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r ULL information on any matter relating to Social Services can be obtained from the Commonwealth Director of Social Services in each State.

Addresses of offices in the State Capitals are:

SYDNEY:

Australia House, 52 Carrington Street. MELBOURNE:

The A.C.A. Building, 118-126 Queen Street. BRISBANE:

Commonwealth Offices, Adelaide Street. ADELAIDE:

C.M.L. Building, King William Street. PERTH:

5th Floor, G.P.O.

HOBART:

71 Murray Street.


CANBERRA:

The Regional Registrar of Social Services, Canberra City, A.C.T.



(Commonwealth <Cocial Coroiceó

A HANDBOOK OF INFORMATION

CONTENTS

PAGE

Maternity Allowances -    -    -    -    - 5    .

Child Endowment......7

Unemployment and Sickness Benefits    ->    -    10

Reciprocity with New Zealand -    -    -    -14

Widows’ Pensions......15

Age Pensions -------    19

Invalid Pensions ......    24

Blind Pensioners -----    25

Wife’s Allowance -----    25

Child’s Allowance.....26

Rehabilitation......26

Funeral Benefits -----    28

How to Apply for Benefits -    -    -    -    29

Commonwealth Health Benefits -    -    -    31

It has not been possible, within the scope of this booklet, to give complete detail of every aspect of Social Service benefits. If further information is desired on any particular aspect it may be obtained readily from any office of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. Addresses of the head offices in each State are published opposite.

Photographs used in this publication were supplied by the Commonwealth Department of Information.

FOREWORD

Even when Australia was in the grip of war, the then Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) agreed with me that social security in the post-war era demanded a comprehensive social services programme. We felt that the misery and hardship of past years were things which Australia should never have to endure again.

Today, a wide range of social servicesincomparably wider than those available before the tearis being provided by the Commonivealth. The programme is not yet complete; but already the major hazards of life are covered and in the development of the programmeespecially as it concerns matters of healththere is increasing emphasis on positive measures to raise the standards of wellbeing of the whole community.

In the following pages ivill be found the full story of what has been done up to the present lime. I ask the reader to examine carefully the contents of this publication.

CANBERRA,

May, 1949.

V



INTRODUCTION

Enlightened countries throughout the world now recognise that care of the needy aged, the invalid, widowed, sick, unemployed and distressed is properly the responsibility of the whole community.

The legislative provisions of which this booklet is a synopsis attest the Commonwealth Government’s acknowledgment of that responsibility, and of its parallel responsibility, through the prevention and treatment of disease, and allied measures, for the health of the nation.

The distribution of Social Service benefits such as maternity allowances, child endowment, unemployment and sickness benefits, hospital benefits and pharmaceutical benefits serves to foster and strengthen the family unit. This is a most important aspect of legislation designed to advance the national economic security.

This booklet, interpreting the provisions of the Social Services Consolidation Act, will enable Australians more readily to ascertain their entitlement to benefits.

It is my hope that the publication will prove informative to those entitled to benefits and to students of social services.


CANBERRA,    minister for health and

May, 1949.    MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES


MATERNITY ALLOWANCES

Maternity allowances are payments made by the Commonwealth to mothers to provide financial assistance towards the expenses associated with the birth of children.

The payment is additional to the free care, treatment and accommodation a mother receives in a public ward of a public hospital, and to the allowance of 8/- a day towards the cost of a confinement in a non-public ward of a public hospital or in an approved private hospital. (These benefits are provided by the Commonwealth under its Hospital Benefits Scheme.)

Maternity allowance payments are not subject to any means test.

Amount Payable

The payment is £15 where there are no other children. Where the mother has one or two other children under 16 years in her custody, care and control the amount is £16. For a mother who already has three or more such children the amount is £17/10/-.

An extra £5 is paid for each additional child in multiple births. Thus, when twins are born the mother will receive £20, £21, or £22/10/-, as the case may be. If triplets are born the payments would be either £25, £26 or £27/10/-.

An advance payment of £5 on account of a maternity allowance may be made to the mother, on application, four weeks before the expected date of the birth. The balance is payable immediately after the birth.

Payment of a maternity allowance is made by cheque posted to the claimant’s address.

Persons Eligible

Any woman who is a resident of Australia and gives birth to a child is eligible to receive a maternity allowance. The allowance is payable for a birth which occurs on a ship coming to Australia, provided the mother receives no maternity benefit from the country from which she has come. The allowance is payable also for a birth occurring on a ship proceeding from a port in Australia or an Australian Territory to another port in Australia or an Australian Territory.

A mother who is an alien may receive the allowance if she was a British subject before her marriage, or if she or her husband has resided in Australia for at least twelve months immediately before the birth of the child. Payment in respect of a birth which occurs within twelve months after the mother’s arrival in Australia may be made at the end of that twelve months, but it may be made immediately after the birth if the Director-General of Social Services is satisfied that the mother is likely to remain in Australia.

Maternity allowances may be paid, under certain conditions to persons ordinarily resident in Australia who are temporarily abroad.

Payment may be made in respect of the birth of a still-born child, or a child which lives for less than twelve hours, if at the time of birth the child had developed for at least 5J months.

Aboriginal Natives

Maternity allowances may be paid to aboriginal natives of Australia who have been granted exemption from State control laws or who, in any State where exemption is not provided for, are considered, by reason of character, standard of intelligence and social development, suitable persons to receive the allowance.

