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Veterans' Entitlements Legislation Amendment (2007 Election Commitments) Bill 2008

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2008

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Veterans’ Entitlements Legislation Amendment

(2007 Election Commitments) Bill 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs,

The Honourable Alan Griffin MP)



 

Table of Contents

 

 

Outline and Financial Impact …………………………………………………….             ii

           

Preliminary

 

1                     Short Title  ..........................................................................................           iii

2                     Commencement  .................................................................................           iii

3                     Schedule(s)  ........................................................................................           iii

 

 

Schedule 1 -   Extension of the automatic grant of certain pensions                               1                                                                                                                                          

Schedule 2 -   Extending income support supplement to all war widows/                       3

war widowers                                                                                                           

 

Schedule 3 -   Extension of disability pension bereavement payments                             10

 

 



 

VETERANS’ ENTITLEMENTS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(2007 ELECTION COMMITMENTS) BILL 2008

 

OUTLINE AND FINANCIAL IMPACT

This Bill gives effect to a number of the election commitments made during the 2007 election campaign.

 

Extension of the automatic grant of certain pensions

 

Schedule 1 makes amendments to the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) to extend the automatic grant of pension, payable under Part II or IV, to the eligible dependant of a veteran or a member, where the veteran or member immediately before his or her death, was in receipt of intermediate rate disability pension or temporary special rate disability pension.

 

Financial Impact                               2007-08                       $0.0 m

                                                            2008-09                       $0.7 m

                                                            2009-10                       $1.5 m

                                                            2010-11                       $2.3 m

 

Extending income support supplement to all war widows/war widowers

 

Schedule 2 makes amendments to the VEA to extend eligibility for income support supplement to a person who is a war widow or war widower who is under qualifying age, and has no dependent child or children, is not permanently incapacitated for work and is not the partner of a person receiving an income support pension.   

 

Financial Impact                               2007-08                       $0.6 m

                                                            2008-09                       $5.3 m

                                                            2009-10                       $4.9 m

                                                            2010-11                       $5.1 m

 

Extension of disability pension bereavement payments

 

Schedule 3 makes amendments to the VEA to extend the 12 week bereavement payment to the estate of single veterans or members in receipt of special rate or extreme disablement adjustment disability pension who die in indigent circumstances.

 

Financial Impact                                2007-08                       $0.0 m

                                                            2008-09                       $0.1 m                        

                                                            2009-10                       $0.1 m

                                                            2010-11                       $0.1 m

 



 

 

 

 

Veterans’ Entitlements Legislation Amendment

(2007 Election Commitments) Bill 2008

 

Preliminary

 

Short Title

 

Clause 1 sets out how the Act is to be cited.

 

Commencement

 

Clause 2 sets out the commencement date of the Act.

 

Schedules

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the items of that Schedule, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

 

 

 



 

Schedule 1 - Extension of the automatic grant of certain pensions

 

Overview

 

Schedule 1 makes amendments to the VEA to extend the automatic grant of pension, payable under Part II or IV, to the eligible dependant of a veteran or a member, where the veteran or member immediately before his or her death, was in receipt of intermediate rate disability pension or temporary special rate disability pension.

 

Background

 

The VEA currently provides for the automatic grant of pension, payable under Part II or IV of the VEA, to the eligible dependant of a veteran or member, where the veteran or member immediately before his or her death, was in receipt of, or was considered to be in receipt of, by virtue of subsections 13(3) and 70(3) of the VEA:

 

  • extreme disablement adjustment disability pension;
  • special rate disability pension;
  • general rate disability pension increased by an amount specified in items 1 to 8 of the Table in subsection 27(1);
  • intermediate rate disability pension increased by an amount specified in items 1 to 8 of the Table in subsection 27(1);
  • temporary special rate disability pension increased by an amount specified in items 1 to 8 of the Table in subsection 27(1); or

 

the veteran was a former prisoner of war. 

 

Explanation of the changes

 

This measure will provide for the automatic grant of pension, payable under Part II or IV of the VEA, to the eligible dependant of a veteran or member, where the veteran or member immediately before his or her death, was in receipt of intermediate rate disability pension payable under section 23 of the VEA or temporary special rate disability pension payable under section 25 of the VEA.   Pension will also be granted to an eligible dependant automatically where intermediate rate or temporary special rate disability pension is granted after the death of the veteran or member, but from a date before their death.  For the purposes of this measure, an eligible dependant of a veteran or member is a non-illness separated spouse, a widow or widower or a child or children of a deceased veteran or member. 

