Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Determinations/Social Security as made
This determination modifies the Social Security Act 1991 in relation to the partner income reduction rate for jobseeker payment by reducing it from 60 per cent to 25 per cent of the person’s partner income excess.
Administered by: Treasury
Registered 24 Apr 2020
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR12-May-2020
Tabled Senate12-May-2020
Date of repeal 31 Dec 2020
Repealed by Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020
Repealing Comments Repeal of enabling provision by Schedule 11, item 40A(6).

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

 

Issued by the authority of the Minister for Families and Social Services

 

Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020

 

Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response—2020 Measures No. 4) Determination 2020

 

Background

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (the Act) amended the Social Security Act 1991 (Social Security Act) to provide additional financial assistance to Australians financially impacted by the Coronavirus. Australians can claim jobseeker payment or youth allowance if they are an Australian resident (or exempt from the residence requirements) and satisfy the requirements outlined in a legislative instrument made under the Social Security Act. If qualified, a person receives the current rate of jobseeker payment or youth allowance and, from 27 April 2020, a fortnightly supplement of $550 or such other amount as determined by the Minister by legislative instrument under the Social Security Act.

The supplement is also payable from 27 April 2020 to existing recipients of jobseeker payment, youth allowance, parenting payment, special benefit, austudy and the farm household allowance. The Minister for Families and Social Services may extend the period the supplement is payable and may extend the supplement to other social security payments, by legislative instrument.

Recipients of jobseeker payment, youth allowance, austudy and parenting payment are also exempt from the assets test, liquid assets waiting period, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident’s waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period for a period of time commencing on 25 March 2020. The exemption from the newly arrived resident’s waiting period also applies to special benefit.

Item 40A of Schedule 11 to the Act allows the Minister to make a determination modifying the operation of the social security law relating to qualification for, or the rate of, a social security payment. The Minister must be satisfied that the determination is in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus known as COVID-19.  Such a determination is a legislative instrument subject to disallowance.

This determination is made in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus known as COVID-19.

This determination has no operation after 31 December 2020.

 

Purpose

The Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response—2020 Measures No. 4) Determination 2020 (this Determination) modifies the Social Security Act in relation to the partner income reduction rate for jobseeker payment by reducing it from 60 per cent to 25 per cent of the person’s partner income excess.

The person’s partner income excess is the amount by which the partner’s ordinary income exceeds the partner income free area. The partner income free area is either:

·         where the person’s partner is receiving a social security benefit – the amount of income beyond which the partner’s social security benefit is no longer payable (reduced to nil); or

·         where the person’s partner is not receiving a social security benefit – the amount of income beyond which the partner’s jobseeker (if the partner has turned 22) or youth allowance (if the partner has not turned 22) would no longer have been payable if the partner was qualified for jobseeker or for youth allowance and was not undertaking full-time study.

Currently, if a person receiving jobseeker payment has a partner income excess, the person’s partner income reduction is an amount equal to 60 per cent of the person’s partner income excess. This Determination reduces the person’s partner income reduction rate to an amount equal to 25 per cent of the person’s partner income excess, and will apply to existing recipients and new claimants of jobseeker payment. This modification will operate from 27 April 2020 until the end of the period covered by subsection 646(2) of the Social Security Act, which is the period for which the COVID-19 supplement is payable for jobseeker payment.

This means that from 27 April 2020, if a person has a partner income excess, the person’s partner will be able to earn more income before the person’s rate of jobseeker reaches nil and jobseeker is no longer payable to the person.

From 27 April 2020, this Determination also enables more people, who would otherwise not have been payable under the current partner income reduction rate, to be paid an amount of jobseeker payment as well as the fortnightly supplement of $550 or such other amount determined by legislative instrument under the Social Security Act.

This change will provide assistance to couples who have experienced a loss of income through reduced earnings as a result of circumstances relating to the coronavirus. It will allow a person who is a member of a couple with reduced or no income to access jobseeker payment, even if their partner still has earnings from employment up to $3,068.80 per fortnight or $79,788 a year.

Commencement

The Determination commences on 27 April 2020.

