Will Age Pensioners be Forced onto the Cashless Debit Card?

Sam Shetler | 22 September 2019


If the current amendments in the Income Management to Cashless Debit Card Transition Bill 2019 are passed, then the answer is yes. Yes, those who live in the Northern Territory and Cape York* trial areas – and who are on the Age Pension – will be forced on to the Cashless Debit Card. The particular amendment within the Bill which allows for the inclusion of the Age Pension is the expansion of the definition of the term ‘restrictable payment’.


The Age Pension in other trial areas will not be affected, yet. However the fear that they will be in the future is reasonable. In fact, Income Management began in the NT under the racist Intervention and then spread to the other trial sites and PM Morrison has his eyes set on expanding it further with the Cashless Debit Card.


Page 7 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the IM to CDC Transition Bill says that the trial sites outside of the NT and Cape York will maintain the existing definition which does not include the Age Pension.

Items 8 and 9 amend the definition of restrictable payment in subsection 124PD(1). Item 8 maintains the existing definition of restrictable payment for existing trial areas by confining the current definition to sections 124PG, 124PGA, 124PGB and 124PGC (that is, in respect of the Ceduna area, the East Kimberley area, the Goldfields area and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay area). [1]


Then Page 7 of the Explanatory Memorandum goes on to say that a new subsection will be inserted (if the Bill passes) to expand the definition of ‘restribable payment’ to include those on the Age Pension in NT and Cape York.

Item 9 then inserts a new subparagraph 124PD(1)(aa) to list each payment that will be a restrictable payment for CDC trial participants in the Cape York area and the NT under new sections 124PGD and 124PGE. The new paragraph does not capture transitioning IM participants who are receiving a veteran payment. [1]


The amendment or new subsection that expands the definition of ‘Restrictable Payment’ is:


9 Subsection 124PD(1) (after paragraph (a) of the definition of restrictable payment) Insert:

(aa) in relation to a trial participant under section 124PGD or 124PGE, means:(i) a payment of a kind listed in paragraph (a); or(ii) an age pension; or(iii) a social security bereavement payment in relation to an age pension under Division 9 of Part 2.2 of the 1991 Act; or(iv) a distance education payment under the scheme known as the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme, where the payment relates to a child or children at a Homeland Learning Centre; or [2]


For your reference here is how the terms restricable payment and trigger payment are defined in the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 in the current enforceable legislation.


restrictable payment:

(a) in relation to a trial participant, means: (i) a trigger payment; or(ii) a clean energy advance under the Family Assistance Act; or(iii) family tax benefit under the Family Assistance Act; or(iv) family tax benefit advance under the Family Assistance Administration Act; or(v) baby bonus under the Family Assistance Act; or(vi) schoolkids bonus under the Family Assistance Act; or(vii) stillborn baby payment under the Family Assistance Act; or(viii) carer allowance; or(ix) carer supplement; or(x) child disability assistance; or(xi) double orphan pension; or(xii) income support bonus; or(xiii) mobility allowance; or(xiv) pensioner education supplement; or(xv) a social security bereavement payment (other than a social security bereavement payment in relation to an age pension under Division 9 of Part 2.2 of the 1991 Act, a mature age allowance under Part 2.12B of the 1991 Act or a special needs pension under Division 10 of Part 2.16 of the 1991 Act); or (xvi) a clean energy advance under the 1991 Act; or (xvii) an advance payment under Part 2.22 of the 1991 Act; or(xviii) an advance pharmaceutical allowance under Part 2.23 of the 1991 Act; or(xix) a mobility allowance advance under section 1045 of the 1991 Act; or(xx) quarterly energy supplement under the 1991 Act; or(xxi) telephone allowance under Part 2.25 of the 1991 Act; or (xxii) utilities allowance under Part 2.25A of the 1991 Act; or (xxiii) a payment under the scheme known as the ABSTUDY scheme that includes an amount identified as pensioner education supplement; or


[This is where they want to amend the legislation to include the Age Pension, Bereavement Payment and Distance Education Payment for the NT and Cape York]

(b) in relation to a voluntary participant, means:(i) a payment of a kind listed in paragraph (a); or(ii) an age pension; or(iii) a social security bereavement payment in relation to anage pension under Division 9 of Part 2.2 of the 1991 Act.


trigger payment means:

(a) a social security benefit (other than a mature age allowance under Part 2.12B of the 1991 Act); or
(b) a social security pension of the following kinds:
(i) a carer payment;(ii) a bereavement allowance, so long as the recipient hasnot yet reached pension age;(iii) a disability support pension;(iv) a pension PP (single);(v) a widow B pension;(vi) a wife pension; or(c) a payment under the scheme known as the ABSTUDYscheme that includes an amount identified as livingallowance. [3]


Sources


[1] Explanatory Memorandum (2019) to the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management to Cashless Debit Card Transition) Bill 2019, P. 7 <https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/ems/r6399_ems_0db91448-bcc6-4d81-b59b-003d85d2997a/upload_pdf/19171EM.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf
[2] No. , 2019 Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management to Cashless Debit Card Transition) Bill 2019 <https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/bills/r6399_first-reps/toc_pdf/19171b01.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf?fbclid=IwAR1nJ_K9D0Mg612ZPRaXV3ngMJhPv64jx7wJtpd7XSb4GzhSbw1xYZbqxE8>
[3] Section 124PD (pp. 29-30). Social Security (Administration) Act 1999<https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00243/Download>

Notes:

Shout out to The Say NO Seven for saving me heaps of time in finding these sources and for campaigning against these changes. :)

*Cape York May have different rules but they are included in the legislation. I will update this post if its needed after hearing back form ACOSS.

Leave a comment