 

This measure will apply in respect of veteran or member deaths occurring on or after 1 July 2008.  



 

 

Explanation of the items

 

Item 1 amends subparagraph 13(2)(c)(i)  by omitting “section 24” and substituting “section 23, 24 or 25”.  This amendment will provide that where a veteran has died, and the veteran’s death was not war-caused, and the veteran was receiving intermediate rate or temporary special rate disability pension, then the Commonwealth is, subject to the VEA, liable to pay pensions by way of compensation to the dependants of the veteran. 

 

Item 2 amends subparagraph 13(2)(c)(ii) by omitting “, 23 or 25”.  References to these sections are no longer appropriate in this provision.

 

Item 3 amends subparagraph 13A(1)(c)(i)  by omitting “section 24” and substituting “section 23, 24 or 25”.  This amendment will provide that where a veteran has died, and the veteran’s death was not war or defence-caused, and the veteran was receiving intermediate rate or temporary special rate disability pension immediately before their death, a pension is payable to the dependant of the veteran without the need for a claim or for the Commission to make a determination about the claim. 

 

Section 13 also applies equally to the death of a member by virtue of section 71 of the VEA. 

 

Item 4 amends subparagraph 13A(1)(c)(ii) by omitting “, 23 or 25”.  References to these sections are no longer appropriate in this provision.

 

Item 5 amends subparagraph 70(2)(c)(i)  by omitting “section 24” and substituting “section 23, 24 or 25”.  This amendment will provide that where a member has died, and the member’s death was not defence-caused, and the member was receiving intermediate rate or temporary special rate disability pension, then the Commonwealth is, subject to the VEA, liable to pay pensions by way of compensation to the dependants of the member. 

 

Item 6 amends subparagraph 70(2)(c)(ii) by omitting “, 23 or 25”.  References to these sections are no longer appropriate in this provision.

 

Item 7 is an application provision to ensure that the amendments made by this Schedule, apply in relation to deaths of veterans or members occurring on or after the commencement of this Schedule. 

 

Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that Schedule 1 commences on 1 July 2008.



 

Schedule 2 - Extending income support supplement to all war widows/ war widowers

 

Overview

 

Schedule 2 makes amendments to the VEA to extend eligibility for income support supplement to a person who is a war widow or war widower who is under qualifying age, and has no dependent child or children, is not permanently incapacitated for work and is not the partner of a person receiving an income support pension .   

 

Background

 

Under the existing legislation, a person is eligible for income support supplement if the person is a war widow or war widower and the person has reached qualifying age, has a dependent child, is permanently incapacitated for work in accordance with a determination under section 45AA of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 , or is partnered and the person’s partner is receiving a service pension, income support supplement or social security pension.  Persons under age pension age, receiving income support supplement on the grounds of permanent incapacity, receive a tax exempt payment.  The beneficial tax treatment of income support supplement on the grounds of permanent incapacity will be retained. 

 

 

Explanation of the changes

 

These amendments will extend eligibility for income support supplement to a person who is a war widow or war widower who has not reached qualifying age and has no dependent child or children, is not permanently incapacitated for work and is not the partner of a person receiving an income support pension.  This will in effect make redundant most current eligibility criteria for income support supplement and will mean that a person is eligible for income support supplement if the person is a war widow or war widower.   This will result in existing and future war widows and war widowers, under qualifying age, becoming eligible for income support supplement on and from 1 July 2008. 

 

These changes to the VEA will repeal the now superfluous eligibility criteria that currently requires a person to have reached qualifying age, have a dependent child, be permanently incapacitated for work or have a partner receiving an income support pension.  The amendments will also enable the Commission to, when determining a person’s claim for income support supplement, determine whether income support supplement is payable on the grounds of permanently incapacity.  This will enable persons who are under age pension age and permanently incapacitated for work to continue to benefit from the tax exempt status granted in relation to income support supplement payable on these grounds.  The emphasis relating to permanent incapacity is shifted from an eligibility criterion to the determination process. 



