Social Security Point-in-Time Service Updates

Tuesday 16 February 2021 @ 10.13 a.m.

The Social Security Point-in-Time Service has been updated to include the National Emergency Declaration (Consequential Amendments) Act 2020 (Cth) (Act 129 of 2020), the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation of Cashless Welfare) Act 2020 (Cth) (Act 136 of 2020) and the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Act 2020 (Cth) (Act 140 of 2020).

Act 129 of 2020

The National Emergency Declaration (Consequential Amendments) Act 2020 (the Act) operates in conjunction with the National Emergency Declaration Act 2020 to implement Recommendation 5.1 of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (RCNNDA) by establishing a legislative framework for declaring national emergencies.

The Act amends Acts and Regulations that contain powers that are used by the Commonwealth when responding to, or supporting the recovery from, emergencies to enable the use of alternative or simplified statutory tests to streamline the exercise of those powers where a national emergency has been declared.

Act 136 of 2020

This Act removes trial parameters to establish the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) as an ongoing program and transitions Income Management (IM) in the Northern Territory (the NT) and the Cape York region to the CDC. The Act also:

  • removes a current exclusion to allow people in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay program area to be able to voluntarily participate in the CDC program;
  • allows a voluntary participant to continue to volunteer for the CDC even if they no longer reside in a program area;
  • enables the Secretary to advise a community body when a person has exited the CDC program;
  • allows the Minister to determine decision-making principles for the purposes of determining whether a person can demonstrate reasonable and responsible management of the person’s affairs (including financial affairs);
  • enables the Secretary to review a wellbeing exemption or exit determination in certain circumstances and revoke the determination as a result of such review;
  • enables the Secretary to issue a notice informing the person that they are a CDC program participant. The Secretary may also issue a notice revoking that notice;
  • improves the workability of the evaluation process; and
  • extends the sunset date for IM in Cape York, Queensland from 30 June 2020 to 31 December 2021.

Act 140 of 2020

This Act:

  • allows for the extension of the temporary Coronavirus Supplement from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021, and ensures the Supplement can be made available to all persons in receipt of youth allowance, whether because they are a student or otherwise (Part 1 of Schedule 1);
  • provides that the temporary Coronavirus Supplement and the temporary COVID-19 exemptions from the ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident’s waiting period and seasonal work preclusion period cannot be extended beyond 31 March 2021 (Part 1 of Schedule 1);
  • extends (from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021) the temporary COVID-19 qualification rules for jobseeker payment and youth allowance (Part 2 of Schedule 1);
  • permanently ends the temporary COVID-19 exemptions from the liquid assets test waiting period and assets tests, from 1 January 2021 (Part 3 of Schedule 1);
  • allows certain specified provisions of the social security law to be temporarily modified by the Minister by disallowable legislative instrument, as appropriate to respond to the changing economic and social impacts of COVID-19 until 31 March 2021 (Part 4 of Schedule 1);
  • introduces a discretionary power under the social security and veterans’ entitlements assets tests to extend the principal home temporary absence provisions where a person, for reasons beyond their control, cannot return to Australia within the allowable absence period (Part 5 of Schedule 1); and
  • permits JobKeeper information provided to Services Australia on or before 28 March 2021 to continue to be used after that date (Part 6 of Schedule 1).

These amendments have been updated in the Point-in-Time Social Security Service current to 15 February 2021. (NB: Subscription required).

If you are not already a subscriber to this or other Point-in-Time Services then please contact us to find out more or to take a free trial