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House of Representatives

Social Security and Veterans' Entitlements Legislation Amendment (One-off Payments and Other Budget Measures) Bill 2008

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Jenny Macklin MP)

Outline and financial impact

This bill gives effect to measures announced in the 2008 Budget to provide extra assistance for certain older Australians, carers and members of the veteran community. The first two measures involve making one-off payments to certain older Australians and carers. The third measure provides for concession cards to remain current for up to 13 weeks while the cardholder travels overseas.

The 2008 payments of $500 to older Australians, which are generally to be paid in June 2008, are as follows:

·
A 2008 one-off payment to people who have reached pension age on or before Budget night 2008 (13 May 2008) and who are receiving income support payments paid under the Social Security Act 1991.
·
A 2008 one-off payment to members of the veteran community who have reached qualifying age on or before 13 May 2008 and who are receiving service pension or income support supplement under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.
·
A 2008 one-off payment to people who are qualified for seniors concession allowance on 13 May 2008 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 13 May 2008 and the person is eligible for the card on 13 May 2008.
·
A 2008 one-off payment to members of the veteran community who are eligible for seniors concession allowance on 13 May 2008 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 13 May 2008 and the person is eligible for the card on 13 May 2008.
·
A 2008 one-off payment to people who are receiving widow allowance, mature age allowance, partner allowance, wife pension or widow B pension for a period that includes 13 May 2008 because of a claim made on or before 13 May 2008.

The 2008 one-off payments for carers, which are also generally to be paid in June 2008, are as follows:

·
A 2008 one-off payment of $1,000 to recipients of carer payment on Budget night 2008 (13 May 2008).
·
A 2008 one-off payment of $1,000 to people receiving wife pension in addition to carer allowance on 13 May 2008.
·
A 2008 one-off payment of $1,000 to people receiving partner service pension in addition to carer allowance on 13 May 2008.
·
A 2008 one-off payment of $1,000 to recipients of carer service pension on 13 May 2008.
·
A 2008 one-off payment to recipients of carer allowance on 13 May 2008, 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 another 2008 Budget measure, to provide for a person's concession card to remain current for a maximum period of 13 weeks when the cardholder leaves Australia temporarily.


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