Friday, 12 December 2008

Changes to Eligibility for Partner Service Pension

Legislation regarding the changes to eligibility for the partner service pension (PSP)
has now been passed by Parliament.

What Does This Mean?
- The changes will not be implemented until 1 July 2009, NOT 1 January 2009 as
previously advised.

- From 1 July 2009, eligibility for PSP for a separated spouse will be paid for a
maximum of 12 months from the date of separation unless you have been assessed
as a member of an illness separated couple or special domestic circumstances
apply. In those cases, PSP will continue to be paid.

- Separated partners will have a full 12 month period from the date of their
separation from the veteran to make alternative financial arrangements, unless they
divorce or enter into a de facto relationship.

- Those who are Age Pension age at the end of the 12 month period will remain
eligible for the partner service pension.

- As is the current situation, couples who are considered to be illness separated will
continue to receive partner service pension.

- Partners in special domestic circumstances also retain the partner service pension.
Special domestic circumstances are where the couple have separated and the
veteran has a psychological or mental health condition recognised by the
Department and there was an unsafe domestic environment for the partner and/or
children prior to separation.
* In order to establish whether special domestic circumstances apply, the
partner (only) will be asked to complete a questionnaire. Where there is
supporting information, this should be included and may include documents
such as police reports or advice from medical practitioners.

- Please note that if the partner and veteran divorce or the partner enters into a
de facto relationship with another person, the partner will lose eligibility and their
payment will be cancelled. If the partner is the de facto partner of the veteran and
they separate, they will lose eligibility for the partner service pension immediately.
This is the current situation and has not been affected by this legislative change.

- The Department of Veterans’ Affairs wrote to all affected partners on 4 December
2008, advising of the new changes to partner service pension.