, both single and partnered. The 100 per cent withdrawal rate was changed to a 70 per cent withdrawal rate (the 50 per cent withdrawal rate on the first $40 earned after the free area remained unchanged). Each member of a couple was made individually subject to the standard income test. Once the income of one partner reduced their own payment to nil any additional income began to reduce the payment received by the other partner and
  • from July 2000, the income test free area increased to $62pf as part of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation package.

Rationales for income test changes in the past

The Social Security Amendment Act 1982[16] provided for an increase in unemployment and sickness benefit rates as well as a standardisation of the income test and increase in thresholds. The reason given by the then Minister Assisting the Minister for Social Security, Ian Wilson, for increasing the income test free area from $6 per week to $10 per week was:

… to encourage unemployed people to take advantage of opportunities to earn extra income and gain job experience by casual work, they will be allowed to earn more without losing their entitlement to benefit.[17]

The Social Security Legislation Amendment Act 1983 provided for an increase in the rate of UB, regular indexation and the next ‘easing’ of the income test.[18] The reason given for amending the income test free area by the then Minister Assisting the Minister for Social Security, Clyde Holding, was similar to that given by his predecessor:

… [to provide] for the income test for unemployment and sickness benefits to be eased to encourage unemployed people to undertake casual or part time work without losing entitlement to benefit.[19]

The increase in the threshold in 1986 was provided as part of the Hawke Government’s attempts to remove a number of ‘poverty traps’, including those caused by high effective marginal tax rates (EMTR)[20] for allowance recipients. The Social Security (Poverty Traps Reduction) Act 1985 included measures to increase both the rate of UB as well as the generosity of the income test.[21] The Hawke Government had, at the 1983 election, committed to gradually restoring parity between the standard rate of UB and pension for single adults. Then Minister for Social Security, Brian Howe, stated in his second reading speech for a related budget measures Bill:

Since coming to office, we have moved to end this discrimination by progressively closing the gap between this group [those receiving unemployment benefits] and single pensioners and sickness beneficiaries …

… A further measure to assist unemployed people, intended to be introduced in a Bill later in the current sittings, is the easing of the income test. From May 1986, unemployment beneficiaries will be able to earn an extra $10 a week and still qualify for full payment. The ‘allowable income’ limit will increase from $20 to $30 a week, making the income test free amount for beneficiaries the same as that for single pensioners. This will help overcome the poverty trap that discourages beneficiaries from seeking part-time work.[22]

After this increase, the only real change to the income test for UB/NSA was the slight increase in the income and asset free areas introduced as part of the GST compensation package in July 2000. The rate of NSA was also increased as part of this package by two per cent (as well as bringing forward the indexation that would normally have occurred in March 2001, leading to a total rate increase of around four per cent).

The setting of, and the changes to, the allowance payments income test appear to have been arbitrary, usually aligning with ad-hoc increases in the rates of payment. Recent settings do not appear to be connected in any way with minimum wage rates or movements in earnings rates. The income test limits and free areas thresholds have never been indexed leaving any adjustments up to the government of the day. The income test free area has only been adjusted as part of broader reforms of the social security system.

Indexing the income test free area amount to the Consumer Price Index

What should be noted with this history is that the allowance payments income test free areas and limits are not indexed to the CPI. This contrasts with the pensions’ income test which has its income test free area indexed once a year to the CPI. The allowance rate income test free area and limits are only increased as governments have seen fit to do so. This history of sparse and very infrequent increases in the income test free areas is partially addressed by the amendments in this Bill, which will see the indexation of the income test free area. Amendments presented in Schedule 1 of the Bill will link the free area amount to current CPI indexation arrangements that apply to other limits and payment amounts in the SSA 1991. This is certainly new, and considering that the current free area amount of $62pf has been in place since July 2000, it could well be argued it is long overdue.

Why might the proposed changes to the allowance income test free area be in the 2013‑14 Budget?

