Advice – Changes to the income and assets test and payments

Part of making retirement affordable is fully understanding your entitlements and keeping up to date with rule changes. Here are the latest government updates to help you stay on track.

Income and assets tests
From 2 July, the maximum income amount before the full Age Pension is affected is $172 per fortnight for singles and $304 combined per fortnight for couples The new thresholds are $1987.20 and $3040.40 respectively. The new asset limits are $561,250 for single home-owners and $844,000 for couples (combined). For non home-owners, the limits are $768,250 and $1,051,000 (combined).

Widow Allowance no longer available
From 1 July 2018, the Widow Allowance was no longer available to new applicants. Those who would previously have claimed the allowance can now make a claim for either the Newstart Allowance, Age Pension or Special Benefit (if you’re over Age Pension age but don’t meet residence rules for the Age Pension).

Recipients of the current Widow Allowance can keep the payment until 2022 or until they transfer to the pension (whichever is sooner), as long as they retain their eligibility.

End to backdated payments 
Claims for certain payments and concession cards will need to be completed in full before they are assessed, with the cessation of ‘intent to claim’ arrangement to enable backdated payments from 1 July 2018.

You will have 14 days to complete your claim if you contact Centrelink, start an online claim or submit an intent to claim before 30 June 2018.

Payment of Carer Supplement 
Those eligible for the Carers Supplement will receive a payment of $600 for each eligible person in their care. If you care for a disabled child, you will receive the Child Disability Assistance Payment of up to $1000 for each eligible child. These payments will be made between 1 July and 31 July 2018.

Changes to grandparent payments
From 2 July, grandparents who care for their grandchildren will face changes to the payments they receive, with the Grandparent Child Care Benefit (GCCB) being replaced by the Additional Child Care Subsidy (Grandparent) (ACCS) from 2 July 2018.

If you are already receiving the GCCB, you will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services advising you of the changes. If you wish to claim the ACCS (G), you will need to complete a child-care subsidy assessment via your online Centrelink account.

Downsizing super rule starts
On 1 July 2018, the much-vaunted ‘downsizing’ super rules commences. This allows retirees to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 (singles) or $600,000 (couples) into super from the proceeds of selling their primary place of residence, if they have lived there for 10 years or more. This contribution applies even if the super balance exceeds the current $1.6 million cap.

There could be a financial downside for those who take advantage of the program, with changes to exempt asset values possibly affecting your Age Pension.

More super changes take place
As well as the downsizing rules, other changes to super rules took effect on 1 July. These were:

  • the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal was replaced by the industry-funded Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
  • individuals whose annual income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers are able to nominate that wages from certain employers are not subject to the superannuation guarantee
  • rules for tax deductions on personal contributions tightened
  • catch-up super contributions can be made by individuals with a total superannuation balance of less than $500,000.

This article by Janelle Ward is published in the digital Your Life Choices – Simplifying retirement

 

 

 

 

I recommend you subscribe to it. Ted Chitham

Well-Being: Age/Service Pension update: 1 July 2018 changes

This article from YourLifeChoices reveals the indexation of income and asset thresholds that will apply from 1 July 2018.

For age/service  pensioners, this means that those who have narrowly missed out on a full or part Age/Service Pension due to income earned or assets held, may now qualify for a payment or have their payment increased.

In what could further boost your rate of Age/Service Pension paid, deeming thresholds have also been indexed.

So grab yourself a cuppa and find out if your payment will change.

Disabled Veterans – GST Exemption on a car or car parts

A reminder that  if you are an eligible disabled veteran buying or leasing a car, or purchasing car parts GST-free, you can complete this declaration and present it to your car or car parts supplier.

Disabled Veterans GST Exemption Form

ANZAC Gallipoli Archaeology Database

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today announced the Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database, which was created by the University of Melbourne.
“This remarkable database will add new layers of insight into our understanding of the Gallipoli battlefields,” Mr Chester said.
I commend the work of the University of Melbourne in creating this database. In particular I acknowledge the Joint Historical Archaeological Survey team who worked for many years to precisely record the details of the some 2,000 objects and features they located in their study.”
The database will be an important legacy of the work of the tri-nation Joint Historical Archaeological Survey, the Australian component of which was funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“I have no doubt the Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database will be of great value to researchers and the broader community,” Mr Chester said
“The Joint Historical Archaeological Survey was a significant project in the Anzac Centenary, and this database will ensure the findings of the extensive fieldwork are easily accessible to all Australian, New Zealand and Turkish people.
“I encourage all Australians to take the time to browse the database and gain a deeper understanding of the Gallipoli campaign through a unique and fascinating resource.”

