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House of Representatives

Social Security and Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (One-off Payments and Other 2007 Budget Measures) Bill 2007

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Mal Brough MP)

Outline and financial impact statement

Outline

This Bill gives effect to measures announced in the 2007 Budget to provide extra assistance for certain older Australians, carers and members of the veteran community. The first and second measures involve one-off payments to be made to certain older Australians and certain carers. The third measure provides a one-off compensation payment to certain veteran and civilian prisoners of war interned in Europe during World War Two or their surviving widows or widowers. The fourth measure increases the amount of funeral benefits payable in respect of veterans. The fifth measure increases the rate of veterans' special rate and intermediate rate disability pension. The sixth measure extends backdating periods in relation to war widow/widower pensions.

The 2007 payments to older Australians, which are generally to be paid in June 2007, are as follows:

·
A 2007 one-off payment to persons who have reached pension age on or before Budget night 2007 (8 May 2007) and who are receiving income support payments paid under the Social Security Act 1991 .
·
A 2007 one-off payment to members of the veteran community who have reached qualifying age on or before 8 May 2007 and who are receiving service pension or income support supplement under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 .
·
A 2007 one-off payment to persons who are currently qualified for seniors concession allowance on 8 May 2007 under the Social Security Act 1991 or would so qualify because the person has lodged a claim for the seniors health card on or before 8 May 2007 and the person is eligible for the card on 8 May 2007.
·
A 2007 one-off payment to members of the veteran community who are currently eligible for seniors concession allowance on 8 May 2007 under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1996 or would be so eligible because the person has lodged a claim for the seniors health card on or before 8 May 2007 and the person is eligible for the card on 8 May 2007.
·
A 2007 one-off payment to persons who are receiving a widow allowance, a mature age allowance, or a partner allowance for a period that includes 8 May 2007 because of a claim made on or before 8 May 2007.

The 2007 one-off payments for carers, which are generally to be paid in June 2007, are as follows:

·
A 2007 one-off payment of $1,000 to recipients of carer payment on Budget night 2007 (8 May 2007).
·
A 2007 one-off payment of $1,000 to people receiving wife pension in addition to carer allowance on 8 May 2007.
·
A 2007 one-off payment of $1,000 to people receiving partner service pension in addition to carer allowance on 8 May 2007.
·
A 2007 one-off payment of $1,000 to recipients of carer service pension on 8 May 2007.
·
A 2007 one-off payment to recipients of carer allowance on 8 May 2007, generally payable as an amount of $600 for each person being cared for who attracts carer allowance.

The Bill contains provisions to enable administrative schemes to be established in relation to the one-off payments. In broad terms, the purpose of the administrative scheme will be to provide payments in circumstances where the statutory one-off payments regime does not produce an appropriate result. The relevant Ministers will determine the details of the scheme by legislative instrument.

This Bill also gives effect to various 2007 Budget measures to assist certain members of the veteran community. Specifically, the Bill will:

·
provide for a once-only compensation payment to veteran and civilian prisoners of war interned by enemy forces in Europe during World War Two, or their surviving widows or widowers generally to be paid in June 2007;
·
increase the maximum amount of funeral benefit payable from $1000 to $2000 in respect of deaths occurring on or after 1 July 2007;
·
increase the amount of special rate and intermediate rate disability pension from 3 July 2007; and
·
from 1 July 2007, extend the maximum backdating period in relation to claims for war widow/widower pension from three to six months for those persons who claim within six months of the death of their veteran partner.

Financial impact statement

Measure Total resourcing
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
One-off payment for older Australians*
   FaCSIA $1,119.6m $ 11.3m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m
   DVA $142.9m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m
   DEWR $58.2m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m
   TOTAL $1,320.7m $ 11.3m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m
One-off payment for carers* $390.3m $3.9m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m
Compensation payments in respect of certain World War Two internments $41.3m $15.9m $0.0m $0.0m $0.0m
Increase in veterans' funeral benefits $0.0m $10.1m $9.9m $10.1m $9.8m
Increase in rates of certain veterans' pensions $0.0m $37.9m $39.6m $40.6m $41.4m
Backdating of war widow and widower pensions $0.0m $1.6m $1.4 m $1.4m $1.4m

* Departmental costs have not been included.


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