The placement of the proposed raising of the allowance income test free area and also its indexing to the CPI in the 2013–14 Budget could be seen to be addressing recent concerns that the NSA rate is too low. This connection has been discussed in a paper issued by the Parliamentary Library about changes announced in the Budget.[23] Certainly, in respect of outlays, making the income test more generous is cheaper than an across-the-board increase in the NSA rate, as has been urged.[24] It does not assist everyone on an allowance rate of payment, only those with income above the current $62pf income test free area. It does, however, encourage allowance recipients to undertake work to earn income or undertake more work to earn more income.

As at June 2011, some 81.7 per cent of all NSA recipients had nil income from employment, 0.5 per cent had between 1 cent and $31 a week in income from employment and 17.8 per cent had more than $31 a week in income from employment.[25]

Who will benefit if the allowance income test free area is raised from $62 to $100 per fortnight?

The proposed raising of the allowance income test free area from $62pf to $100pf refers to all income, not just employment income. This means that all income support recipients paid under the allowance income test regime[26] with income above the current $62pf free area will benefit. The other allowance recipients who will potentially benefit will be those with income below the current income test free area of $62pf who may receive more income, most commonly by way of employment. These persons will be able to earn more income and see their allowance payment not reduce or reduce to a lesser extent.

An example of how the raising of the income test free area may benefit a NSA recipient is set out below.

Current income test – free area of $62.00pf

Proposed new income test with $100.00pf income test free area

  • single NSA recipient aged 25 years
  • total employment income of $200.00pf
  • current maximum rate of NSA of $497.00pf[27]
  • affecting income = $69.00pf. $200.00pf minus $62.00pf (free area) = net affecting income of $138.00pf. $138.00pf divided by 2 (income test taper rate of 50 cents in the $1) = net reduction in the maximum rate payable of $69.00pf.
  • net rate payable = $428.00pf ($497.00 - $69.00 = $428.00)
  • single NSA recipient aged 25 years
  • total employment income of $200.00pf
  • current maximum rate of NSA of $497.00pf[28]
  • affecting income = $50.00pf. $200.00pf minus $100.00pf (free area) = net affecting income of $100.00pf. $100.00pf divided by 2 (income test taper rate of 50 cents in the $1) = net reduction in the maximum rate payable of $50.00pf.
  • net rate payable = $447.00pf ($497.00 - $50.00 = $447.00)

As the comparison above shows, the proposed raised income test free area will result in a $19.00pf net benefit to a NSA recipient with $200.00pf in income.

Extending access to the Pensioner Education Supplement to some Newstart Allowance recipients

The Government announced in the 2013–14 Budget the extension of access to the PES for single parents on NSA who are undertaking qualifying study.[29]

Pensioner Education Supplement

PES is a supplement payment paid to some income support recipients[30] to aid with the costs of attending study. It is indirectly a labour force assistance payment, paid in the expectation that persons with a better level of education will have an increased chance of obtaining employment and therefore be more self-supporting.

Current Pensioner Education Supplement qualification

The income support payments that can currently attract PES are:

  • Disability Support Pension
  • Carer Payment
  • Parenting Payment–Single
  • Special Benefits (as a single parent)
  • Widow B Pension
  • Newstart Allowance (limited persons can qualify)
  • Widow Allowance and
  • Wife Pension.

Single parents on NSA do not normally qualify for access to the PES if studying. However, there are some NSA or Youth Allowance (YA) recipients who were previously on a PPS payment and subsequently lost qualification to PPS as their youngest child turned eight years of age. If the person was qualified to receive PES while on PPS and their study is unbroken, they can receive PES while on NSA or YA.

Current Pensioner Education Supplement payment rates

The current rates of PES are set out below.

PES rate
$pf

Requisite student circumstance

$62.40

An approved student who is studying full time or studying at least a 25% study load and receiving:

  • Disability Support Pension
  • Invalidity Service Pension
  • War Widow/er Pension and Invalidity Income Support Supplement (and has a dependent child under 16) or

Studying at least a 50% study load and is:

  • a single parent
  • a carer or a person with a substantial disability (not receiving a payment listed above) or
  • an eligible student receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance.

