Relationships and social security law | ALRC
Others may find discussing their relationship with Centrelink staff confronting, due to the Marriage Act was amended to redefine marriage as 'a union of 2. you're in a relationship similar to a married couple; you aren't married If you get any other Centrelink payments when you start a relationship. If you are legally married (and not separated) you'll be treated as independent for Youth Allowance. That is, Centrelink will not look at your parent's income.
Family violence may have implications for the way in which these relationships are defined. This rule is based on the premise that couples can live more cheaply than singles because they share expenses and produce economies of scale. A decision that a person is a member of a couple may result in the refusal, cancellation or reduction in social security payments.
It may also lead to a debt being raised against a person and may be pursued through court proceedings. Reform may be needed to ensure that the effects of family violence can disqualify a person being considered to be a member of a couple, for example: Question 13 Should further guidance be provided in the Guide to Social Security Law about the implications of family violence under the criteria in s 4 of the Social Security Act Cth? Determining separation under one roof A person is considered not to be a member of a couple where he or she is living separately and apart from the other person on a permanent or indefinite basis.
Neither the Social Security Act nor the Guide to Social Security Law provides family violence as an example of where people may be living separately and apart under one roof.
Hence, decision makers are not prompted to consider family violence when making a determination about separation under one roof. There may be situations where victims of family violence have no choice but to remain under the same roof as a person using family violence. In addition, a lack of transitory and crisis accommodation may mean that a victim of family violence has no choice but to remain under the same roof as the person using family violence.
When should I declare my relationship to Centrelink? | Lifestyle | Hijacked
The Guide to Social Security Law provides that where a claim is made on the basis of living separately and apart yet remaining under the one roof, an assessment must be made by Centrelink. This involves receiving evidence from both parties. The Guide to Social Security Law states that when deciding to interview a partner for additional information, discretion must be exercised to ensure that contact is appropriate.
Independent referees may also be called upon to verify the basis of the claim. If not, how should family violence be taken into consideration? Question 15 When contact with a partner is not appropriate due to family violence, how should family violence be assessed? For example, decision makers may not consider that people may hold themselves out to be a member of a couple despite violence due to shame or secrecy.
There may be arguments that s 24 of the Social Security Act should be amended to refer expressly to family violence as a consideration in determining whether to exercise the discretion—especially if s 4 of the Social Security Act is not amended.
Students' Representative Council, Sydney University » Relationships & Centrelink Payments
Question 16 In practice, is family violence adequately taken into consideration in the exercise of the discretion under s 24 of the Social Security Act not to treat a person as a member of a couple? Would this amendment be required if s 4 is amended in this way?
In cases where a person is sharing with another person primarily for caring reasons and companionship and there is little evidence of other factors present discussed belowthe decision maker should not form the opinion that a de facto relationship exists. Examples of a care relationship Example 1: Kathryn is 23 and has been living in share houses for about 4 years.
She has shared with a variety of different people of both sexes, but her friend Richard has also lived in each share house with her. Kathryn and Richard have been close friends since high school.
Kathryn is being paid DSP as she suffers from severe clinical depression. Richard is studying and working part-time. He provides companionship and emotional support to Kathryn when she is severely depressed, takes her to medical appointments and checks to make sure that she takes her medication and is not in danger of harming herself. Kathryn and Richard have separate bedrooms and they have never had a sexual relationship with each other nor are they romantically interested in each other.
Finding - Although Kathryn and Richard's lives are intertwined in some ways due to their friendship and living in a share household, it could not be said that they are living in a de facto relationship as Richard is providing no more support than that provided by a caring friend regardless of their sex.
Oscar is a frail 70 year old age pensioner who has severe arthritis and osteoporosis. He shares his public housing unit with an old family friend Paulo, a 74 year old age pensioner.
Both Oscar and Paulo have adult children who do not live in the local area. They provide each other with care and companionship.