HISTORY

Maternity allowances were introduced by the Fisher Government in 1912. The allowance was then £5 and it was not subject to a means test.

The rate remained constant at this figure until 1931 when, under financial emergency legislation, social service payments generally were reduced. In that year, the Scullin Government reduced the allowance to £4, and introduced a means test as to income. The means test was made more restrictive in 1932 by the Lyons Government.

In 1934, provision was made by the Lyons Government for the basic allowance of £4 to be increased by 5/- in respect of each pre-\uous child under 14 years, up to a maximum of £5.

In 1936 (Lyons Government) the basic allowance was increased to £4/10/-, and the amount payable where a mother had one or more other children under 14 years was fixed at £5. Provision for payment of an allowance of £7/10/- where the mother had three or more previous children under 14 years was made by the Lyons Government in 1938.

The Curtin Government in 1943 abolished the means test for maternity allowances and increased the amount payable to £15 where there were no previous children under 14 years, £16 where there were one or two previous children under 14 years, and £17/10/-where there were three or more such children.

In 1944, the Curtin Government made provision for payment of an additional £5 in respect of the birth of twins and an additional £10 in respect of the birth of triplets, and raised the age limit for previous children to be taken into account in determining the amount of the allowance from 14 to 16 years.

The provision relating to multiple births was amended by the Chifley Government in 1947 to provide for an additional amount of £5 to be paid in respect of each child in excess of one born at a birth. At the same time provision was made for £5 of maternity allowance to be available on application at any time within four weeks prior to the expected date of the birth.

CHILD ENDOWMENT

ANY person who is resident in Australia and has the custody, care and control of more than one child under the age of 16 years may claim Child Endowment, a payment made by the Commonwealth to those with family responsibilities.

There is no means test. Payment is made to all qualified claimants, irrespective of their financial position.

Amount Payable

The amount of endowment is 10/- a week for each child in excess of one under the age of 16 years. Thus, a person with two children under 16 receives 10/- a week; with three children £1 a week; with four children £1/10/- a week, and so on.

Payments are made at four-weekly intervals, by orders payable at a bank or a Post Office. Arrangements may he made to have the money paid to a bank account every 12 weeks.

In cases where the amount payable each four weeks exceeds ,€10, payment is made by cheque.

Persons Eligible

In ordinary circumstances, where the children are living with their parents, the mother makes the claim for endowment and receives the payments.

There are special provisions to meet cases of families divided by divorce, separation, unemployment, death of a parent or other special circumstances. In such cases payment may be made to the father, mother, guardian, or other person.

There is a twelve months’ residential requirement for claimants and children who were not born in Australia, but this is waived if the Director-General of Social Services is satisfied that the claimant and the children are likely to remain permanently in Australia.

A child born during the mother’s temporary absence from Australia is deemed to have been born in Australia.

Child of Alien Father

Endowment may be paid in respect of a child whose father is not a British subject if—the child was born in Australia; the mother is a British subject; or the Director-General is satisfied the child is likely to remain permanently in Australia.

Aboriginal Natives

Endowment may be paid to aboriginal natives of Australia unless they are nomadic or unless the children concerned are wholly or mainly maintained by the Commonwealth or a State.

Payment Begins

from the commencement of the next four-weekly endowment period after the date on which the claimant becomes eligible, provided a claim is lodged within three months after that date; otherwise payment is made from the commencement of the next fourweekly period after the date on which the claim is lodged.

»

Payment Ceases

from the end of the endowment period in which—

(1)    the child reaches the age of 16 years;

(2)    the child, or the person to whom endowment is granted, ceases to reside in Australia, unless the absence in either case is temporary only;

or from the date on which the child ceases to be in the custody, care and control of the endowee.

Children in Institutions

Endowment, at the rate of 10/- a week for each child inmate under the age of 16 years, may be claimed by any charitable or religious institution or organisation, including an institution (other than a hospital for the insane) maintained by the Commonwealth or a State, approved by the Director-General.

Australians Temporarily Abroad

Endowment payments may be made, under certain conditions, to residents of Australia who are temporarily abroad.

HISTORY

Child Endowment was introduced by the Menzies Government. Payments commenced in July, 1941, at the rate of 5/- a week for each child in excess of one under the age of 16 years.

The rate of payment was increased by the Curtin Government in June, 1945, to 7/6 a week. It was again increased, to 10/- a week, by the Chifley Government in November, 1948.

HAPPY, HEALTHY AUSTRALIANS.—The Turley family, of Geelong, Victoria, draws one of Australia's largest Child Endowment cheques. Mr. and Mrs. Turley have 16 children, aged from 19 years to one year. When this photograph was taken late in 1948, Mrs. Turley was receiving endowment for 12 children at the new rote of 10/- a week. The monthly cheque from the Social Services Department was £24. Picture shows Mr. Turley, a first-class goods checker at the Geelong railway depot, Mrs. Turley, Lorna (19), Arthur (17), Harold (16), Mary (15), Thelma (13), Lucy (12), John (11), James (10), twins Marie and Lois (8), Eric (7), Norma (6), Kathleen (4), Peter (3), and Brian (1). A married daughter, Jean (18), was not present.

UNEMPLOYMENT and SICKNESS BENEFITS

The Commonwealth makes benefit payments to people who, through unemployment, sickness or accident, suffer temporary loss of regular earnings.

These payments are available to eligible claimants between the ages at which child endowment ceases and age pensions commence— that is, to men between the ages of 16 and 65, and to women between 16 and 60.

