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Chapter 2 - your obligations


This chapter is about:

  • your legal obligations
  • what you need to tell us
  • when you have to tell us of changes to your financial institution accounts
  • what you do not need to tell us in relation to your income support pension.

Throughout this guide, we include information about your obligations. It is very important that you understand your obligations and ask us about anything you do not understand.

The obligations set out in this guide are your notice under section 54 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 and sections 67 and 68 of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999.

This chapter summarises the events and changes of circumstances you need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance). For social security age pensioners (paid by DVA), you have 14 days to notify of changes. This is whether or not you receive a remote area allowance.

We have grouped the changes that might affect the payment of your pension into four main areas:

It is very important that you read your obligations and ask us about anything you do not understand.

You can tell us about events or changes to your circumstances that might affect your pension by:

  • ringing us;
  • faxing us;
  • writing to us at GPO BOX 9998 BRISBANE QLD 4001; or
  • visiting any of our offices.

Some changes can also be notified via MyAccount

Section 54 of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

Under section 54 of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986, the Secretary of DVA may issue a notice to income support pensioners, requiring them to notify the Department within a specified time, of:

  • events or changes of circumstances that occur; and
  • events or changes of circumstances that are likely to occur;

that might affect the payment of their income support pension.

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Sections 67 and 68 of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999

An officer of DVA, as delegate of the Secretary of the Department of Human Services, may issue a notice under section 67 of Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (SSAA), to a veteran or partner who is claiming a social security age pension (to be paid by DVA), and under section 68 of the SSAA to a social security age or wife pensioner (paid by DVA) requiring them to notify DVA within a specified time, of:

  • events or changes of circumstances that occur; and
  • events or changes of circumstances that are likely to occur;

that might affect the payment of their income support pension.

Penalties

There are penalties for failing to fulfil your obligations or for providing false or misleading information. If you fail to comply with your obligations and your pension is overpaid as a result, that overpayment must be paid back.

Generally speaking, as a person receiving a means-tested pension, you are obliged to provide information about any changes that could affect either your eligibility for the pension or the rate at which it is paid.

Make sure we get it right

When you are granted an income support pension or when your rate of income support pension is changed following a review, you will receive a list of the income and assets that have been included in your assessment. If any details are incorrect or if any items of income or assets have been omitted, you are obliged to notify DVA of the error within the timeframes stated in your letter. Such notification will minimise the possibility of your pension being overpaid. This means that if you have previously told us about things like superannuation or compensation payments and these items have not been included in the assessment of your pension, you must let us know. Refer to Chapter 5 - Your Income and Assets for more information on what income is and how it affects your pension.

If you are not sure about your obligations, contact your nearest DVA office.

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Changes to personal circumstances - Your Obligations

(See Chapter 4 - Living arrangements)

You need to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) about changes to your personal circumstances which might affect the rate of your pension. For social security age pensioners (paid by DVA) the obligations are the same except if you receive a remote area allowance you have 14 days not 28 days to tell us about these changes. Examples of these changes follow:

  • You marry or enter a de facto relationship.
  • You are separated and enter a de facto relationship.
  • You divorce or separate.
  • You reconcile with your partner or commence living on the same property as a separated partner.
  • You and your partner have to live apart because of illness or infirmity.
  • The person for whom you are a trustee or carer dies.
  • A child or student for whom you are receiving benefits leaves your care, stops being a student, starts receiving payments under an education scheme or stops being dependent on you.

On the death of your partner, it is best to notify the Department as soon as you are able to do so. By telling us as soon as possible you will avoid or reduce the possibility of any overpayment and allow us to make a bereavement payment in some cases.

Note: Social security age pensioners (paid by DVA), you need to tell us within 28 days if your partner dies.

Changes to residential circumstances - Your Obligations

(See Chapter 4 - Living arrangements)

You need to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) about changes to your residential circumstances as they might affect the rate of your pension. For social security age pensioners (paid by DVA) the obligations are the same except if you receive a remote area allowance you have 14 days not 28 days to tell us about these changes. Examples of these changes follow:

  • You change your address.
  • You move to a retirement village, move within your retirement village, or into respite care, residential aged care or another care situation.
  • You go overseas.
  • You sell or rent your home or leave it for more than 12 month or transfer the title of your home to someone else.
  • You are receiving rent assistance and you stop paying private rent, start paying government-subsidised rent, sublet from a government tenant or your rent reduces.
  • You receive remote area allowance and you leave your home for more than 8 weeks.
  • Your intentions to use your home sale proceeds to buy or build a new home have now changed.
  • Your intentions to use the insurance proceeds (from your damaged/lost home) to acquire a new home or repair your old home have now changed.
  • Your home sale or home insurance proceeds were exempted assets and you have now acquired a new home or your rebuilt/repaired home is completed.

Changes to your pension eligibility - Your Obligations

You need to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) if:

  • You are granted a social security pension or benefit, or pension from some other source.
  • You are imprisoned.
  • You receive an invalidity service pension or income support supplement on the grounds of permanent incapacity and
    • you commence full or part time work; or
    • you increase your hours of work; or
    • your incapacity from the disability(ies) alone no longer renders you permanently incapable of working.

Changes to your financial circumstances - Your Obligations

Your individual circumstances such as the type of pension you receive, whether you are single or partnered, a home-owner or a non-home owner, and your mix of income, financial assets and non-financial assets all affect your rate of pension. Your pension may be paid at the maximum rate or may be reduced due to your income and assets.

Financial obligations for maximum rate and reduced rate pensioners are different. Examples of your obligations in relation to the different types of income and assets have been included in Chapter 5 - Your Income and Assets.

