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House of Representatives

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Seniors Health Card and Other Measures) Bill 2014

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP)



Seniors health card

This Bill will implement the Government's election commitment to index income thresholds for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Qualification for the seniors health card depends partly on a person satisfying the seniors health card taxable income test. Under that test, the person's adjusted taxable income must not exceed the taxable income limit that applies to the person's family situation. The taxable income limits are not currently indexed. Introducing indexation means more people will satisfy the seniors health card taxable income test and therefore qualify for the seniors health card.

Indexation of the thresholds will occur annually, starting on 20 September 2014, and will be based on movements in the Consumer Price Index.

This measure applies to the seniors health card under either the Social Security Act 1991 or the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.

Review of decisions

This Bill will bring provisions of the Student Assistance Act 1973 relating to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal into line with similar provisions in the social security and related laws.

Machinery of government changes

The Bill will make minor and technical amendments to several Acts in the social services portfolio to reflect changed public service administrative arrangements.

Aged care amendments

The aged care legislation and the Health and Other Services (Compensation) Act 1995 will also be amended to reflect changed public service administrative arrangements, following the machinery of government changes that occurred on 18 September 2013. These amendments include clarifying and expanding the powers of the Secretary to delegate functions and powers under the Aged Care Act 1997 to specified officers, bodies and other persons.

Definitions and technical corrections

The Bill makes further minor and technical amendments to the Social Security Act 1991, including a restructure of the Part of Act dealing with definitions.

Financial impact statement

It is estimated the seniors health card measure will cost $95.9 million over the forward estimates period.

There are no financial implications from the other amendments in the Bill.

Statement of compatibility with human rights

The statement of compatibility with human rights appears at the end of this explanatory memorandum.

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