There is a means test as to income, but none as to property.

Rate of Benefit

The maximum payment to a married claimant is 25/- a week, with an allowance of 20/- a week for a dependent spouse and 5/- a week for one child, making a total payment by the Commonwealth of 50/- a week. A married claimant may have income of 20/- a week and still draw the full rate, making his total receipts £3/10/- a week.

The maximum payment to an unmarried claimant 21 years of age or over is 25/- a week, and he may have other income of 20/- a week, a total of 45/- a week.

Any qualified claimant who has a child under 16 years of age in his custody, care and control is paid additional benefit of 5/- a week in respect of the child.

The weekly rates for unmarried claimants under 21 years of age are:—16 years and under 17 years, 15/-, with permissible income 5/-, total 20/-; 17 years and under 18 years, 15/-, with permissible income 10/-, total 25/-; 18 years and under 21 years, 20/-, with permissible income 15/-, total 35/-.

Additional benefit (not exceeding 20/- a week) may be paid in respect of a claimant’s housekeeper, where no such benefit is payable in respect of his wife, provided there are one or more children under 16 years of age in the home and the woman is substantially dependent on the claimant but is not employed by him.

Effect of Income

Where the income exceeds the appropriate permissible amount the rate of benefit is reduced by the amount of the excess.

For Unemployment Benefit purposes, the incomes of the claimant and spouse are taken into account, but where claimant and spouse are permanently separated any income received by the spouse may be disregarded.

“Income” means any personal earnings, moneys, valuable consideration or profits received from any source. It includes any periodical payment or benefit by way of gift or allowance, but does not include child endowment or other payments in respect of children, maternity allowance, benefits under the Hospital Benefits Act, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act or the Tuberculosis Act, or amounts paid in reimbursement of medical, dental or similar expenses actually'paid.

In cases of Sickness Benefit, 20/- a week of any payment received from any approved friendly society or other similar approved body in respect of the incapacity for which the benefit is claimed is not counted as income.

Persons Eligible

Men, over 16 and under 65 years, and women, over 16 and undei 60 years, who are qualified in other respects, are eligible for Unemployment and Sickness Benefits if they have been resident in Australia for the twelve months immediately preceding the claim, or if the Director-General of Social Services is satisfied that they intend to remain permanently in Australia.

Anyone receiving an age, invalid or widow’s pension, or a service pension (as distinct from a war pension) under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act, is ineligible.

U nemployment

To qualify for an Unemployment Benefit a claimant must establish—

(a)    that he is unemployed and that his unemployment is not due to his being a direct participant in a strike;

(b)    that he is capable and willing to undertake suitable work; and

(c)    that he has taken reasonable steps to obtain such work. (Registration with the local Commonwealth District Employment Officer is necessary.)

Sickness

To qualify for a Sickness Benefit a claimant must establish—

(a)    that he is temporarily incapacitated for work by reason of sickness or accident; and

(b)    that he has thereby suffered a loss of salary, wages or other income.

Married Women

A married woman may not receive a sickness benefit if it is reasonably possible for her husband to maintain her. A partial benefit may be paid in cases where a husband is able only partially to maintain a sick or incapacitated wife.

Aboriginal Natives

Benefits may be paid to aboriginal natives considered suitable by reason of character, standard of intelligence and social development.

Payment of Benefit

Unemployment benefit is payable from and including the seventh day after the day on which the claimant became unemployed or lodged his claim, whichever is the later, and continues only so long as he is able and willing to undertake suitable work and is otherwise qualified.

Sickness benefit is payable from and including the seventh day after the day on which the claimant became incapacitated, provided a claim is lodged within six weeks after that day. If the claim is not lodged within six weeks, payment commences from the date the claim is lodged except where the Director-General, in special cases, decides to pay from an earlier date.

It is important to claim early. Claims may be made by another person on a claimant’s behalf, even if full details are not available. Payment is made weekly by cheque.

Compensation

Where a person qualified for sickness benefit receives or is entitled to receive (in respect of the same period and the same incapacity for which the sickness benefit is payable) any payment by way of compensation (including workers’ compensation), damages, or otherwise under any law (except payments for which he has contributed), the amount of the compensation, etc., is not taken into account as income, but it is deducted from the rate of sickness benefit otherwise payable.

Pending the determination of a claim for compensation (or damages, etc.), a sickness benefit may be paid without any deduction in respect of the compensation, but the Director-General of Social Services may require the person against whom the beneficiary has a claim to pay to him (the Director-General), out of the compensation, the amount of sickness benefit overpaid in consequence of the compensation entitlement. Claimants in cases in which compensation is involved should ascertain their position from any office of the Department of Social Services.

Assurance in industry and in age. Australian workers

V .

are now given protection against the insecurities thct

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haunted previous generations. Loss of earning power

through sickness, accident or unemployment no longer

means destitution or charity. Through Social Service

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benefits the nation guarantees security.

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Rehabilitation

Unemployment and sickness beneficiaries are eligible for participation in the Commonwealth rehabilitation scheme under the same conditions as invalid pensioners. For full particulars of this scheme see page 26 of this booklet.

The grant or continuance of an unemployment or sickness benefit may be declined if the claimant or beneficiary, on being required by the Director-General, fails to undergo a medical examination or to receive treatment or undertake training or to do any suitable work.

