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A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to veterans’ entitlements, and for related purposes
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Introduced HR 25 Mar 2004

Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Direct Deductions and Other Measures) Bill 2004
First Reading

Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Direct Deductions and Other Measures) Bill 2004
First Reading

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2002-2003-2004

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Presented and read a first time

Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Direct Deductions and Other Measures) Bill 2004

No. , 2004

(Veterans' Affairs)

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to veterans' entitlements, and for related purposes

Contents

1       Short title 1

2       Commencement 1

3       Schedule(s) 3

Schedule 1--Amendment of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986       4

Part 1--Direct deduction arrangements       4

Part 2--Victoria Cross allowance       6

Part 3--Automatic grant of income support supplement to age pensioners and wife pensioners       9

Part 4--Calculation of disability pension arrears       11

Part 5--Partner service pension for Norfolk Island residents       12

Part 6--Calculation of rent assistance       13

Part 7--Reduction in pension arrears resulting from partner's receipt of service pension       14

Part 8--Value of financial assets for purposes of deeming rules       15

Part 9--Deemed income and actual income from accrued returns       16

Part 10--Means test exemption of certain superannuation assets       17

Part 11--Income and assets test treatment of ATO small superannuation accounts and private rental income       18

Part 12--Ceiling rate service pension       19

Part 13--Offences       20

Part 14--Disposal of income and assets       21

Part 15--Compensation recovery provisions       22

Part 16--Minor and technical amendments       24

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to veterans' entitlements, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1 Short title

        This Act may be cited as the Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Direct Deductions and Other Measures) Act 2004.

2 Commencement

       (1) Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)


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Commencement

Date/Details

1. Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


2. Schedule 1, items 1 to 10

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


3. Schedule 1, items 11 and 12

1 July 2004.

1 July 2004

4. Schedule 1, item 13

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


5. Schedule 1, item 14

1 July 2004.

1 July 2004

6. Schedule 1, items 15 to 24

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


7. Schedule 1, Part 6

Immediately after the commencement of Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004.


8. Schedule 1, Parts 7, 8, 9 and 10


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The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


9. Schedule 1, items 38 to 40

1 July 1995.

1 July 1995

10. Schedule 1, item 41

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


11. Schedule 1, item 42

1 July 1995.

1 July 1995

12. Schedule 1, Parts 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


Note:       This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally passed by the Parliament and assented to. It will not be expanded to deal with provisions inserted in this Act after assent.

       (2) Column 3 of the table contains additional information that is not part of this Act. Information in this column may be added to or edited in any published version of this Act.

3 Schedule(s)

        Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1--Amendment of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

Part 1--Direct deduction arrangements

1 Subsection 5Q(1) (definition of Pension)

Omit "and Schedule 6", substitute ", section 122B and Schedule 6".

2 Sections 58G and 58H

Repeal the sections.

3 Section 58JA

Repeal the section.

4 After section 122A

Insert:

122B Direct deductions at person's request

 
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     (1) This section applies if a person is receiving instalments of a pension, allowance or other pecuniary benefit payable under this Act of a class approved by the Commission for the purposes of this section.

       (2) The person may request the Commission to make deductions from the instalments for the purpose of making:

       (a) payments to the Commissioner of Taxation; or

       (b) payments in a class approved by the Commission for the purposes of this section.

       (3) The request must be in the form approved by the Commission for the purposes of this section.

       (4) If a request is made:

       (a) the Commission may make the requested deductions; and

       (b) if it does so--the Commission must pay the amounts deducted in accordance with the request.

       (5) The Commission may, for the purposes of this section, approve:

       (a) classes of pensions; and

       (b) classes of allowances; and

       (c) classes of pecuniary benefits; and

       (d) classes of payments.

The approval must be in writing.

       (6) An approval under subsection (5) is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

5 Transitional

(1)       In this item:

amended Act means the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 as amended by this Part.

commencement time means the time at which the amendments made by this Part commence.

(2)       For the purposes of the amended Act, the Commission is taken to have approved, at the commencement time, pensions payable under Part III or Part IIIA of the amended Act as a class of pensions under section 122B of that Act.

(3)       If an approval of a class of payments under section 58JA of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 was in force just before the commencement time, the approval is taken, for the purposes of the amended Act, to be an approval of that class of payments by the Commission under section 122B of the amended Act that was made at the commencement time.

