Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Social Security and Veterans’ Entitlements Legislation Amendment (One-Off Payments and Other Budget Measures) Bill 2008
The Social Security and Veterans’ Entitlements Legislation Amendment (One-off Payments and Other Budget Measures) Bill 2008 delivers the government’s commitment to make bonus payments to seniors and carers for 2008. As the member for Bonner said, it acknowledges the role and contribution of carers as well as the role that our senior Australians have played in creating our prosperous nation. New one-off payments will be paid generally before the end of the financial year. They will be tax free and will not count as income for the purposes of social security, veterans entitlements or family assistance purposes. A 2008 one-off payment of $500 will go to older Australians. Each person of pension age or veterans qualifying age who is receiving an income support payment on 13 May 2008, and recipients to that date of mature age allowance, partner allowance, widow allowance, wife pension or widow B pension, will also attract the one-off payment. Around $1.4 billion has been allocated for the seniors bonus payment. Self-funded retirees will also receive a bonus if they are, on that same date, qualified or notionally qualified for the seniors concession allowance. The government has provided around $428 million for the delivery of the carer bonus to eligible carers.
Despite the comments of the member for Warringah, this government is standing by carers, and carers will be paid a $1,000 one-off payment if they are receiving, as of 13 May 2008, either a social security carer payment or a veterans carer service pension. Carers receiving the non-means tested carer allowance in addition to either the wife pension or veterans partner service pension will also get the $1,000 one-off payment. Any carer receiving the carer allowance will be paid a separate $600 one-off payment for each eligible care receiver. Approximately 606,500 bonus payments will be made to 430,000 care providers as a result of this Rudd government initiative. A further measure introduces a limited non-cancellation period for social security or veterans entitlements concession cards while the cardholder is overseas, which will result in a significant improvement of concession card arrangements. There are around 600,000 temporary trips outside Australia taken by concession card holders. These new rules will allow cardholders who leave Australia for up to 13 weeks to retain their cards while overseas rather than requiring that the card be cancelled from the day of departure.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.