Consultation

Due to the need to take urgent action to provide additional social security support to Australians affected by the unforeseen Coronavirus pandemic, no specific consultation was undertaken on this instrument.

Regulation Impact Statement (RIS)

An exemption from the Regulation Impact Statement requirements was granted by the Prime Minister as there were urgent and unforeseen events (OBPR ID 26371).

Explanation of the provisions

Section 1

Section 1 provides how this Determination is to be cited, that is, as the Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response – 2020 Measures No. 4) Determination 2020.

Section 2  

Section 2 provides that this Determination commences on 27 April 2020.

Section 3

Section 3 provides that this Determination is made under item 40A of Schedule 11 to the Act.

Section 4

Section 4 provides that each modification of the operation of a provision of a social security law as set out in a Schedule to this Determination is determined for the purposes of item 40A of Schedule 11 to the Act.

Schedule 1 – Modifications to the Social Security Act

 

Item 1 – Variation of point 1068-G11

Item 1 varies point 1068-G11 of the Social Security Act by substituting a new point 1068-G11, which provides that if a person has a partner income excess, the person’s partner income reduction is an amount equal to either:

(a)  60% of the person’s partner income excess, unless paragraph (b) applies; or

(b)  25% of the person’s partner income excess, if it relates to jobseeker payment and is for the period beginning on 27 April 2020 and ending at the end of the period covered by subsection 646(2) of the Social Security Act.


 

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

 

Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response—2020 Measures No. 4) Determination 2020

The Determination 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 legislative instrument

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (the Act) amended the Social Security Act 1991 (Social Security Act) to provide additional financial assistance to Australians financially impacted by the Coronavirus. Australians can claim jobseeker payment or youth allowance if they are an Australian resident (or exempt from the residence requirements) and satisfy the requirements outlined in a legislative instrument made under the Social Security Act. If qualified, a person receives the current rate of jobseeker payment or youth allowance and, from 27 April 2020, a fortnightly supplement of $550 or such other amount determined by a legislative instrument under the Social Security Act.

The supplement is also payable from 27 April 2020 to existing recipients of jobseeker payment, youth allowance, parenting payment, special benefit, austudy and the farm household allowance. The Minister for Families and Social Services may extend the period the supplement is payable and may extend the supplement to other social security payments, by legislative instrument.

Recipients of jobseeker payment, youth allowance, austudy and parenting payment are also exempt from the assets test, liquid assets waiting period, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident’s waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period for a period of time commencing on 25 March 2020. The exemption from the newly arrived resident’s waiting period also applies to special benefit.

Item 40A of Schedule 11 to the Act allows the Minister to make a determination modifying the operation of the social security law relating to the qualification for, or the rate of, a social security payment. The Minister must be satisfied that the determination is in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus known as COVID-19.  Such a determination is a legislative instrument subject to disallowance.

 

The purpose of the Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response – 2020 Measures No.4) Determination 2020 (this Determination) is to temporarily modify the partner income reduction rate for jobseeker payment from 27 April 2020.

 

The modification in the Determination will enable more Australians who are financially impacted by COVID-19 to be paid a jobseeker payment where previously their partner’s ordinary income may have reduced the person’s jobseeker payment rate to nil. Where jobseeker payment is payable to a person, the person will also receive a fortnightly supplement of $550 or such other amount as determined by the Minister by legislative instrument under the Social Security Act, from 27 April 2020.

Human rights implications

The Determination engages the following human rights:

·         the right of everyone to social security in article 9, and the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for an individual and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and

·         the rights of the child in article 26 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Articles 9 and 11 of the ICESCR are promoted by providing payments to assist in achieving an adequate standard of living. This is achieved by enabling jobseeker to be payable to people financially impacted by COVID-19. The pursuit of this objective also promotes human rights by supporting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This Determination promotes article 26 of the CRC by enhancing the rights of the child to social security. The payments are targeted at vulnerable groups and has a flow on effect to the children of recipients by increasing the support for families.

Conclusion

This Determination is compatible with human rights because it promotes the protection of human rights for vulnerable groups in society.

 

Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services