(4)       If a request was in force under section 58H or 58JA of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 just before the commencement time, it is taken, for the purposes of the amended Act, to be a request made at the commencement time under section 122B of the amended Act.

Part 2--Victoria Cross allowance

6 Subsection 102(2)

Repeal the subsection.

7 Subsection 102(5) (at the end of paragraph (a) of the definition of eligible decorations)

Add:

       (xiv) the Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division) (1919-1958);

       (xv) the Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division) with Gallantry Emblem (1958-1974);

       (xvi) the Victoria Cross for Australia;

       (xvii) the Star of Gallantry;

       (xviii) the Medal for Gallantry; and

8 Subsection 102(5) (at the end of paragraph (b) of the definition of eligible decoration)

Add "and".

9 Subsection 102(6)

Repeal the subsection.

10 Subsection 103(1)

After "the Victoria Cross", insert "or the Victoria Cross for Australia".

11 Subsection 103(4)

Omit "$2,808", substitute "$3,230".

12 After subsection 103(4)

Insert:

Note:       The amount fixed by this subsection is indexed annually in line with CPI increases. See section 198FA.

13 Subsection 103(5)

Repeal the subsection.

14 After section 198F

Insert:

198FA Indexation of Victoria Cross allowance


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       (1) In this section, unless the contrary intention appears:

index number, in relation to a quarter, means the All Groups Consumer Price Index number, being the weighted average of the 8 capital cities, published by the Australian Statistician for that quarter.

relevant rate means the rate specified in subsection 103(4).

year to which this section applies means:

       (a) the year commencing on 20 September 2005; or

       (b) any later year commencing on 20 September.

       (2) Subject to subsection (3), if at any time, whether before or after the commencement of this section, the Australian Statistician has published or publishes an index number in respect of a quarter in substitution for an index number previously published by the Australian Statistician in respect of that quarter, the publication of the later index number is to be disregarded for the purposes of this section.

       (3) If at any time, whether before or after the commencement of this section, the Australian Statistician has changed or changes the reference base for the consumer price index, then, for the purposes of the application of this section after the change took place, or takes place, regard is to be had only to index numbers published in terms of the new reference base.

       (4) Where the factor worked out under subsection (5) in relation to a relevant rate in relation to a year to which this section applies is greater than 1, this Act, and any Act that refers to this Act, have effect as if for that relevant rate there were substituted, on the first day of that year:

       (a) subject to paragraph (b)--the rate worked out by multiplying by that factor:

       (i) where subparagraph (ii) does not apply--the relevant rate; or

       (ii) if, because of another application or other applications of this section, this Act has had effect as if another rate was substituted, or other rates were successively substituted, for the relevant rate--the substituted rate or the last substituted rate, as the case may be; or

       (b) where the amount of the rate worked out under paragraph (a) is not a multiple of one dollar--a rate equal to that amount rounded up to the nearest multiple of one dollar.

       (5) The factor to be worked out for the purposes of subsection (4) in relation to a year to which this section applies is:

       (a) in relation to the year commencing on 20 September 2005--the number, calculated to 3 decimal places, worked out by dividing the index number for the June quarter 2005 by the index number for the June quarter 2004; or

       (b) in relation to each subsequent year--the number calculated to 3 decimal places, worked out by dividing the index number for the last preceding June quarter by the highest index number in respect of an earlier June quarter, not being a June quarter that occurred before 2005; or

       (c) if the number worked out under paragraph (a) or (b) would, if it were calculated to 4 decimal places, end in a number greater than 4--the number so worked out increased by 0.001.

       (6) Where, because of the application of this section, this Act has effect as if another rate were substituted for a relevant rate on the first day of a year to which this section applies, the substitution, in so far as it affects instalments of Victoria Cross allowance under this Act, has effect in relation to every instalment of the allowance that falls due on or after the first day of that year.

15 Application

(1)       The amendment made by item 6 applies to decoration allowance payable after the commencement of this item.

(2)       The amendments made by items 7 to 9 apply to decorations awarded after the commencement of this item.

(3)       The amendments made by items 10 and 13 apply to Victoria Cross allowance payable after the commencement of this item.