For both service pensioners and war widow/ers receiving income support supplement, you need to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) about changes to your income and assets which affect the rate of your pension.

For social security age pensioners (paid by DVA) your obligations are the same except if you receive a remote area allowance you have 14 days not 28 days to tell us about changes to your income and assets which affect the rate of your pension.

If you are receiving a maximum rate pension you do not need to tell us of events such as:

  • changing your car;
  • paying household bills;
  • holiday expenses; or
  • reductions in income and assets.

The tables in this chapter show the changes you need to tell us about.

If you are receiving a reduced rate of pension, our letters sent following grant or re-assessment of your pension will show your latest individual asset limit and/or income limit. Take note of these limits and advise us if you exceed those limits.

If there are any major discrepancies in our letter between the information listed and your actual circumstances, contact DVA.

For a reduced rate pension, you do not need to tell us of changes to the value of vehicles and home and contents unless the change brings your assets to within $10,000 of the asset limit shown in our letter.

Important information about this chapter.

  • Amounts quoted for members of a couple are the combined amount for the couple not per individual.
  • Amounts quoted for bank balances in the tables in this chapter refer to the total combined balances of all your money in bank, building society or credit union accounts.
  • The bank balances quoted assume that, apart from your DVA payments, the interest from your accounts provides your only other source of income. If you have any other type of income these figures will not apply (refer to Chapter 5 Your Income and Assets).
  • You do not have to tell us about interest rate changes.
  • Amounts quoted for income are a fortnightly amount and refer to all income including deemed income from financial assets.
  • Your actual income may be higher if your assessable employment income is reduced under the work bonus. (Refer to Wages and earnings in Chapter 5.)
  • For service pensioners and war widow/ers receiving income support supplement the amounts allow for at least $1 variation to your pension.
  • For social security age pensioners (paid by DVA), the amounts are slightly less as there is no minimum variation.
  • The amounts quoted in the following sections were updated at 1 January 2017. These amounts will change when the income free area and deeming thresholds are indexed in July.  At other times, variations up or down in the deeming interest rates may also change these figures.
  • If you are partnered, but you are assessed as a single pensioner because your partner does not have a source of income, you must notify us of any changes to your partner's circumstances. This includes the commencement of any source of income, for example through employment, or an income support payment such as a Centrelink benefit.

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Service Pensioners

Service pensioners who are single need to advise DVA if you are receiving

maximum rate of service pension

  • and your combined bank balances exceed  $153,908; or
  • your income exceeds $164

OR a reduced rate of service pension

  • and your assets increase above your assets limit quoted in the latest letter to you, or
  • your income increases by more than $2; or
  • your combined account balances increase by $1,600.

Service pensioners who are a member of couple need to advise DVA if you are receiving:

maximum rate of service pension

  • and your combined bank balances exceed $271,262; or
  • your income exceeds $292

OR a reduced rate of service pension

  • and your assets increase above your assets limit quoted in the latest letter to you; or
  • your income increases by more than $4; or
  • your combined account balances increase by $3,200.

War Widow/ers receiving Income Support Supplement

War widow/ers who are single need to advise DVA if you are receiving:

the ceiling rate of income support supplement ($263.10)

  • and your combined bank balances exceed $412,068; or
  • your income exceeds $486.70

OR a reduced rate of income support supplement

  • and your assets increase above your assets limit quoted in the latest letter to you; or
  • your income increases by more than $2; or
  • your combined account balances increase by $1,600.

You do not need to include your war widow/ers pension when checking if your income exceeds these amounts.

War widow/ers who are a member of a couple need to advise DVA if you are receiving:

the ceiling rate of income support supplement ($263.10)

  • and your combined bank balances exceed $809,582; or
  • your income exceeds $964.90.

OR a reduced rate of income support supplement

  • and your assets increase above your assets limit quoted in the latest letter to you; or
  • your income increases by more than $4; or
  • your combined account balances increase by $3,200.

For both single and partnered war widows or widowers there may differences to the amounts quoted in this section if

  • you receive the income support supplement and also receive a disability pension as a veteran; or
  • you receive the income support supplement and your partner is a veteran receiving a disability pension; or
  • you were in receipt of a social security and war widow’s pension prior to 1 November 1986 and your rate of income support supplement is more than the ceiling rate of $263.10 per fortnight (as at 1 January 2017).

In those cases you can ask us to calculate the amount for you.

Note: If you are receiving the income support supplement and you are entitled to compensation or have claimed or are receiving compensation in respect of the death of your partner you must notify DVA within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance). This obligation also applies if you are only receiving the war widow's pension. Refer to the section War widow's pension and orphan's pension in Chapter 3 - Which pension do you get?

Social security age pensioner (paid by DVA)

Social security age pensioners (paid by DVA), and who are single need to advise DVA if you are receiving:

the maximum rate of age pension

  • and your combined bank balances exceed $153,908; or
  • your income exceeds $164.

OR a reduced rate of age pension

  • and your assets increase above your assets limit quoted in the latest letter to you; or
  • your income increases by any amount; or
  • your combined account balances increase by any amount.

Social security age pensioners (paid by DVA) and who are a member of a couple need to advise DVA if you are receiving:

the maximum rate of age pension

  • and your combined bank balances exceed $271,262; or
  • your income exceeds $292.

OR a reduced rate of age pension

  •  and your assets increase above your assets limit quoted in the latest letter to you; or
  • your income increases by any amount; or
  • your combined account balances increase by any amount.
     

 

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