Special Benefit

A special benefit may be granted to a person not qualified for an unemployment or sickness benefit if, by reason of age, physical or mental disability or domestic circumstances, or for any other reason, he is unable to earn a sufficient livelihood for himself and his dependants, if any. This special benefit is not available to any person in receipt of an age, invalid or widow’s pension, or a service pension.

HISTORY

The legislation providing for unemployment and sickness benefits was passed by the Curtin Government in April, 1944. Payments commenced in July, 1945.    •

RECIPROCITY WITH NEW ZEALAND

Under an agreement between the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, signed at Sydney on April 15, 1949, reciprocity in social services between the two countries has been greatly extended.

Previously limited to Age and Invalid pensions and to the more restrictive conditions of the laws of the two countries, full reciprocity now extends to widows’ pensions, child endowment and unemployment and sickness benefits, on a new and wider basis of entitlement, covering both permanent and temporary change of residence.

Residence in one country now counts as residence in the other in relation to entitlement to benefits in which a residential qualification applies.

Persons who contemplate a change of residence between New Zealand and Australia can obtain full information from any office of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, or of the New Zealand Department of Social Security.


WIDOWS’ PENSIONS

The Commonwealth pays widows’ pensions to widows and other women in several classes.

There is a means test as to both income and property.

The various classes of women provided for are:—

Class A: A widow who has the custody, care and control of one or more children under the age of 16 years. Maximum pension, £2/7/6 a week.

Class B: A widow, not less than 50 years of age, who has no children under 16 years of age in her custody, care and control. Maximum pension, £1/17/- a week.

Class C: A widow, under 50 years of age, who has no children under 16 years of age in her custody, care and control, hut who is in necessitous circumstances within 26 weeks after the death of her husband. Maximum pension, £2/2/6 a week (payable for not more than 26 weeks immediately after death of husband).

Class D: A woman whose husband has been serving a term of imprisonment for at least six months, if she has the custody, care and control of one or more children under the,age of 16 years, or if she is not less than 50 years of age. Maximum pension, £1/17/- a week.

The term “widow” for the purpose of these benefits includes, in appropriate cases, a deserted wife, a divorcee, a women whose husband is an inmate of a hospital for the insane, and certain dependent females under conditions specified by the Act.

No woman may receive at the same time both a widow’s pension and an age pension or an invalid pension.

Residential Qualification

In order to qualify for a widow’s pension, the claimant must have resided in Australia continuously for five years immediately prior to the dale of lodgment of the claim. Continuity of residence is not regarded as broken by absence in a Territory of the Commonwealth.

Periods of absence from Australia, in certain circumstances, count as residence. These are: Absences due to war, absences during which the claimant was a resident of Australia for income tax purposes, and occasional absences not exceeding in the aggregate one-tenth of the total period of residence inclusive of those absences. A claimant is also deemed to have been resident in Australia during any temporary absence during which her home remained in Australia if, being then a widow, she maintained any of her children under 16 years who were dependent on her before she left Australia.

Aboriginal Natives

Widows’ pensions may be granted to aboriginal native women who have been granted exemption from State control laws, or who, in any State where exemption is not provided for, are considered, by reason of character, standard of intelligence and social development, suitable persons to receive pensions.

Effect of Income

A widow in Class A, B or D may have income amounting to £78 a year (30/- a week) and still receive a full pension. If her income from other sources exceeds £78 a year, the pension is reduced by the amount of the excess.

A widow in Class A is not entitled to any pension if her income from other sources amounts to £201/10/- a year (£3/17/6 a week) or more.

A widow in Class B or D is not entitled to any pension if her income from other sources amounts to £174/4/- a year (£3/7/- a week) or more.

Additional other income is allowed where a claimant has a dependent child under the age of 16 years. The additional amount is £13 a year (5/- a week) for one child, less the amount of any payment received for or in respect of the child.

The provisions in relation to income and property do not specifically apply to a widow in Class C, who is entitled to pension only if in necessitous circumstances.

“Income” means any personal earnings, moneys, valuable consideration or profits received by the claimant from any source. It includes any periodical payment or benefit by way of gift or allowance from a person other than the parents or children of the claimant.

Benefits and payments not regarded as income are: Benefits from a friendly society; payments from any trade union in respect of illness, infirmity or age; the value of food relief or similar State assistance; child endowment or other payments in respect of children; maternity allowance; benefits under the Hospital Benefits Act, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act or the Tuberculosis Act; or interest credited or paid under the War Gratuity Acts of 1920 and 1945.

Gifts or allowances received by a claimant from her parents or children are not regarded as income.

Any amount in excess of 15/- a week received by a deserted wife or a divorcee from her husband, or former husband, for the maintenance of a child is taken into account as part of the claimant’s income.

The value of free board and lodging is assessed at 12/6 a week.

Payment is made fortnightly in cash at a Post Office nominated by the claimant or, where desired, by cheque posted to the claimant’s address.

Claimants Receiving War Pensions

A woman who is receiving, in respect of the death of her husband, a war widow’s pension under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act, is not permitted to receive, in addition, a civil widow’s pension.

A widow may, however, receive a civil widow’s pension in addition to a war pension, but the total amount payable in respect of the two pensions must not exceed £3/12/6 a week in the case of a Class A widow (£3/17/6 where no income is received for the unendowed child) or £3/2/6 a week in the case of a widow coming within Class B, C or D. Where the war pension and the widow’s pension together exceed the limit applicable, the widow’s pension is reduced by the amount of the excess, but the widow is permitted to have, in addition, income to bring her total war pension and widow’s pension payments, plus the other income, up to the appropriate limit oi income plus pension.