Part 3--Automatic grant of income support supplement to age pensioners and wife pensioners

16 After paragraph 45N(1)(b)

Insert:

       (ba) a war widower or war widow who:

       (i) is granted a pension under Part II or Part IV, at a rate determined under or by reference to subsection 30(1), on or after the commencement of Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Direct Deductions and Other Measures) Act 2004; and

       (ii) immediately before being granted the pension was receiving an age pension under Part 2.2 of the Social Security Act

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from the Department, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, under an arrangement with the Department administered by the Minister administering that Part; and

       (bb) a war widow who:

       (i) is granted a pension under Part II or Part IV, at a rate determined under or by reference to subsection 30(1), on or after the commencement of Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Direct Deductions and Other Measures) Act 2004; and

       (ii) immediately before being granted the pension was receiving a wife pension under Part 2.4 of the Social Security Act from the Department, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, under an arrangement with the Department administered by the Minister administering that Part; and

       (iii) has reached the qualifying age (see subsection (1A)); and

17 After subsection 45N(1)

Insert:

       (1A) For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(bb)(iii), the qualifying age for a person who is a war widow is:

       (a) if the person is a veteran--the pension age for that person; or

       (b) if the person is not a veteran--the age that would be the pension age for that person if she were a veteran.

Note:       For pension age see section 5QA.

18 Subsection 45N(3)

After "If", insert "this section applies to the person other than because of paragraph (1)(ba) or (bb) and".

19 At the end of section 45N

Add:

       (4) If this section applies to the person because of paragraph (1)(ba) or (bb), and the person is not required by the Commission to make a claim for income support supplement, this Act applies to the person as if:

       (a) the person had made a claim for income support supplement under section 45I on the day on which the person was granted the pension under Part II or Part IV; and

       (b) the Commission had, on that day, determined under section 45Q that the claim was to be granted.

Part 4--Calculation of disability pension arrears

20 Paragraph 27A(1)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

       (b) the veteran is a member of a couple or was a member of a couple at any time during the period (the arrears period) between:

       (i) the operative date; and

       (ii) immediately before the first pension period during which an instalment of the pension, or an instalment of the pension at the increased rate, is paid to the person; and

21 Application

The amendment made by this Part applies where the decision to grant the pension, or to increase the rate of the pension, is made after the commencement of this item.

Part 5--Partner service pension for Norfolk Island residents

22 At the end of subparagraph 38(1)(aa)(iii)

Add ", or would be so qualified if, in spite of subsection 7(4) of that Act, residence of a person in Norfolk Island was taken to be residence of the person in Australia".

23 At the end of subparagraph 38(1)(e)(ii)

Add ", or would be so qualified if, in spite of subsection 7(4) of that Act, residence of a person in Norfolk Island was taken to be residence of the person in Australia".

24 Application

Subparagraphs 38(1)(aa)(iii) and 38(1)(e)(ii) of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, as amended by this Part, apply for the purpose of determining whether a person is, at or after the commencement of this Part, eligible for a partner service pension, and for that purpose residence of a person in Norfolk Island before (as well as at or after) the commencement of this Part may be taken into account.

Part 6--Calculation of rent assistance

25 Point SCH6-C14 of Schedule 6

Repeal the point, substitute:

Disability income

       SCH6-C14 If a person is a member of a couple, the person's disability income for the purposes of this Module is worked out as follows:

       (a) if each member of the couple receives either or

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both a disability pension and permanent impairment compensation--by adding the couple's annual rates of disability pension and permanent impairment compensation and dividing the result by 2;

       (b) if only one member of the couple receives either or both a disability pension and permanent impairment compensation:

       (i) where the member receives both a disability pension and permanent impairment compensation--by adding the member's annual rates of disability pension and permanent impairment compensation and dividing the result by 2; or

       (ii) where subparagraph (i) does not apply--by dividing the member's annual rate of disability pension or permanent impairment compensation by 2.

Note 1:       For disability pension see section 5Q.

Note 2:       For permanent impairment compensation see point SCH6-C16.

26 Application

The amendment made by this Part applies in relation to instalments of service pension for pension periods that start after the commencement of this item.

Part 7--Reduction in pension arrears resulting from partner's receipt of service pension

27 After subparagraph 27A(1)(c)(i)

Insert:

       (ia) a service pension; or

28 Paragraph 27A(1)(d)

After "benefit", insert ", service pension".

