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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2094

(Question No. 660)


Senator Macklin asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 28 February 1984:

(1) Is the Minister for Social Security aware of hardship caused by the cessation of a supplementary allowance received by people on sickness benefits who are forced to spend short periods in hospital but are still required to pay rent on accommodation.

(2) Will the Minister review this section of the Act to ensure that unnecessary hardship is avoided.


Senator Grimes —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) I am aware of the hardship currently caused to some sickness beneficiaries without dependants who are ineligible to receive supplementary allowance (rent assistance) while hospitalised.

(2) Yes. Clause 37 (b) of the recently introduced Social Security and Repatriation Legislation Amendment Bill 1984 would remove this anomalous provision. Passage of the legislation will ensure that no sickness beneficiary is faced with a housing problem because of admission to hospital. It will also ensure equity with hospitalised pensioners in similar circumstances who currently receive rental assistance.