$31.20

An approved student with at least a 25% study load but less than a 50% study load, who is:

  • a single parent
  • a carer
  • a person with a substantial disability (not receiving a payment listed above) or
  • an eligible student receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance.

Access to Parenting Payment-Single recently narrowed and confined to those with a young child

The Government has recently tightened the original Welfare to Work (WtW) measures of the Howard Government that were introduced from 1 July 2006.[31] In those original 2006 WtW measures, access to PPS was narrowed to those with a youngest child aged less than eight years. However, all those granted PPS prior to the May 2005 announcement of the WtW reforms in the 2005–06 Budget, were ‘saved’ and could retain payment of PPS until their youngest child turned 16 years. A good description of the history of the narrowing of access to the PPS can be seen in a FlagPost by the Parliamentary Library.[32] The further tightening of access to PPS for those ‘saved’ PPS recipients was undertaken from 1 January 2013.[33]

There was in January 2013 some considerable outcry about compelling PPS recipients to transfer to NSA, and this almost exclusively centred on the fact that PPS is paid at a higher rate than the NSA rate and single parents would be financially disadvantaged.[34] This extension of access to the PES for single parents on NSA undertaking requisite study may be a partial reaction by the Government to these concerns. A discussion of the PPS and NSA payment issue for single parents can be seen in a FlagPost issued by the Parliamentary Library.[35]

What will this expanded access to the Pensioner Education Supplement mean for single parents on Newstart Allowance?

The amendments to the PES provisions in the SSA 1991 in this Bill will mean single parents on NSA will be able to access payment of the PES where they undertake requisite study. This will provide extra assistance for those currently studying but not currently qualified for PES and it will probably provide an incentive for single parents on NSA to undertake study.

Extension of access to the Pensioner Concession Card to some former recipients of Parenting Payment-Single

The Government announced in the 2013–14 Budget the extension of access to the PCC for some former PPS recipients. This will apply to PPS recipients who lose access to PPS due to their youngest child turning eight years of age and who no longer have any access to an income support payment due to employment earnings.[36]

The proposal is to allow continued access to a PCC for 12 weeks after the loss of access to PPS.

This essentially refers to a small number of single parents who have been in receipt of PPS and also have employment earnings. When their youngest child turns eight years of age, they lose access to the PPS and may instead qualify for NSA. However, they cannot access NSA due to its tighter income testing arrangements. In short, their income was low enough to allow access to the PPS but too high for access to NSA.

The main reason a sole parent qualifies for PPS and not another payment for a person of working age is that the allowance income test is tighter than the pension regime income test. However, there is no reference in these proposed amendments to not qualifying for NSA due to employment income. In fact, it may be possible for a sole parent to qualify for PPS but not qualify for NSA due to income from other sources, like savings and investments. The initiative as presented in the Budget[37] stated that the intention was to target those sole parents not entitled to NSA due to employment income.

Benefits of the Pensioner Concession Card

The PCC is a much valued form of assistance for many income support recipients. The benefits of the PCC to a holder are set out in a Parliamentary Library FlagPost publication.[38]

This initiative probably has the same origins as the other initiative for single parents in this Bill, that is, the extension of access to PES to single parents on NSA undertaking qualifying education. Those origins are in the concerns about some single parents suffering a reduction in assistance with recent changes in income support arrangements.[39]

Committee consideration

The Bill has not been referred to Committee for inquiry and report.

Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills

At the time of writing this Bills Digest the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills had not published any comments in relation to the Bill.

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

At the time of writing this Bills Digest the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights had not published any comments in relation to the Bill.

Statement of Compatibility with Human RightsAs required under Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), the Government has assessed the Bill’s compatibility with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of that Act.[40] The Government considers that the Bill is compatible.

Financial implications

The Financial Impact Statement in the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill details that all the measures in the Bill will result in estimated additional expenditure of $0.1 million in
2012–13, $29.7 million in 2013–14, $89.2 million in 2014–15, $88.4 million in 2015–16 and $92.6 million in 2016–17.[41] This is a total of $300 million over five years.