Effect of Property

A woman in Class B or D may have property to the net value of £109 and receive a full pension of £96/4/- a year (£1/17/- a week) subject to any deduction on account of income. The annual rate of pension is reduced by £1 for every complete £10 of the net value of property above £100 up to £450, and by £1 for every complete £7 of the remainder (if any) of the net value up to £750. If a woman in either Class B or D has property of a net value of more than £750 she is disqualified for a pension.

There is no sliding scale in respect of the value of property owned by a woman in Class A, but she is disqualified for pension if she has property worth more than £1,000. A woman in Class A may thus have property valued at any amount up to £1,000 and receive a full pension of £123/10/- a year (£2/7/6 a week) subject to any deduction on account of income.

“Property,” as for age and invalid pensions, includes all real and personal property, such as houses or land or interests therein, money in a bank or invested or lent to any person, bonds, shares in companies, interests in estates of deceased persons, livestock, etc.

The value of a home in which a claimant or pensioner lives, and of her furniture and personal effects, is disregarded in determining eligibility for pension.

Other types of property disregarded are: The surrender value (up to £200) of any life insurance policies; the capital value of any

[17]'

life interest or annuity; the capital value of any contingent interest; the present value (up to £500) of any reversionary interests; any property to which the claimant is entitled from the estate of a deceased person, but which has not been received by her, or the amount of any Commonwealth war gratuity.

Persons Disqualified

In addition to the disqualifications arising from income and property, certain women are specifically disqualified from receiving widows’ pensions. They include:—

A woman who is not a British subject, unless she was a British subject before her marriage;

A widow who is in receipt of a war widow’s pension under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act in respect of the death of her husband;

A woman who has directly or indirectly deprived herself of property or income in order to qualify for a pension;

A deserted wife or a divorcee who has not taken reasonable action to obtain maintenance from her husband or former husband;

A woman who is not of good character or deserving of a pension.

Continuance of Class A Pension

The pension payable to a Class A widow may be continued after her child attains the age of 16 years if the child goes on with fulltime education at a school or university and is still dependent on the widow and is not in employment. These conditions apply until the child reaches the age of 18 years.

HISTORY

Widows’ Pensions were introduced by the Curtin Government in June, 1912. Maximum weekly rates then were: Class A, 30/-; Class B. 25/-; Class C, 25/-.

Cost of living adjustments brought these rates to 32/-, 27/- and 27/- respectively, at August, 1943.

In 1945 the Chifley Government increased the Class A rate to 37/6 and the Class C rate to 32/6. In 1947, the maximum rates were each increased by 5/- a week, to 42/6, 32/- and 37/6 respectively, and pensions for women in Class D were introduced, at 32/-a week.

In 1948, the Chifley Government again made an all-round increase of 5/- a week, bringing the maximum rates to: Class A, 47/6; Class B, 37/-; Class C, 42/6; Class D, 37/-.

The means test was liberalised in August, 1946, and again in October, 1948.

AGE PENSIONS

The Commonwealth provides age pensions for men at 65 years of age and for women at 60 years of age. There is a means test as to both income and property.

Residential Qualification

In order to qualify for an age pension, the claimant must have resided in Australia continuously for a period of at least 20 years, which need not he immediately prior to the date of the claim for pension. Continuity of residence is not regarded as broken by absence in a Territory of the Commonwealth.

Periods of absence from Australia, in certain circumstances, count as residence. These are: Absences due to war, absences during which the claimant was a resident of Australia for income tax purposes and occasional absences not exceeding in the aggregate one-tenth of the total period of residence inclusive of those absences. A claimant is also deemed to have been resident in Australia during any temporary absence during which his home remained in Australia, but in the case of a married man this concession applies only if, during his absence, he maintained his wife and any children under 16 years of age.

Aboriginal Natives

Age pensions may be granted to aboriginal natives of Australia who have been granted exemption from State control laws, or who, in any State where exemption is not provided for, are considered, by reason of character, standard of intelligence and social development, suitable persons to receive pensions.

Rate of Pension

The maximum rate of pension is £110/10/- a year (£2/2/6 a week). Payment is made fortnightly in cash at a Post Office nominated by tbe pensioner, or, where desired, by cheque posted to the pensioner’s address.

Pensioner-inmates of benevolent asylums are paid 15/- a week of their pensions; the balance of the pension is paid to the institution towards the pensioner’s maintenance.

Effect of Income

A pensioner may have income amounting to £78 a year (30/-a week) and receive a full pension, making his total receipts £3/12/6 a week. If the pensioner’s income from other sources exceeds £78 a year, the pension is reduced by the amount of the excess, the total amount received, by way of pension and income, remaining at

[19]

£3/12/6 a week. If a claimant’s income from other sources amounts to £3/12/6 a week (£188/10/- a year), no pension is payable.

In the case of husband and wife (except where they are legally separated or in certain other circumstances), the income of each is taken to be half the total income of both, even if only one is a pensioner or claimant. Thus, a married couple, where only one is a pensioner, may have an income between them of £3 a week from other sources, in addition to the full single pension of £2/2/6, making their total receipts £5/2/6 a week. Where the joint income from other sources exceeds £3, the pension is reduced by half the excess.

If both husband and wife are pensioners, they may have income between them of £3 a week from other sources and receive both pensions in full, making their total receipts £7/5/- a week. Where their joint income from other sources exceeds £3 a week, each pension is reduced by half the excess income. Where the joint income from other sources reaches £7/5/- a week (£377 a year) no pension is payable.