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database can be accessed on the University of Melbourne website.

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database (AGAD) is a unique digital archive of the results of five seasons of archaeological survey of the World War 1 battlefield at Anzac on the Gallipoli peninsular, Turkey. It includes over 2000 records of precisely documented artefacts and features from both Turkish and Allied (Anzac) areas of the battlefield and provides a unique perspective on both sides of the conflict. AGAD aims to contribute to the study of World War I through its emphasis on landscape and artefacts.

READ MORE

Chester Media Release – Expanding services for veterans and their families in partnership with Australia Post

A program to improve easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services for veterans and their families has been launched in Mount Gambier, South Australia and North Lakes in the Moreton Bay area of Queensland as part pilot the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is conducting with Australia Post.

download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the trial is part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to put veterans and their families first.

“This pilot, in partnership with Australia Post, is exploring the opportunity for DVA to further expand its reach to veterans and their families by tapping into the extensive network of Australia Post outlets,” Mr Chester said.

“The pilot provides easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services to veterans and their families who may not have had prior contact with DVA.

“This expansion to a further two sites will provide more information about the way this service is accessed by veterans and their families in metropolitan and regional areas and will help us assess the benefits of the service further.”

The pilot supplements DVA’s existing face-to-face service delivery network by leveraging the large Australia-wide footprint of Australia Post, it does not replace any existing DVA program or service.

Information is available via the in-store Australia Post kiosk facilities, as well as the Australia Post concierge service, in-store posters, brochures and videos.

A feedback form is available via the in-store iMac in which DVA is seeking ongoing user feedback to continue improving the service. The pilot will be evaluated before its conclusion at the end of June 2018.

18th April 2018

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

AUSTRALIANS CAUGHT UP IN FACEBOOK LEAK TO BE NOTIFIED SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

About 310,000 Australian Facebook users are set to find out their personal information may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

facebook

The social media behemoth is expected on Wednesday (Tuesday US time) to notify the 87 million users worldwide whose data may have been unknowingly and “improperly” shared with the British political consulting agency.

About one in 50 Australian users and one in every three American users are among those affected.

Facebook users will receive one of two notifications at the top of their newsfeed.

READ MORE


Advice – All NSW Motorists Entitled to a Partial CTP Refund

If you REGISTERED your CAR in NSW then you are ENTITLED TO A PARTIAL CTP REFUND – As easy as a phone call

Thanks to a NSW government reform of compulsory third-party insurance last year, most NSW motorists are eligible for a partial refund.

The government is slated to return about $300 million to motorists in partial refunds, so here is how to get your portion of the funds.

The NSW government decided to reform the previous CTP scheme as it was 18 years old, and it took an injured person an average of three to five years after a vehicle accident to get compensation.

Fraudulent claims ate up about $75 in the cost of each green slip, but only 45¢ in each CTP dollar was paid out to injured people. NSW also had some of the highest premiums in the country.

The most a private motorist can receive is $125 and the minimum is $10, but the amount depends on when you renewed your green slip. As the new CTP scheme started on December 1 2017, the people who paid premiums closer to that date will get a greater refund.

I rang ‘MyServiceNSW’ 137788 gave the girl my name, email address, Rego number, who I pay my CTP to (GIO) gave her my Bank BSB & Account number & got $16.27 paid directly into my bank account for the NSW Government’s CTP Green Slip refund. Then got an email receipt.

$16.27 won’t change my life, but it might buy me 3 coffees or beers. Worth the effort? You decide.

Regards

Allan Britt
Honorary Secretary
Ballina Ex-Army Association Inc.
Email: [email protected]

Republic of Korea War Service Medal Approved for Wear

Veterans of the Korean War have been approved to wear the Republic of Korea War Service medal by Governor-General General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Minister for Defence Personnel Michael McCormack said the approval to wear this medal after initially refused by the British Government in 1951 shows the Australian Honours and Awards system has evolved to become its own unique system of recognising our service men and women.

“The Australian Council of Korea Veterans Associations has campaigned to have the decision reconsidered from an Australian perspective,” Mr McCormack said.

“The approval to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal demonstrates Australian Defence Force’s willingness to consider and accept change.

“During the Korean War, in which more than 15,000 Australians served, Australia used the Imperial Honours and Awards system and was therefore subject to the award policies set by the United Kingdom.”

