Title Social Security Amendment (COVID-19 Supplement) Bill 2020
Database Explanatory Memoranda
Date 09-11-2020 11:16 AM
Source Senate
System Id legislation/ems/s1275_ems_e69053ae-c85c-4dba-ae4e-32467e50500e


Social Security Amendment (COVID-19 Supplement) Bill 2020

 

 

 

 

2019-2020

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

Social Security Amendment (COVID-19 Supplement) Bill 2020

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Siewert)


Social Security Amendment (COVID-19 Supplement) Bill 2020

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Social Security Amendment (COVID-19 Supplement) Bill 2020 is to retain the coronavirus supplement at the rate of $550 a fortnight for recipients of JobSeeker Payment; Partner Allowance; Widow Allowance; Youth Allowance; Austudy; ABSTUDY Living Allowance; Parenting Payment; Farm Household Allowance, and Special Benefit.

 

The Bill also extends eligibility for the coronavirus supplement to Disability Support Pension recipients and Age Pensioners receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

 

The rate of the coronavirus supplement of $550 will be back dated to 25 September 2020 and extended until 28 March 2021 to align with the JobKeeper Payments.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

1.      This clause is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

Clause 2: Commencement

2.      This clause provides for the commencement of the Act. It provides that the whole of this Act will commence on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Clause 3: Schedules

3.      This clause provides that an Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule, and any other item in a Schedule operates according to its terms.

Schedule 1—Maintaining the COVID‑19 supplement

Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020

Item 1

4.      This item prevents the Minister for Social Services from modifying the Social Security Act 1991 through an instrument that decreases the amount of the COVID-19 supplement or removes the COVID-19 supplement.


 

Social Security Act 1991

Item 2

5.      This item specifies that the initial period during which the COVID-19 supplement applies is from the period beginning on 25 March 2020 and ending on 28 March 2021 for those receiving a parenting payment.

Item 3

6.      This item specifies that the COVID-19 supplement will be paid at the rate of $550 a fortnight for those receiving a parenting payment.

Item 4

7.      This item repeals subsections 504(5) to (8) to prevent the Minister for Social Services from making separate instruments that would decrease or remove the COVID-19 supplement for those receiving a parenting payment during the initial period.

Item 5

8.      This item specifies that the initial period during which the COVID-19 supplement applies is from the period beginning on 25 March 2020 and ending on 28 March 2021 for those receiving youth allowance.

 

Item 6

9.      This item specifies that the COVID-19 supplement will be paid at the rate of $550 a fortnight for those receiving youth allowance.

 

Item 7

10.  This item repeals subsections 557(5) to (8) to prevent the Minister for Social Services from making separate instruments that would decrease or remove the COVID-19 supplement for those receiving youth allowance during the initial period.

Item 8

11.  This item specifies that the initial period during which the COVID-19 supplement applies is from the period beginning on 25 March 2020 and ending on 28 is March 2021 for those receiving jobseeker payment.


 

Item 9

12.  This item specifies that the COVID-19 supplement will be paid at the rate of $550 a fortnight for those receiving jobseeker payment.

Item 10

13.  This item repeals subsections 646(5) to (8) to prevent the Minister for Social Services from making separate instruments that would decrease or remove the COVID-19 supplement for those receiving jobseeker payment during the initial period.

Item 11

14.  This item clarifies that the amendments made by this Schedule to the Social Security Act 1991 will be back dated to 25 September 2020.

 

Schedule 2—Expanding eligibility for the COVID‑19 supplement

Social Security Act 1991

Item 1

1.      This item adds a new section that specifies that if a person is receiving an age pension and rent assistance then the rate of the person’s age pension is increased by the amount of the COVID-19 supplement. It outlines that the rate of the COVID-19 supplement will be paid at $550 a fortnight from the period beginning 25 September 2020 and ending 28 March 2021, or when those receiving jobseeker payment under section 646 are no longer paid the COVID-19 supplement.

Item 2

2.      This item adds a new section that specifies that if a person is receiving a disability support pension then the rate of the person’s disability support pension is increased by the amount of the COVID-19 supplement. It outlines that the rate of the COVID-19 supplement will be paid at $550 a fortnight from the period beginning 25 September 2020 and ending 28 March 2021, or when those receiving jobseeker payment under section 646 are no longer paid the COVID-19 supplement.

Item 3

3.      This item adds a new section that specifies that the rate of the coronavirus supplement for austudy payment; partner allowance; widow allowance; special benefit; and ABSTUDY payment will be paid at $550 a fortnight for the period beginning 25 September 2020 and ending 28 March 2021, or when those receiving jobseeker payment under section 646 are no longer paid the COVID-19 supplement.


 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

 

Social Security Amendment (COVID-19 Supplement) Bill 2020

This Bill 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

This Bill retains the coronavirus supplement at the rate of $550 a fortnight for recipients of JobSeeker Payment; Partner Allowance; Widow Allowance; Youth Allowance; Austudy; ABSTUDY Living Allowance; Parenting Payment; Farm Household Allowance, and Special Benefit. The Bill also extends eligibility for the coronavirus supplement to Disability Support Pension recipients and Age Pensioners receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

 

Human rights implications

This Bill engages the following human rights:

Right to social security

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises the right of everyone to social security.

This Bill will promote the right to social security by increasing the amount of financial support for recipients of JobSeeker Payment; Partner Allowance; Widow Allowance; Youth Allowance; Austudy; ABSTUDY Living Allowance; Parenting Payment; Farm Household Allowance, Special Benefit; Disability Support Pension; and Age Pensioners receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance. It will retain the coronavirus supplement at $550 a fortnight between 25 September 2020 and 28 March 2021 while unemployment rates are predicted to remain high.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights because it generally advances human rights and to the extent that it may limit human rights, those limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

 

Senator Rachel Siewert