Additional other income is allowed where a claimant has a dependent child under the age of 16 years. The additional amount is £26 a year (10/- a week) for one child, less the amount of any payment received for or in respect of the child.

“Income” means any personal earnings, moneys, valuable consideration or profits received by a person from any source, and includes any periodical payment or benefit by way of gift or allowance (other than from parents or children).

Benefits and payments not regarded as income are: Benefits from a friendly society; payments from any trade union in respect of illness, infirmity or age; the value of food relief or similar State assistance; child endowment or other payments in respect of children; maternity allowance; benefits under the Hospital Benefits Act, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act or the Tuberculosis Act, or interest credited or paid under the War Gratuity Acts of 1920 and 1945.

The value of free board and lodging is assessed at 12/6 a week.

If the spouse of a claimant or pensioner receives a service pension under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act, the service pension is not counted as income, provided the claimant or pensioner does not also receive a service pension and the spouse is not in receipt of an age or invalid pension or a wife’s allowance.

Claimants Receiving War Pensions

A person receiving a war pension may be granted an age or invalid pension in addition to the war pension, but the total amount payable in respect of the two pensions must not exceed £3/2/6 a week.

In the case of a married couple where each receives a civil pension (age or invalid, wife’s allowance or service pension), the

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The Commonwealth pays Age Pensions, subject to means test, to men at 65, and women at 60. Maximum rate is £2/2/6 a week, with permissible income 3U/- a week.

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total amount which may be received in respect of war pensions and civil pensions is £6/2/- a week; in other cases of married persons the limit is £5 a week.

Where the war pension and the civil pension together exceed the appropriate limit, the civil pension is reduced by the amount of the excess, but the pensioner is permitted to have other income to bring the total war pension and civil pension payments, plus the other income, up to the appropriate limit of income plus pension.

Effect of Property

A pensioner may have property to the value of £109 and receive a full pension of £110/10/- a year (£2/2/6 a week), subject to any deduction on account of income.

The annual rate of pension is reduced by £1 for every complete £10 of the net value of property above £100 up to £450, and by £2 for every complete £10 of the remainder (if any) of the net value up to £750.

Thus, if a pensioner has property valued at, say, £250, he loses £15 of the annual pension. His pension is then £95/10/- a year (£1/16/9 a week).

A pensioner with property worth £500 w'ould lose £1 of pension every £10 between £100 and £450, and £2 for every £10 between £450 and £500. Thus, he would have £45 deducted from the annual pension and would receive a pension of £65/10/- a year (£1/5/3 a week).

A person who has property worth more than £750 is not entitled to receive any pension.

In the case of husband and wife (except where they are legally separated or in certain other circumstances), each is regarded as owning half the property of both, even if only one is a pensioner or claimant.

Thus a pensioner couple could have £219 between them and each could receive the full pension. They would lose only £1 of pension for every £20 of the value of their joint property between £200 and £900 and £2 of pension for every £20 above £900.

If their joint property was worth more than £1,500, neither would be entitled to receive any pension.

“Property” includes all real or personal property, such as houses or land or interests therein, money in a bank or invested or lent to any person, bonds, shares in companies, interests in estates of deceased persons, livestock, etc.

The value of a home in which a claimant or pensioner lives, and of his furniture and personal effects, is disregarded in determining eligibility for pension.

Other types of property disregarded are: The surrender value (up to £200) of any life insurance policies; the capital value of any life interest or annuity; the capital value of any contingent interest; the present value (up to £500) of any reversionary interests; any property to which claimant or spouse is entitled from the estate of a deceased person, but which has not been received by the claimant or spouse, and the amount of any Commonwealth war gratuity.

An unmarried pensioner (including a widower, widow or divorcee) may own his own home and furniture, have other property valued at up to £109 and income up to 30/- a week and receive a full pension of £2/2/6 a week.

A married couple, where only one is eligible for a pension, may own their own home and furniture, have between them other property value at up to £219 and income up to £3 a week, and receive one full pension of £2/2/6 a week.

A pensioner couple may own their own home and furniture, have between them other property valued at up to £219 and income up to £3 a week, and each receive the full pension of £2/2/6 a week.

Persons Disqualified

Age pensions are not granted to:—

Aliens (except women who, before their marriage, were British subjects).

Anyone who has directly or indirectly deprived himself of property or income in order to qualify for a pension.

A husband who, without just cause, has deserted his wife, if the desertion has continued during the six months immediately preceding the date of his claim for pension, or who, during that period, has failed to provide adequately for his wife or neglected to maintain any of his children under the age of 16 years.

A wife who, without just cause, has deserted her husband, or who has deserted any of her children under the age of 16 years, if the desertion has continued during the six months immediately preceding the date of her claim for pension.

Anyone who is not of good character or deserving of a pension.

INVALID PENSIONS

Invalid Pensions are provided by the Commonwealth for persons aged 16 years or over who are permanently incapacitated for work or permanently blind. There is a means test, as to both income and property, similar to that for age pensions (see pages 19-23).

A person is deemed to be permanently incapacitated for work if the degree of his permanent incapacity is not less than 85 per cent. The claimant must have become permanently incapacitated or permanently blind while in Australia or during a temporary absence from Australia, but this condition is waived if he has resided in Australia for not less than 20 years (continuous or otherwise), which may be partly before or partly after the occurrence of the permanent incapacity or blindness.