Most of this additional expenditure would be made up of the proposed changes to the allowance income test free area in Schedule 1 of the Bill. In fact, when the initiatives were presented in the 2013–14 Budget, the allowance income test free area initiative was estimated to cost $258 million over four years from 2013–14.[42] The extension of the PCC to eligible single parents was estimated in the Budget papers to cost $2.2 million over four years[43] and likewise the extension of the PES to eligible single parents was estimated to cost $39.7 million over five years.[44]

Key issues and provisions

Schedule 1—Income free areas

Items 1–3 of Schedule 1 of the Bill amend section 1068 of the SSA 1991, which contains Benefit Rate Calculator B in respect of widow allowance, NSA (18 or over), sickness allowance (18 or over), partner allowance, and mature age allowance. The Benefit Rate Calculator sets out various modules including the income test for those allowance rates of payment.[45] Item 1 makes changes to the income test free area, increasing it from $62pf to $100pf.

Item 3 amends points 1068-G15 and 1068‑G16 of the SSA 1991. These provisions set out the ‘lower range reduction’ and ‘upper range reduction’ respectively (the taper rates) that apply to income earned by the allowance recipient. The ‘lower range reduction’ is 50 per cent (that is 50 cents in each $1) of a recipient’s ordinary income excess that does not exceed $188pf. The ‘upper range reduction’ is 60 per cent (that is 60 cents in each $1) of a recipient’s ordinary income excess that exceeds $188pf. What this means is that a person does not currently lose any allowance if they earn up to $62pf. They then lose 50 cents of their allowance for every dollar they earn up to the level of $188pf above the $62. Once the person’s earnings exceed that level (that is, $62 plus $188, which equals $250) they lose 60 cents for every dollar earned above $250pf.

The amendments in item 3 of the Bill continue this arrangement, by adjusting the lower and upper range reduction figures. The lower range reduction of 50 per cent will apply to a recipient’s ordinary income excess that does not exceed $150pf. The upper range reduction of 60 per cent will apply to a recipient’s ordinary income excess that exceeds $150pf. Combined with the amendment made by item 1, this will mean that a recipient will not lose any allowance if they earn up to $100pf. They will then lose 50 cents of their allowance for every dollar they earn up to the level of $150pf above the $100. Once the person’s earnings exceed that level (that is, $100 plus $150, which equals $250) they lose 60 cents for every dollar earned above $250pf. As a result, the income test taper rate of 60 cents in each $1 for income in excess of $250pf remains unchanged.

Item 2 repeals the note after point 1068-G12 and inserts two notes to make clear that the income test free area is indexed to the CPI as set out in sections 1190–1194 in the SSA 1991.

Items 4–6 of Schedule 1 of the Bill amend section 1068B of the SSA 1991 (Benefit PP (Partnered) Rate Calculator) in equivalent terms to items 1–3 above.

Item 8 of Schedule 1 of the Bill amends subsection 1191(1) to add proposed table item 14AAA into the CPI indexation table. This provides for the CPI indexation of the income test free area to be on 1 July of each year. Any increase is to be linked to the reference quarter (the completed March quarter before the 1 July date) and this is to be compared to the March quarter in the previous year. The movement in the CPI between the two March quarters is the annual CPI movement. The comparison of CPI movements between completed quarters over a six or 12 month period is standard methodology in the SSA 1991 in measuring movements in the CPI over a period for indexation purposes.

Item 9 of Schedule 1 of the Bill provides that the first CPI indexation of the income test free area is to occur on 1 July 2015.

Item 10 of Schedule 1 of the Bill provides that the increase in the amount of the income test free area for the allowance rate of payments from $62pf to $100pf, and the related changes to the taper rates is to occur from 20 March 2014.