29 Subsection 27A(2) (step 4 of the method statement)

After "benefit", insert ", service pension".

30 Subsection 27A(2) (step 5 of the method statement)

After "benefit", insert ", service pension".

31 Application

The amendments made by this Part apply where the decision to grant the pension, or to increase the rate of the pension, mentioned in paragraph 27A(1)(a) of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 is made after the commencement of this item.

Part 8--Value of financial assets for purposes of deeming rules

32 Subsection 52C(1)

After "other than", insert "Division 3 and".

33 Application

The amendment made by this Part applies in relation to instalments of service pension and income support supplement for pension periods starting at or after the commencement of this item.

Part 9--Deemed income and actual income from accrued returns

34 Subsection 46K(1)

Omit "receives", substitute "earns, derives or receives".

35 Subsection 46K(2)

Omit "receives", substitute "earns, derives or receives".

Part 10--Means test exemption of certain superannuation assets

36 At the end of paragraph 52(1)(f)

Add:

Note:       Some investments in superannuation funds, approved deposit funds, deferred annuities and ATO small superannuation accounts may be disregarded--see section 52AA.

37 After section 52

Insert:

52AA Value of superannuation investments determined by Minister to be disregarded

       (1) The value of a person's investment in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account is to be disregarded in calculating the value of the person's assets for the purposes of this Act (other than section 52FA, 52G, 52GA, 52H, 52ZA or 52ZCA) if the investment is specified in a determination made under subsection (2).

       (2) The Minister may specify:

       (a) a specified investment in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account; or

       (b) a specified class of investments in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account;

in a determination.

       (3) A determination must be in writing.

       (4) A determination takes effect on the day on which it is made or on such other day (whether earlier or later) as is specified in

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the determination.

Part 11--Income and assets test treatment of ATO small superannuation accounts and private rental income

38 At the end of subparagraph 5H(8)(i)(iii)

Add "or".

39 After subparagraph 5H(8)(i)(iii)

Insert:

       (iiia) an ATO small superannuation account;

40 Paragraph 5H(8)(i) (note 2)

Omit "and deferred annuity", substitute ", deferred annuity and ATO small superannuation account".

41 At the end of section 46C

Add:

       (3) If a person's ordinary income for a period includes rental income from a property that is not business income, the person's ordinary income from that property is to be reduced by losses and outgoings that relate to the property and are allowable deductions for the purposes of section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 for that period.

       (4) If the amount of the allowable deductions relating to a property for a period under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 exceeds the amount of the rental income from that property for that period, the amount of the ordinary income from the property for that period is taken to be nil.

42 After subparagraph 52(1)(f)(iii)

Insert:

       ; or (iiia) an ATO small superannuation account;

Part 12--Ceiling rate service pension

43 Subparagraph (a)(i) of point SCH6-A6 of Schedule 6

After "supplement", insert " or service pension".

Part 13--Offences

44 At the end of subparagraphs 208(1)(a)(i) and (iii)

Add "or".

45 Paragraph 208(1)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

       (b) intentionally obtain:

       (i) payment of a pension, allowance or other pecuniary benefit under this Act; or

       (ii) payment of an instalment of such a pension, allowance or benefit;

        knowing that the payment is:

       (iii) not payable at all; or

       (iv) payable only in part; or

46 At the end of paragraph 208(1)(c)

Add "or".

Part 14--Disposal of income and assets

47 Section 48 (notes 1 and 2)

Repeal the notes, substitute:

Note:       For amount of disposition see section 48A.

48 Subsection 48C(1) (note 3)

Repeal the note.

49 Section 48D

Repeal the section.

50 Subsection 52FA(1) (notes 3 and 4)

Repeal the notes, substitute:

Note 3:       If a pension is payable to the person, section 52G operates to determine the rate of payment and section 52FA ceases to apply to the person.

51 Subsection 52GA(1) (notes 3 and 4)

Repeal the notes, substitute:

Note 3:       If a pension is payable to the person, section 52H operates to determine the rate of payment and section 52GA ceases to apply to the person.

52 Subsection 52H(1) (note 3)

Repeal the note.

Part 15--Compensation recovery provisions

53 Subsection 5H(1) (note 2 at the end of the definition of ordinary income)

Omit "a series of".