A person who is temporarily incapacitated is not eligible for an invalid pension, but may be eligible for a sickness benefit (see pages 10-14).

Residential Qualification

In order to qualify for an invalid pension, the claimant must have resided in Australia continuously for a period of at least five years, which need not be immediately prior to the date of the claim for pension. The conditions regarding absences from Australia are the same as for age pensions.

Aboriginal Natives

Invalid pensions may be granted to aboriginal natives of Australia on the same conditions as apply for age pensions.

Rate of Pension

The maximum rate of pension is the same as for age pensions, i.e., £110/10/- a year (£2/2/6 a week).

Payment is made fortnightly in cash at a Post Office nominated by the pensioner or, where desired, by cheque posted to the pensioner’s address.

Persons Disqualified

The following persons are disqualified from receiving invalid pensions:—

Aliens (except women who, before their marriage, were British subjects).

Anyone who has directly or indirectly deprived himself of property or income in order to qualify for a pension.

A person, under the age of 21 years, who is adequately maintained by his parents.

A person who has an enforceable claim against any person, under any law or contract, for adequate compensation in respect of his permanent incapacity or blindness.

A person who is not deserving of a pension.

Effect of Income and Property

The position is the same as for age pensions (see pages 19-23), but blind pensioners, whether in receipt of age pension or invalid pension, are permitted to have a higher income from other sources than pensioners who are not blind.

Blind Pensioners

A blind pensioner may have income of £305/10/- a year (£5/17/6 a week) and receive the full pension (invalid or age) of £2/2/6 a week, making his total receipts £8 a week. The pension is reduced by whatever amount the pensioner’s income from other sources exceeds the rate of £5/17/6 a week. If a blind person’s income from other sources amounts to £8 a week or more, no pension is payable.

In the case of husband and wife, even if only one is a claimant or pensioner, the permissible income of £5/17/6 a week includes the income of both husband and wife.

Where both husband and wife are blind, they may have between them an income of £5/17/6 a week and each receive the full pension of £2/2/6, making their total receipts £10/2/6 a week. Where their joint income from other sources exceeds £5/17/6 a week, the pension of each is reduced by half the amount of the excess income.

The means test in respect of property is the same for blind pensioners as for other pensioners.

Claimants Receiving War Pensions

The position is the same as for age pensions (see pages 20 and

22).

WIFE’S ALLOWANCE

An allowance, not exceeding £62/8/- a year (£1/4/- a week) may be granted to the wife of an invalid pensioner, if she is living with her husband and is not receiving an invalid or age pension, or a service pension under the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act. The rate of the allowance is affected by income and property on the same basis as an age or invalid pension.

This allowance is payable, on the same conditions, to the wife of an age pensioner who is permanently incapacitated for work or permanently blind.

A wife’s allowance is not payable to a woman whose husband is an inmate of a benevolent asylum, unless she has the custody, care

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and control of a child under the age of 16 years or is not less than 50 years of age.

CHILD’S ALLOWANCE

An allowance of £23/8/- a year (9/- a week) in respect of an unendowed child under the age of 16 years may be granted to the wife of an invalid pensioner (or age pensioner who is permanently incapacitated for work or permanently blind), if she is living with her husband and is not receiving a service pension.

This allowance for a child is additional to the wife’s allowance and may also be granted where the wife is ineligible on account of income or property for a wife’s allowance.

A child’s allowance may also be granted to any invalid pensioner who has the custody, care and control of a child under the age of 16 years, but where both husband and wife are invalid pensioners, living together, the child’s allowance is payable only to the wife.

REHABILITATION OF INVALID PENSIONERS

Invalid pensioners may be given treatment and vocational training, at the Commonwealth’s expense, to enable them to learn a craft or occupation by which they may become self-supporting. Treatment includes medical, dental, psychiatric and hospital treatment, physical training, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The Department of Social Services has established rehabilitation centres and outpatients’ clinics.

The cases selected for treatment and training are those in which the pensioner’s disability is remediable and there are reasonable prospects of his engaging in a suitable vocation within two years after the commencement of treatment or training.

During treatment, payment of pension continues, but when vocational training commences the pension is suspended and the trainee is paid a rehabilitation allowance equivalent to the invalid pension for which he is qualified, plus a training allowance of £1 a week. Additional allowances towards living away from home costs are paid where necessary, and fares regularly incurred in travel for

treatment or training may also be paid by the Commonwealth.

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A pensioner undergoing treatment or training may be provided with artificial replacements, surgical aids and appliances and with books, equipment and tools of trade (costing not more than £20). The pensioner, however, is required to pay the cost of any such articles which he retains for his own use, but payments may be made by small instalments after he has commenced employment.

If the treatment or vocational training of a pensioner does not result in his being able to engage in employment, his right to the continuance of his invalid pension is not prejudiced.

HISTORY OF AGE AND INVALID PENSIONS

Commonwealth age pensions were introduced by the Deakin Government in 1909. The pension was then 10/- a week and permissible income was also 10/- a week.

Invalid pensions were introduced by the Fisher Government in December, 1910, also at the rate of 10/- a week.

Variations in the rate of invalid pensions have since been the same as for age pensions.

The pension rate was first increased by the Hughes (Labour) Government in 1916 to 12/6 a week, and the next increase, to 15/- a week, was made by the Hughes (Nationalist) Government in 1920.