Schedule 2—Pensioner education supplement and pensioner concession card

Section 1061PJ of the SSA 1991 lists those payments which attract the PES. Item 1 of Schedule 2 of the Bill repeals subsection 1061PJ(2B) of the SSA 1991 and inserts proposed subsections 1061PJ(2B)–1061PJ(2BB). Proposed subsection 1061PJ(2BA) contains equivalent Disability Support Pension provisions for access to a PES as are contained in current subsection 1061PJ(2B). What is added are additional provisions detailing that a PES can be paid to a single parent on NSA who is undertaking qualifying study and is the principal carer of at least one child. Item 2 of Schedule 2 of the Bill makes consequential changes to subsection 1061PJ(2C) of the SSA 1991 to insert references to the subsections proposed at item 1.

Item 3 of Schedule 2 of the Bill inserts proposed section 1061ZDA into the SSA 1991 to provide extended access to a PCC to some former PPS recipients. They are those who have lost PPS qualification as their youngest child has turned eight years of age and they are not qualified to receive any other income support payment. The main reason a sole parent qualifies for PPS—and not another payment for a person of working age—is that the allowance income test is tighter than the pension regime income test. However, there is no reference in these proposed amendments to not qualifying to NSA due to employment income. In fact, it may be possible for a sole parent to qualify for PPS but not qualify for NSA due to income from other sources, like savings and investments. The initiative as presented in the Budget[46] did state the intention was to target those sole parents not entitled to NSA due to employment income.

Concluding comments

The initiatives provided for in this Bill are beneficial and will enhance the benefits of employment participation for income support recipients of working age. The main change is to the NSA income test free area—it is being substantially raised from $62 to $100pf and is also to be indexed once a year to the CPI. This is quite significant given the very meagre enhancements to this area of the income test over the past 20 years. It will be of significant benefit to quite a few NSA and other allowance regime income support recipients.

The other initiatives for single parents to access the PES while on NSA and the extension of access to the PCC for 12 weeks after losing qualification to the PPS seems to be a reaction to concerns about the tightening of access to the PPS for some single parents undertaken in January 2013.[47]

Members, Senators and Parliamentary staff can obtain further information from the Parliamentary Library on (02) 6277 2500.



[1].     Social Security Act 1991, accessed 12 June 2013.

[2].     Income support payments refer to the main government payments provided to a recipient to pay for basic necessities such as food and accommodation—common examples are Age Pension, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment and Disability Support Pension.

[3].     Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, pp. 136–137, accessed 29 May 2013.

[4].     Newstart Allowance is also commonly known as the unemployment benefit.

[5].     A PCC entitles the holder to reduced-cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The PCC may also allow access to various concessions from the Australian Government, which can include bulk billing for doctor's appointments, more refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net, assistance with hearing services through the office of Hearing Services, and discounted mail redirection through Australia Post. More detail on the benefits of the PCC can be seen in the FlagPost published by the Parliamentary Library: M Klapdor, ‘Why the pensioner concession card is so valuable, FlagPost weblog, 15 January 2013, accessed 11 May 2013.

[6].     Parenting Payment-­Single is an income support payment and is more commonly referred to as the Sole Parent Pension. Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013-14,
op. cit., pp. 129–130.

[7].     Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit., p. 130.

[8].     Income test free area refers to the income amount that can be received without reducing the maximum rate of allowance payable.

[9].     Income test taper rate refers to the rate at which the maximum rate of allowance is reduced once income exceeds the income test free area.

[10].   Income test cut–off point refers to the amount of income received at which no allowance is payable.

[11].   Department of Human Services (DHS), A guide to Australian Government payments: 20 March–30 June 2013, DHS, Canberra, 20 March 2013, accessed 30 May 2013.

[12].   C Ey, Social Security payments for the unemployed, the sick and those in special circumstance, 1942 to 2012: a chronology, Background note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 4 December 2012, pp. 44–45, accessed 4 June 2013.

[13].   J Fraser (Minister for Social Services), ‘Second reading speech: Unemployment and Sickness Benefits Bill 1944’, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 February 1944, pp. 49–52, accessed 4 June 2013.

[14].   T H Kewley, Social security in Australia: 1900–1972, second edn, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1973; J Murphy, A decent provision: Australian welfare policy, 1870 to 1949, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Farnham, 2011.