 

Explanation of the items

 

Part 1 - Main amendments

 

Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

 

Item 1 repeals section 45A and substitutes a new section 45A.  New section 45A provides that a person is eligible for income support supplement if the person is a war widow or war widower.  The previous additional eligibility requirements are repealed. 

 

Item 2 repeals section 45AA.  This section enabled the Commission to specify the circumstances under which a person can be considered permanently incapacitated for work.  The section is repealed as this eligibility requirement is no longer relevant.  However, permanent incapacity will be a matter that is determined as part of the claim determination process and new section 45QA, inserted by item 4, relocates and replicates the repealed section 45AA.

 

Item 3 inserts a new paragraph at the end of subsection 45Q(4).  New paragraph 45Q(4)(c) provides that, when determining a claim for income support supplement where the person’s claim states that the person is permanently incapacitated for work , the Commission must determine whether it is satisfied that the person is permanently incapacitated for work in accordance with the circumstances determined by legislative instrument under new section 45QA.  If the Commission is satisfied that the person’s circumstances comply with those set out in the determination under new section 45QA, the Commission must determine that income support supplement is payable to the person on the grounds of permanent incapacity. 

 

Item 4 inserts a new section 45QA after section 45Q.  New section 45QA relocates the provision that had appeared as section 45AA.  New subsection 45QA (1) provides that the Commission must determine the circumstances in which persons are permanently incapacitated for work.  The determination will be a legislative instrument and used for the purposes of new subparagraph 45Q(4)(c)(ii). 

 

New subsection 45QA(2) provides that the Commission may, also by legislative instrument, vary or revoke a determination under new subsection 45QA(1). 

 

Item 5 is a transitional provision.  The provision ensures that a determination in force under section 45Q before the commencement of this Schedule, in relation to a person’s entitlement to income support supplement, continues in force after the commencement of this Schedule.  The item also ensures that, if a determination in force under section 45Q before the commencement of this Schedule, referred to the person being eligible for the supplement because the person was permanently incapacitated for work, then the supplement continues to be payable to the person on the grounds of permanent incapacity after the commencement of this Schedule.  Finally, the item notes that Section 52-65 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 provides for income support supplement to be exempt from income tax in certain situations if the supplement is received on the grounds of permanent incapacity. 

 

Item 6 is a transitional provision to ensure that a determination in force under section 45AA of the VEA immediately before the commencement of this Schedule, specifying the circumstances in which persons are permanently incapacitated for work, continues in force after the commencement of this Schedule as if it were a determination under new section 45QA of the VEA.  This will further ensure that persons entitled to and receiving income support supplement on the grounds of permanent incapacity before the commencement of this Schedule, continue to be entitled to and receive income support supplement on the grounds of permanent incapacity after the commencement of this Schedule. 

 

Item 7 is an application provision.  The provision makes it clear that the amendment of section 45Q of the VEA applies in relation to claims made after the commencement of this Schedule and to claims made before the commencement of this Schedule that had not been determined before the commencement of this Schedule.  This provision will not disadvantage any war widow or war widower as the new eligibility regime is more lenient than the previous regime. 

 

Part 2 - Consequential amendments

 

Social Security Act 1991

 

Item 8 amends subparagraph 1061PZG(1)(b)(iii) of the Social Security Act 1991 (SSA) by omitting the words “granted on the ground set out in subparagraph 45A(1)(b)(iii) of that Act” and substitutes the words “on the grounds of permanent incapacity”.  This amendment reflects the repeal of subparagraph 45A(1)(b)(iii) from the VEA.

 

Item 9 amends subparagraph 1209M(2)(a)(iii) of the SSA by omitting the words “granted on the ground set out in subparagraph 45A(1)(b)(iii) of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act” and substitutes the words “under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act on the grounds of permanent incapacity”.   This amendment reflects the repeal of subparagraph 45A(1)(b)(iii) from the VEA.

