Indexation of rates 1 July 2020

From 1 July 2020, the Income Free Areas and Assets Value Limits used to calculate rates of income support pensions will rise.

6 July 2020

The amount of income (per fortnight) an income support pensioner may receive before their pension is reduced under the income test:

Income support pensioner amounts (per fortnight)

 

Single rate (fortnightly)

Couples rate — combined (fortnightly)

Service or Age Pension

$178.00

$316.00

Income Support Supplement (War Widow(er)’s Pension is included in these amounts)

Different limits apply if assessed under transitional rules

$1,470.00

$1,984.00

The maximum value of assets a person can have before their pension is affected:

Maximum value of assets

 

Single rate

Couples rate — combined

Service or Age Pension

 

 

Homeowner

$268,000

$401,500

Non-homeowner

$482,500

$616,000

Income Support Supplement Different limits apply if assessed under transitional rules

Homeowner

$483,500

$679,500

Non-homeowner

$698,000

$894,000

The deeming thresholds have decreased effective from 1 May 2020. This means that the value of financial assets deemed to be earning the lower rate of 0.25 per cent has fallen. The higher deeming rate of 2.25 per cent is applied to the balance of financial assets over these thresholds.

Deeming thresholds

 

Single rate

Couples rate — combined

Deeming threshold

$53,000

$88,000

A full list of the new rates is available from the DVA website in the CLIK tool under the Tools and Calculators heading. For further information, contact DVA on 133 254 or from regional Australia free call 1800 555 254 or visit the DVA website.

Annual increase to travel allowances

Travel allowances for transport, meals and accommodation under DVA’s Repatriation Transport Scheme will increase from 1 July 2020 in line with the Consumer Price Index.

The increase applies to travel by private vehicle as well as accommodation and meal allowances for all eligible veterans, war widows and widowers (entitled persons) travelling for treatment purposes or disability and income support claims. The increase also applies to eligible persons under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006 and the Treatment Benefits (Special Access) Act 2019.

The Scheme is intended to assist with travelling expenses for an entitled person and their medically required attendant, not necessarily to reimburse the entire cost. To receive the maximum benefit, entitled persons should travel to their closest practical health provider.

Holders of Veteran Gold Cards and Veteran White Cards (for specific conditions) eligible under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 are entitled to assistance towards travelling expenses when attending approved treatment. Holders of Veteran Gold Cards under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006 and the Treatment Benefits (Special Access) Act 2019 are entitled to assistance to travel to attend approved treatment.

For any queries about travel for treatment allowances contact DVA’s general enquiries on 1800 555 254. Further information is available on the DVA website.

New Travel Allowances from 1 July 2020

Type of allowance

Measure

New allowance from 1 July 2020

Travel with a medically required attendant †

Private vehicle

Per kilometre

36.8 cents

X1

Public, community or air transport

Actual fare

Actual fare

X2

Taxi transport

Actual fare

Actual fare

X1

Commercial accommodation non capital city — single*

Per night

$151.90

X2

Commercial accommodation Capital city — single*

Per night

$180.40

X2

Entitled person and medically required attendant — commercial accommodation — shared*

Per night

$247.00

X1

Subsidised accommodation — single*

Per night

$94.80

X2

Private accommodation — single*

Per night

$47.40

X2

Meal allowance — more than 50 km but less than 200 km from entitled person's home to the treatment location

Per day

$15.10

X2

Meal allowance — more than 200 km from entitled person’s home to the treatment location

Per day

$30.70

X2

* A meal allowance is not paid on a day where an accommodation allowance is paid because a meal component is already built into the accommodation allowance. † This column refers to the number of times an allowance is paid when an entitled person travels with a medically required attendant. For instance, if an entitled person shares a room with an attendant, only the allowance for one room is paid for (X1). If they each have a single room, the allowance for both rooms is paid for (X2).

Deeming rate reduction

Veterans who receive income support payments from DVA are benefitting from changes to the way financial assets are assessed, thanks to changes to deeming rates as part of the Australian Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), announced on 22 March 2020.

Financial assets include bank accounts, shares and managed funds. A financial asset is deemed to earn a set deeming rate, regardless of how much interest a financial asset actually earns. Deeming rates are set by the Minister for Social Services.

The deeming rate has decreased from 1.0 per cent to 0.25 per cent for financial investments up to $53,000 for singles and $88,000 for couples. It has been cut from 3.0 per cent to 2.25 per cent for investments over these amounts.

For example, if you have a bank account with a balance of $5,000, it was deemed to earn 1.0 per cent interest. It now is deemed to earn 0.25 per cent interest, reducing your assessed income and potentially increasing your pension amount. The deeming rates reduction took effect from 1 May 2020. You don’t need to do anything. If you have deemed income, DVA will automatically apply the new deeming rates.