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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1499

Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (18:20): In relation to the rationale, the 'intent to claim' provisions were introduced at a time when claim forms were mailed to claimants, completed by the claimants and then returned by mail to the Department of Human Services. With the advent of technology that allows people to gather and submit documentation quickly and easily, this level of assistance is no longer necessary or appropriate. These provisions allowed leniency for claimants by effectively backdating their entitlement to payment to the date they initially contacted the Department of Human Services and indicated their intention to claim. The purpose of removing these provisions is to encourage claimants to take greater personal responsibility for understanding their payment entitlements and to submit claims in a timely fashion. But, as I have already stated, there are protections that will apply to vulnerable claimants.

Claimants in vulnerable circumstances who have a genuine difficulty in providing documents with the claim will be able to complete the claim and provide the required documents after completing and lodging the claim. I've gone through the examples of vulnerable circumstances. They include crisis situations where the claimant is homeless, affected by a major disaster, affected by family and domestic violence, is a recent humanitarian entrant to Australia or has recently been released from prison or psychiatric confinement. Vulnerable circumstances may also relate to situations where the claimant is a younger person applying on the basis that it is unreasonable to live at home, is caring for someone with a terminal illness, is aged under 18 and in the care of another person, is blind, has a partner with a residential aged-care assessment or an assessment is in progress or has a partner and they are illness separated. DHS will be able to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a claimant is in vulnerable circumstances and unable to provide documents with the claim.