- 220.127.116.11 Determining a De Facto Relationship
- Relationships and social security law
They have separate bedrooms, no jointly owned assets or income and have separate wills. They share all expenses Paulo is suffering from the early stages of dementia and Oscar helps him manage his affairs and ensures that he takes his medication, showers daily etc.
Paulo is able to help assist Oscar if he suffers a fall, and helps Oscar by doing most of the housework, although Oscar is still able to do the cooking. They go shopping together and go out socially to the local club to play bingo and have a drink with friends.
Friends and family know that they are not a couple. Finding - They are not living in a de facto relationship as they are only providing each other with support and are caring friends to one another. Frequently there may be an existence of some of the 5 factors, however, the decision should be made on the basis of other information such as why the arrangements are in place, e. Shirley had been married to Jack for 20 years when she moved out of the marital home because their relationship had completely broken down, though they remained friends.
Five years later Jack was involved in a motor vehicle accident and he subsequently became a quadriplegic. Following the accident he became very depressed and began drinking heavily. Full-time paid carers cared for Jack initially. However, his alcoholism worsened and he would become quite angry, abusive and sexually disinhibited.
The care organisation would no longer provide care for him, as it was not safe for the staff to attend.
When should I declare my relationship to Centrelink?
Shirley reluctantly agreed to move back into the marital home to care for Jack as she recently retired from work and could claim CP. Shirley and Jack had never divorced and they still jointly own the home. Finding - Shirley and Jack could not be considered to be living in a de facto relationship.
Shirley is providing the care and support of Jack not because she feels a commitment to their relationship, but due to the fact there was no-one else to care for him and admission to a nursing home was not appropriate due to his age. Evidence In deciding de facto cases, both parties may be interviewed and asked to provide additional information.
Consideration is then given to the range of information available to determine whether the parties are living in a de facto relationship. When deciding to interview a partner for additional information discretion must be exercised to ensure that the contact is appropriate.
For instance, there may be circumstances, such as domestic violence, where it is not appropriate to interview a partner at all. Centrelink records, external sources, e. It is not mandatory to obtain evidence from independent professionals to reach a decision that a person is not a member of a couple. A thorough investigation is to take place before a decision is made, and where possible all evidence is to be verified by external sources in writing.
Unless evidence is available, the decision maker should not form an opinion that a person is a member of a couple. Moral judgements or suspicions are not relevant to the decision. Factors to consider for investigating de facto relationships The 5 factors to be considered in establishing whether a de facto relationship exists are: Making a determination that a person is a member of a couple requires that the indicators for a de facto relationship outweigh the indicators that the person is not in a de facto relationship.
All 5 factors must be considered. No single factor should be seen as conclusive and not all factors need to be present.
For instance, the presence or absence of a sexual relationship is considered but does not, by itself, indicate whether or not a person is a member of a couple.
Relationships & Centrelink Payments
Different groups in society have different views about what constitutes a de facto relationship. Each case must be considered on its own merits, giving consideration to cultural background including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cultural issues, ethnicity and religious beliefs when making a determination. Financial aspects of the relationship The degree of financial interdependence, including whether arrangements for paying household expenses such as electricity, water, food or telephone are indicative of one person providing financial support for the other.
Important indicators to consider: Whether both names are listed on tenancy applications, lease agreements, or mortgage applications. Whether one or both parties are providing financial support to the other, directly or indirectly, e. Whether there is joint ownership of major assets. Joint ownership of only a few small items such as a television or kitchen appliances is not a strong indicator of financial interdependence.
If there are joint liabilities, e. Whether one party is nominated as a beneficiary of a will, life insurance policy, superannuation payment or compensation payment. Whether there are joint bank accounts.
Whether one party has a right to enforce obligations in respect of the other, such as being a guarantor for a loan for the other person. However, it is likely most couples in a de facto relationship will be financially intertwined in some way. People who share 'sharers' often split financial costs. The cost of accommodation is a major reason why people who are not in a de facto relationship share accommodation and household expenses.