 

Item 10 amends subparagraph 1209Z(1)(b)(iii) of the SSA by omitting “subsection 45A(2)” and substituting “section 5Q”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 11 amends subparagraph 1209ZB(1)(b)(iii) of the SSA by omitting “subsection 45A(2)” and substituting “section 5Q”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

 

Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

 

Item 12 amends subsection 5H(9) of the VEA by omitting the words “referred to in subsection 45A(2)”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1). This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 13 adds a Note at the end of subsection 5H(9) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 14 amends subsection 5J(1D) of the VEA by omitting the words “referred to in subsection 45A(2)”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 15 adds a note at the end of subsection 5J(1D) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 16 repeals the note at the end of subsection 5LA(4) and substitutes a new note advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 17 amends subsection 5NB(1) by omitting the words “within the meaning of subsection 45A(2)” from paragraph (c) of the definition of compensation affected pension .  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 18 amends subsection 5NB(1) by omitting “within the meaning of subsection 45A(2)” from subparagraphs (d)(ii), (e)(ii) and (f)(ii) of the definition of compensation affected pension .  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 19 is a technical amendment to number Note 1.

 

Item 20 adds a new Note 2 at the end of the definition of compensation affected pension in subsection 5NB(1) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 21 amends the note after the definition of pension age in subsection 5Q(1) by omitting “subsection 45A(2)” and substituting “section 5Q”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 22 amends subparagraph 45N(1)(bb)(iii) by omitting the words “(see subsection (1A))”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 23 adds a Note to the end of paragraph 45N(1)(bb) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 24 repeals subsection 45N(1A) which contained a definition of qualifying age .  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 25 repeals the definition of qualifying age from section 45TA.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 26 adds a note at the end of subsection 45TB(3) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q. 

 

Item 27 amends subsection 52(1A) by omitting the words “referred to in subsection 45A(2)”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 28 adds a note at the end of subsection 52(1A) advising that the definition of qualifying age is in section 5Q.

 

Item 29 adds a new note 5 at the end of subsections 52ZA(1) and 52ZA(2) advising that the definition of qualifying age is in section 5Q.

 

Item 30 repeals subsection 52ZA(4) which contained a definition for qualifying age .

 

Item 31 amends subparagraph 52ZZZWA(2)(a)(ii) by omitting the words “on the ground set out in subparagraph 45A(1)(b)(iii)” and substituting the words “and be permanently incapacitated for work in the circumstances set out in a determination under section 45QA”.  This amendment reflects the repeal of subparagraph 45A(1)(b)(iii) from the VEA.

 

Item 32 amends subparagraph 52ZZZWL(1)(b)(ii) by omitting the words “within the meaning of subsection 45A(2)”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 33 inserts a new note 3A after note 3 at the end of subsection 52ZZZWL(1) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q. 

 

Item 34 amends subparagraph 52ZZZWN(1)(b)(ii) by omitting the words “within the meaning of subsection 45A(2)”.  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Item 35 inserts a new note 3A after note 3 at the end of subsection 52ZZZWN(1) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q. 

 

Item 36 inserts a new note 1A after note 1 at the end of subsection 59M(1) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q. 

 

Item 37 inserts a new note at the end of subsection 118PA(2) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q. 

 

Item 38 inserts a new note 4A after note 4 at the end of subsection 118V(1A) advising that the definition for qualifying age is in section 5Q. 

 

Item 39 repeals subsection 118V(4A).  This amendment reflects the relocation of the definition of qualifying age within the VEA.  Item 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Act 2008 inserted a definition for qualifying age in subsection 5Q(1).  This Bill repeals the definition for qualifying age from sections 45A, 45N, 45TA, 52ZA and 118V. 

 

Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that Schedule 2 commences on 1 July 2008.

 

 

 



 

Schedule 3 - Extension of disability pension bereavement payments

 

Overview

 

Schedule 3 makes amendments to the VEA to extend the 12 week bereavement payment to the estate of single veterans or members in receipt of special rate or extreme disablement adjustment disability pension who die in indigent circumstances.

 

Background

 

Currently under the VEA, the widow or widower of veterans or members in receipt of disability pension receive a bereavement payment of 12 weeks of disability pension upon the death of the veteran or member.  This payment is designed to assist the person to gradually adjust to his or her financial situation and to defray costs associated with the bereavement. 