Mr McCormack said the Republic of Korea War Service medal was introduced by South Korea in 1951 to recognise the assistance provided by members of the United Nations forces in combatting communist aggression in Korea.

“It has been policy to accept only one foreign award for a particular service or campaign,” Mr McCormack said.

“In this case the United Nations Medal KOREA had been accepted and therefore the offer of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal from the South Korean Government was refused.”

As a foreign award, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal is not administered by Defence and is no longer issued by the Republic of South Korea.

Eligible veterans may purchase a replica medal from any reputable medal dealer.

Veterans who have been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasp KOREA (AASM KOREA) are eligible for the Republic of Korea War Service medal.

The eligibility criteria as directed by the Republic of Korea are as follows:

  • served between 25 June 1950 and 27 July 1953
  •  service prescribed must have been performed while:
    on permanent assignment
    on temporary duty within the territorial limits of Korea or on waters immediately adjacent for 30 consecutive or
  • 60 non-consecutive daysas crew members of aircraft in aerial flight over Korea participating in combat operations or in support of combat operations.

Further information on the medal, including fact sheet, is available on the Defence Honours and Awards website, here.

INCIDENCE OF SUICIDE IN SERVING AND EX-SERVING AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE PERSONNEL: DETAILED ANALYSIS 2001–2015

This report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare quantifies the level of suicide among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and identifies factors that may be associated with suicide risk.
Between 2001 and 2015, there were 325 certified suicide deaths among people with at least 1 day of ADF service since 2001. Of these, 51% (166) were ex-serving at the time of their death, 28% (90) were serving full time and 21% (69) were in the reserves.

READ MORE

A Christmas Message – Thriving or Surviving? Qld Padre Peter Devenish-Meares

As 2017 ends: Thriving or surviving? Or a bit of both!!!   Please be assured of my prayerful support as I honour all you do. I also invite you to do a few minutes of reflection and, in this light,  I respectfully offer some practical tips on thriving not just surviving. Why not pick just one or two to think and act on.

Why do this?  Well, we all experience times when we are at the top of our game (even thriving) and perhaps don’t stop to think on it, let alone be thankful or track what worked well to get us there.  At other times, we seem to be just surviving perhaps due to heavier work volumes, rushed deadlines, marked change or unexpected occurrences etc.

In all these contexts, we can make (or not make) choices that support us to be as equipped, prepared and ‘fit’ (in body, mind and spirit) as we can be.  When life is shifting rapidly (e.g. a relocation, job change, new tasks etc.) and life seems more like the fast running tide going 80 knots per hour rather than a serene, peaceful lake, what do we do?

 

11 Tips Comment
Be active Daily, often, a must do!!… an active life can support our spirituality too
Pray How often do we stop to reflect, meditate and pray?
Teams matter We can do more together than by ourselves.  How often do we acknowledge our teams?
Take care of your body Change can equal stress.  After all the work volumes, deadlines and change, do you give yourself permission to rest, eat well and relax?
Be adventuresome How often do you see change as an adventure noting that all real adventure entails some challenge, difficulty and discomfort- that’s ok
Do one enjoyable thing each day No time?  What about 15 minutes out of 1440 minutes in a 24 hr period.  It’s only one (1%) percent of your day!!!
 

Live one day at a time

“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” (Matt 6:24)   How well do you live with ambiguity? Do you have a role model or mentor who can help? If not, ask someone if they will be a guide (most people like to be asked)
 

Inform yourself

What works for you in times of busy-ness? change? What doesn’t work? If one did a ‘gap analysis’:

(a)     who has the information you need today?

(b)     what new ideas, skills or choices do I need in my toolkit to support me, my team etc?

Ask for support In times of change, stress or ambiguity – who do you need to keep informed; who is most helpful?  Do you find it hard to ask for help?
Take time for solitude Seemingly not everyone’s cup of tea but time alone can allow us time to settle our thoughts and emotions
 

Celebrate or ritualise change

How often do you stop to celebrate a step taken? An outcome achieved?  Have you ever stopped to ritualise a change or ending? It could be as simple as closing the door with a prayer of thankfulness!

Gustin, M. (1997). Welcoming change: 10 Tips for thriving not just surviving. Ligouri MO: Ligouri Press (adapted).

I wish you every Christmas joy, peace and prayerful support for now and for 2018 and beyond as you step into whatever tomorrow holds.

Blessings

Padre Peter