[15].   C Ey, Social Security payments for the unemployed, the sick and those in special circumstance, 1942 to 2012: a chronology, op. cit.

[16].   Social Security Amendment Act 1982, accessed 12 June 2013.

[17].   I Wilson (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Social Security), ‘Second reading speech: Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 1982’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 September 1982, p. 1799, accessed 4 June 2013,

[18].   Social Security Amendment Act 1983, accessed 12 June 2013.

[19].   C Holding (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Social Security), ‘Second reading speech: Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 1983’, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 October 1983, p. 1329, accessed 4 June 2013,

[20].   The effective marginal tax rate (EMTR) refers to the simultaneous effect on a person's net income where income increases and they pay more in income tax and receive less from means tested welfare payments. The EMTR is the percentage of an extra unit of income that the recipient keeps after income taxes are paid and after any decline in welfare entitlements. An EMTR of 70 per cent means for every extra $1 earned, the net the person ends up with in their hand is 30 cents, after income tax has been paid and welfare payment reduced due to the income test.

[22].     B Howe (Minister for Social Security), ‘Second reading speech: Social Security and Repatriation (Budget Measures) Amendment Bill 1985’, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 October 1985, p. 1724, accessed 4 June 2013,

[23].   M Klapdor, Work and study incentives for the unemployed and single parents, Budget review, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 17 May 2013, accessed 4 June 2013.

[24].   General news, ‘Newstart allowance—push for $50 increase’, The Adelaide Advertiser, 27 March 2013, p. 12, accessed 10 June 2013.

[25].   Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), Income support customers: a statistical overview 2011, Statistical paper, 10, FaHCSIA, Canberra, p. 43, accessed 5 June 2013.

[26].   The income support payments provided under the allowance income test regime are NSA, Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance and Partner Allowance.

[27].   NSA rate effective 20 March 2013 to 19 September 2013. This rate does not include the $8.40pf Clean Energy Supplement.

[28].   Ibid.

[29].   Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit.,
pp. 129–130.

[30].   Income support payments refer to the main government payments provided to a recipient to pay for basic necessities such as food and accommodation, op. cit.

[31].   D Daniels and P Yeend, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Welfare to Work and Other Measures) Bill 2005, Bills Digest, 70, 2005–06, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2005, accessed 5 June 2013.

[32].   C Ey, ‘Grandfather’ arrangements for PPS – entitlement or inequity?’, FlagPost weblog, 11 April 2013, accessed 5 June 2013.

[33].   M Klapdor, Social Security Legislation Amendment (Fair Incentives to Work) Bill 2012, Bills Digest, 164, 2011–12, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2012, accessed 5 June 2013.

[34].   For example, S Peatling and A Parkinson, ‘Struggling to see the benefit in welfare shift’, The Sun Herald, 20 January 2013, p. 69, accessed 10 June 2013.

[35].   C Ey, ‘Can single parent families survive on Newstart? It might depend on where they live, FlagPost weblog, 8 January 2013, accessed 5 June 2013.

[36].   Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit., p. 130.

[37].   Ibid., pp. 129–130.

[38].   M Klapdor, ‘Why is the pensioner concession card so valuable, op. cit.

[39].   C Ey, ‘Grandfather’ arrangements for PPS – entitlement or inequity?, op. cit; C Ey, ‘Can single parent families survive on Newstart? It might depend on where they live’, op. cit.

[40].   The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights can be found at pages 8–12 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill.

[41].   Explanatory Memorandum, Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013, p. 3, accessed 12 June 2013.

[42].   Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit.,
pp. 136–137.

[43].   Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit., p. 130.

[44].   Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit.,
pp. 129–130.

[45].   Social Security Act 1991, module G, section 1068, accessed 4 June 2013.

[46].   Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit.,
pp. 129–130.

[47].   C Ey, ‘Grandfather’ arrangements for PPS – entitlement or inequity?, op. cit; C Ey, ‘Can single parent families survive on Newstart? It might depend on where they live’, op. cit.

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