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Veterans’ Entitlements Amendment Bill 2018

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2016-2017-2018

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

VETERANS’ ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENT

BILL 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 The Honourable Darren Chester MP)



 

 



VETERANS’ ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENT

BILL 2018

 

OUTLINE AND FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The Explanatory Memorandum to the Veterans’ Entitlements Amendment Bill 2018 provides a description of amendments to the Bill being made.

 

 

Amendments

 

Schedule 1 would replicate previously removed section 36U and it is intended to operate in the same way. The new section 53NAA will authorise the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to deduct an overpayment of a service pension, income support supplement or social security pension from a specified payment paid to the surviving partner, where the partner had the benefit of that overpayment and the overpayment was due to the death of the deceased.

 

A specified payment is a service pension or income support supplement bereavement payment under Part IIIB of the Act.  

 

Section 53NAA commences on Royal Assent and is intended to operate retroactively with effect from 1 January 1996.

 

 

Financial Impact

 

None.



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

VETERANS’ ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENT

BILL 2018

Human rights implications

 

These amendments are compatible with human rights and do not impermissibly derogate from human rights.

 

The Veterans’ Entitlements Amendment Bill 2018 is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the Bill

 

The amendments made by Schedule 1 insert new section 53NAA into the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).  This section replicates previously removed section 36U and it is intended that the new section would operate in the same way. Section 53NAA will authorise the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to deduct an overpayment of a service pension, income support supplement or social security pension from a specified payment paid to the surviving partner, where the partner had the benefit of that overpayment and the overpayment was due to the death of the deceased.

 

A specified payment is a service pension or income support supplement bereavement payment under Part IIIB of the Act.

 

This would reinstate the legislative power for DVA to reduce bereavement payments where an overpayment occurred, as described above, from 1 January 1996.  

 

Human rights implications

 

The Bill engages the right to social security under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).  Article 9 of the ICESCR states that “States Parties … recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance”.  General Comment 19 by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights sets out the essential elements of the right to social security, including that “States parties should … ensure the protection of workers who are injured in the course of employment or other productive work”.

 

The amendment does not derogate from human rights as it does not prohibit or limit access of financial support.  This amendment operates to allow DVA to reduce bereavement payments to the surviving partner, by the same amount that was overpaid to the deceased partner, where the surviving partner has had access to the overpaid amount.  The deduction of an overpayment from a pension or payment the surviving partner received removes the need for DVA to raise a debt and have this paid by the deceased member’s estate during a period of grief.  The deduction of the overpayment is limited to the circumstances where the surviving partner has had access to the overpayment.  Where the overpayment has not been accessed DVA may retrieve the overpayment through alternative methods.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Schedule is compatible with human rights.

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Items 1 to 3 are consequential technical amendments and insert references to section 53NAA in subsections 53K(4), 53L(6) and section 53N in the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).  These amendments will ensure the new provision operates as intended.

 

Item 4 inserts new clause 53NAA to authorise the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to deduct an overpayment of a service pension, income support supplement or social security pension from a specified payment paid to the surviving partner, where the partner had the benefit of that overpayment and the overpayment was due to the death of the deceased.

 

A specified payment is a service pension or income support supplement bereavement payment under Part IIIB of the Act.

 

Service pension refers to: age service pension, invalidity service pension, partner service pension and carer service pension.

 

Item 5 is the application provision and ensures that the new clause has effect from 1 January 1996.