 

Explanation of the changes

 

This measure will extend the 12 week disability pension bereavement payment to the estate of single veterans or members in receipt of special rate disability pension or extreme disablement adjustment disability pension who die in indigent circumstances.  A person is considered to have died in indigent circumstances if the value of the person’s estate is not sufficient to cover all financial liabilities including funeral expenses.  It is intended that a claim will be required for the bereavement payment as the Department will not be aware of the circumstances of the veteran or member and the bereavement payment will be made only to the estate of the deceased veteran or member.  The payment will be tax exempt.  The bereavement payment will be made in addition to a funeral benefit which is also payable to indigent veterans or members as a contribution toward funeral costs.  Decisions made in relation to the payment of the new bereavement payment will be reviewable, initially by the Commission and then by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.  The amendments to the VEA will apply in respect of deaths occurring on or after 1 July 2008. 

 

Explanation of the items

 

Income Tax Assessment Act 1997

 

Item 1 inserts new item 14.2 after item 14.1 in the table in Section 52-65 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 .  This amendment provides that the new disability pension bereavement payment to certain single veterans or members is exempt from income tax.  

 

Item 2 inserts new item 14A after item 14 in the table in Section 52-75 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 .  This amendment will include new section 98AA in the table that lists the provisions of the VEA under which payments are made that are wholly or partly exempt from income tax.



 

Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

 

Item 3 inserts new section 98AA after section 98A of the VEA.  New subsection 98AA(1) provides that the Commission must pay a bereavement payment to the estate of a deceased veteran or member if:

 

·          immediately before the veteran or member died the veteran or member was single and was a veteran or member to whom subsection 22(4) or section 24 applied; and

·          the veteran or member died in indigent circumstances and an application has been made for the bereavement payment. 

 

An application for bereavement payment must be made in accordance with section 111 and 112 of the VEA.  The amount of the bereavement payment is worked out in accordance with new subsection 98AA(2). 

 

The current and new provisions apply equally to a member of the Forces or a member of a Peacekeeping Force by virtue of section 96 of the VEA.

 

New subsection 98AA(2) provides that the amount of the bereavement payment is 6 times the fortnightly amount of pension that would have been payable to the veteran or member on the next pension pay day, had the veteran or member not died.

 

The heading to section 98A is altered by inserting “ partnered, ” before “ disabled veterans ”. 

 

Item 4 amends subsection 111(1) by inserting the word “, payments” after the word “allowances”. 

 

Item 5 amends subsection 111(1) by inserting a new paragraph 111(1)(ba).  This new paragraph includes a bereavement payment under section 98AA as a benefit to which section 111 applies. 

 

Item 6 inserts a new subsection 112(1A) before subsection 112(1) to provide that an application for bereavement payment under new section 98AA must be made within 12 months of the death of the veteran or member.

 

Item 7 amends subsection 112(4) by inserting new paragraph 112(4)(aa) to provide that an application for bereavement payment under new section 98AA is of no force or effect if the application is made more than 12 months after the death of the veteran or member.

 

Item 8 adds the word “or” to the end of paragraph 112(4)(a).

 

Item 9 inserts “(1A)” after the word “subsection” in subsection 112(4).

 

Item 10 adds the word “or” to the end of paragraph 115(1)(a).

 

Item 11 amends subsection 115(1) by inserting a new paragraph 115(1)(aa) after paragraph 115(1)(a).  New paragraph 115(1)(aa) includes a decision in relation to bereavement payment under 98AA as a decision for which a review by the Commission may be requested.   

 

Item 12 adds the word “or” to the end of paragraphs 115(1)(b), (c), (d) and (e).

 

Item 13 amends paragraph 119(1)(ee) by inserting “, payment” after the word “allowance”. 

 

Item 14 amends the definition of application in paragraph 119(2)(d) by inserting

“, payment” after the word “allowance”. 

 

Item 15 amends subsection 175(4) by inserting “, payment” after the word “allowance”. 

 

Item 16 contains two application provisions.  Subitem 16(1) provides that the amendments made by this Schedule to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 apply in relation to bereavement payments received during the 2008-09 income year and later income years.

 

Subitem 16(2) provides that the amendments to the VEA made by this Schedule, apply in relation to deaths of veterans and members that occur on or after 1 July 2008. 

 

Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that Schedule 3 commences on 1 July 2008.