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Factsheet IS137 - What you need to tell us about

Purpose

This Factsheet explains the sorts of events or changes in circumstances people who are paid service pension, income support supplement (ISS) or veteran payment need to tell us about in case their entitlements are affected.  The need to tell DVA about these events or changes in circumstances is commonly referred to as ‘obligations’.  This Factsheet is not exhaustive.  For more information about your obligations please refer to ‘You and Your Pension’.

What are obligations and who do they apply to?

The Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 requires that service pension, ISS and veteran payment recipients and claimants, as well as holders of Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards, be notified of their obligations in relation to their pension, payment or benefit.  These obligations require them to advise DVA within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) of an event or change of circumstance that might affect their rate of pension or payment or their eligibility to receive that pension or payment.  It is important for DVA to be kept advised of a person’s circumstances to make sure the right rate of payment is made, from the right date.

The obligations apply to:

  • service pensioners, ISS recipients and veteran payment;
  • agents and trustees of service pensioners or recipients of ISS;
  • service pension, ISS and veteran payment claimants;
  • people who have requested reviews of service pension, veteran or ISS either by the Repatriation Commission or by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
  • people in receipt of fringe benefits or service pension treatment benefits; and
  • holders of Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards.

When you are granted an income support pension or payment, and periodically after that, you will be notified of your obligations.  These obligations apply equally to trustees.  Where you are a member of a couple, but are assessed as a single person because your partner does not have a source of income, you will be notified of obligations that apply to both members of the couple.  These obligations will include the requirement to notify changes to circumstances such as the commencement of any source of income, for example through employment, or an income support payment such as a Centrelink benefit.

Usually an overpayment of pension or payment will not occur when you have met your obligations.  However, sometimes even if you have met your obligations, an overpayment can occur because we have not been able to process the change before the next payday.  We do our best to avoid this occurring, but it is not always possible.  To provide you with your exact entitlement we are obliged to recover overpayments of pension or payment where they do occur.

Changes to Personal Circumstances - Obligations

Changes in your personal circumstances can affect your eligibility for pension or payment and your rate of pension or payment.

The sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • you marry or remarry;
  • you enter a de facto relationship;
  • you separate from your partner, either because of illness or other reasons;
  • you and your partner divorce;
  • your partner dies;
  • the person for whom you are a trustee or carer dies; or
  • you plan to travel overseas for any period.

If you receive ISS because you have a dependent child, or if you receive a child related allowance, you would need to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) if the child or student:

  • leaves your care;
  • travels overseas;
  • stops being a student;
  • starts receiving payments under an education scheme; or
  • stops being dependent on you.

Changes to Residential Circumstances - Obligations

Changes in your residential circumstances can affect the amount of your pension or payment.

If you own your home (including a caravan, mobile home or houseboat), the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • you sell your home;
  • you start to pay rent for other accommodation;
  • you leave your home for any reason to live elsewhere;
  • you rent or sub-let all or part of your home;
  • you take in boarders or lodgers;
  • you transfer the title of your home to someone else; or
  • you leave your home for any period exceeding 12 months.

If you live in a retirement village, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • you intend leaving the retirement village for more than 12 months;
  • you move from one type of accommodation to another within the retirement village (for example, from a self care unit to hostel or nursing home facilities);
  • you sign a new agreement or contract in the retirement village; or
  • there are any changes to the service fees you pay.

If you pay rent for your accommodation, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • the amount of rent you pay changes;
  • you stop paying rent;
  • you start paying rent to a government housing authority;
  • you move into a retirement village or other accommodation;
  • you enter respite care; or
  • you leave Australia temporarily or permanently.

If you receive remote area allowance, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 28 days are if:

  • you are away from your permanent address for more than 8 weeks;
  • you move; or
  • you go overseas.

Changes to Financial Circumstances - Obligations

Changes in your financial circumstances may affect the amount of pension or payment you receive.

If you receive the maximum rate of pension or veteran payment, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • your total income from all sources exceeds the income free area (refer to Factsheet IS 87: Income Test Overview) by more than $2.00 for singles or $4.00 for couples per fortnight;
  • your total financial assets exceed $162,830 if you are single or $285,630 combined for couples, and you have no other direct income such as superannuation; or
  • you give away $10,000 or more in a financial year or $30,000 or more in a rolling 5 year period (singles or members of couples).  Refer to Factsheet IS92 Giving Away Income or Assets.

If you are a war widow or widower receiving ISS, and your only income is from bank, building society or credit union accounts, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • your total bank, building society or credit union balances exceed $433,071 if you are a single war widow or widower receiving ISS; or
  • your total combined bank, building society or credit union balances exceed $849,311 if you are a war widow or widower, receiving ISS, and are a member of a couple.

If you are a war widow or widower who receives ISS and also receives disability pension as a veteran, or your partner is a veteran receiving disability pension, these amounts will be different.  You can ask us to calculate the amount for you.

If you receive a reduced rate of pension or payment, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • your total income from all sources increases or decreases by more than $2.00 for singles or $4.00 for couples per fortnight;
  • your assets increase above your prescribed asset amount (you will find this in our last letter to you); or
  • you give away $10,000 or more in a financial year or $30,000 or more in a rolling 5 year period (singles or members of couples).  Refer to Factsheet IS92 Giving Away Income or Assets.

*Note: - If your pension or payment is assets tested and you give away assets equal to or less than either limit, your pension or payment may increase.  It is in your interests to advise us of any gifts in excess of $500.

If you receive a reduced rate of pension or payment and your only source of income is from bank, building society or credit union accounts, the sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • your total bank, building society or credit union balances change by more than $2,971 if you are single and have financial assets of less than $51,200;
  • your total bank, building society or credit union balances change by more than $1,600 if you are single and have financial assets of more than $51,200;
  • your total bank, building society or credit union balances change by more than $5,943 if you are a couple with financial assets of less than $85,000; or
  • your total bank, building society or credit union balances increase by more than $3,200 if you are a couple with financial assets of more than $85,000.

Changes in Eligibility - Obligations

Sometimes changes in circumstances can affect your eligibility to receive service pension, ISS, veteran payment or allowances.  The sorts of things you would need to tell us about within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) are if:

  • you are receiving an invalidity service pension or an invalidity ISS pension granted before 1 January 2000 and you start work; or
  • you are receiving an invalidity service pension or an invalidity ISS pension granted after 1 January 2000: and
    • you start full or part time work;
    • you increase your hours of work; or
    • your incapacity from the disability alone no longer renders you permanently incapable of work.
  • you are receiving veteran payment you become capable of working more than 8 hours per week.

Letting DVA know about changes to your circumstances

If you are receiving an income support payment from DVA, it is very important that you understand your obligations and ask us about anything you do not understand.

For further information regarding your obligations, please refer to:

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

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

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20 March 2019