54 Subsection 5NB(1) (definition of periodic payments period)

Repeal the definition, substitute:

periodic payments period means:

       (a) the period to which a periodic compensation payment, or a series of periodic compensation payments, relates; or


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       (b) in the case of a payment of arrears of periodic compensation payments--the period to which those payments would have related if they had not been made by way of arrears payment.

55 Subsection 5NB(2)

Omit "a series of".

56 Subsection 30D(10)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

       (10) In this section:

periodic payments period means:

       (a) the period to which a periodic compensation payment, or a series of periodic compensation payments, relates; or

       (b) in the case of a payment of arrears of periodic compensation payments--the period to which those payments would have related if they had not been made by way of arrears payment.

57 Subsection 59M(4)

Omit "a series of".

58 Subsection 59M(4)

Omit "period for which the payments are received", substitute "periodic payments period".

59 Paragraph 59W(1)(a)

Omit "a series of".

60 Paragraph 59W(1)(d)

Omit "under", substitute "to nil as a result of the operation of".

61 Section 59X

Omit "a series of".

Part 16--Minor and technical amendments

62 Subsection 5JA(7) (paragraph (a) of the definition of liquid assets)

After "public company", insert "within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001".

63 Subsection 5MC(4)

Omit "couple's assets deeming provisions", substitute "provisions in point SCH6-F2".

64 Subsection 5MC(5)

Repeal the subsection.

65 Subparagraph 5NB(7)(a)(ii)

Omit ", on or after 9 February 1988".

66 Subparagraph 5NB(7)(b)(iii)

Omit ", on or after 9 February 1988".

67 Subsections 36B(2) and 37B(2)

Omit all the words and paragraphs after paragraph (d), substitute:

then the veteran's provisional commencement day is the day on which the initial claim was lodged.

68 Subsection 38B(2)

Omit all the words and paragraphs after paragraph (d), substitute:

then the person's provisional commencement day is the day on which the initial claim was lodged.

69 Subsection 45S(1)

Omit ", subject to subsection (2),".

70 Subsection 45S(2)

Repeal the subsection.

71 Subsection 52FA(1)

Omit "Subject to subsection (2), if", substitute "If".

72 Paragraphs 52FA(1)(c) and (d)

Omit "the disposal limit", substitute "$10,000".

73 Subsections 52FA(2) and (3)

Repeal the subsections.

74 Subsection 52G(1)

Omit "Subject to subsection (2), where", substitute "If".

75 Paragraphs 52G(1)(b) and (c)

Omit "the disposal limit", substitute "$10,000".

76 Subsections 52G(2) and (3)

Repeal the subsections.

77 Subsection 52GA(1)

Omit "(2),".

78 Paragraph 52GA(1)(d)

Omit "the disposal limit", substitute "$10,000".

79 Subparagraphs 52GA(1)(e)(i) and (f)(i)

Omit "the disposal limit", substitute "$10,000".

80 Subsections 52GA(2) and (6)

Repeal the subsections.

81 Subsection 52H(1)

Omit "(2),".

82 Paragraph 52H(1)(b)

Omit "the disposal limit", substitute "$10,000".

83 Subparagraphs 52H(1)(c)(i) and (d)(i)

Omit "the disposal limit", substitute "$10,000".

84 Subsections 52H(2) and (6)

Repeal the subsections.

85 Paragraph 56C(2)(a)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

       (a) either:

       (i) a service pension or income support supplement has not been, or is not being, paid to a person because the rate of the pension or supplement was determined to be nil; or

       (ii) a service pension or income support supplement has not been, or is not being, paid to a person because the rate of the pension or supplement was reduced to nil under section 56 or 56A; and

86 Paragraph 56C(2)(b)

After "the pension", insert "or supplement".

87 Subsection 56EC(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

       (1) If a service pension or income support supplement is not payable to a person because the rate of the pension or supplement:

       (a) has been determined to be nil; or

       (b) has been reduced to nil under section 56 or 56A;

the Commission may determine that the pension or supplement is to be cancelled.

88 Paragraph 59N(e)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

       (e) the person had not received:

       (i) the lump sum; or

       (ii) if the lump sum was to be paid in instalments--any of the instalments; and