The Bruce-Page Government increased the rate to 17/6 a week in September, 1923, and at the same time raised the permissible income from 10/- to 12/6 a week. In 1925 the same Government increased the pension rate by 2/6 to 20/- a week.

Pensions were reduced in the depression years. The maximum rate was reduced to 17/6 a week in 1931 by the Scullin Government. In 1932 the Lyons Government introduced a provision reducing the rate to 15/- if the pensioner had income of not less than 2/6 a week. Pensioners who had income of less than 2/6 a week were paid the difference between 17/6 a week and the amount of any income. Sixty-three per cent, of pensioners continued to receive pension at the rate of 17/6 a week.

The Lyons Government removed this provision in 1933 and introduced a system of cost of living adjustments. In 1935 an adjustment of 6d. a week brought the maximum rate to 18/-. Two further increases of 1/- a week by the Lyons Government in 1936 and 1937 restored the maximum rate of pension to the 1925 level of 20/- a week. The provisions for cost of living adjustments were repealed in September, 1937.

An increase of 1/- a week was made by the Menzies Government in 1940, and the system of cost of living adjustments was re-introduced. An adjustment of 6d. in 1941 brought the maximum rate to 21/6.

Later in 1941 the Curtin Government increased the pension rate by 2/- to 23/6, and in the next two years, under the same administration, six cost of living adjustments and one increase of 6d. a week brought the pension rate up to 27/-.

In November, 1943, as a result of a fall in the price index number, a reduction of 6d. was made in the pension to 26/6 a week. This reduction, however, was restored in December, 1943, with retrospective effect, under National Security Regulations, which also suspended the operation of the cost of living provisions. These provisions were repealed by the Curtin Government in April, 1944.

The Curtin Government in 1945 increased the pension rate by 5/6 to 32/6. A further increase of 5/-, to 37/6, was made by the Chifley Government in 1947.

In 1946, the Chifley Government liberalised the means test by increasing the permissible income from 12/6 to 20/- a week and raising the property bar from £4.00 to £650.

The Chifley Government again increased the pension rate by 5/-, to 42/6 a week, in 1948, and made a further liberalisation of the means test, raising the permissible income to 30/- a week and the property bar to £750.

Allowances for wives and children were introduced by the Curtin Government in July, 1943. Present rates, as shown on pages 25 and 26, became effective on June 30, 1949, when the rate for each allowance was increased by 4/- a week.

FUNERAL BENEFITS

A FUNERAL benefit of £10 is payable to the person who has paid, or is liable to pay, the cost of the funeral of an age or invalid pensioner or of a claimant who, but for his death, would have been granted an age or invalid pension.

Where the cost of the funeral has been partly met by a payment from a contributory funeral benefit fund of an organisation other than a friendly society, funeral benefit is payable to the extent of the amount (not above £10) by which the cost of the funeral exceeded the amount paid from the fund.

A funeral benefit is not payable to a person administering a contributory funeral benefit fund.

A claim for funeral benefit should be lodged (within six months after the pensioner’s death) with the Commonwealth Director of Social Services in the capital city of the State in which the death occurred. Claim forms may be obtained from a Registrar of Deaths or from any office of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.

Funeral benefits were introduced by the Curtin Government in July, 1943.

FINANCE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES

All social services and health benefits provided by the Commonwealth are non-contributory, in the sense that eligibility is not related to contributions by taxation.

Payments are made from the National Welfare Fund, which is financed by Social Services Contribution, levied on individuals at a graduated rate, commencing at 3d. in the £ and rising to 1 /6d. in the £ on taxable incomes, plus the proceeds of a pay roll tax.

Income levels at which individual taxpayers commence to make Social Services Contribution are (May, 1949) : Person without dependants, at £1,05 a year; man with dependent wife, at £201 a year; man with wife and one child, £284; man with wife and 2 children, £318; man with wife and 3 children, £351; man with wife and 4 children, £401; man with wife and 5 children, £451. At none of these levels is income tax payable.

[28]

HOW TO APPLY FOR BENEFITS

Full information on all matters relating to Social Service benefits may be obtained from the Commonwealth Director of Social Services in the capital city of each State, or from any office of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.

Claim Forms and Information Sheets

These may be obtained at any Post Office, or at any office of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.

Maternity Allowance claim forms may be obtained also from any Registrar of Births. Claim forms for Unemployment and Sickness Benefits are available also from any Registrar of Unemployment and Sickness Benefits.

Lodgment of Claims

AGE, INVALID AND WIDOWS’ PENSIONS Claimants living in metropolitan areas should lodge their claims with the Commonwealth Director of Social Services in the capital city of the State in which they reside. Other claimants should lodge claims with the nearest Commonwealth Registrar of Social Services.

CHILD ENDOWMENT AND MATERNITY ALLOWANCES Claims should be sent to the Commonwealth Director of Social Services in the capital city of the State in which the claimant resides or in which the birth occurred.

Maternity Allowance: Claims should be lodged w'ithin three months after the date of the birth. A Certificate of Registration of Birth must be attached to the claim. This will be supplied free of charge by the Registrar of Births. The doctor, midwife, or other person who attends the mother at the birth of the child must complete the relevant portion of the claim form.

UNEMPLOYMENT AND SICKNESS BENEFITS Claims should be lodged with the nearest Registrar of Unemployment and Sickness Benefits or Regional Registrar of Social Services, or, in districts where there is no Registrar, with the District Agent or the District Employment Officer. A medical certificate should be attached to a claim for Sickness Benefit, but lodgment of the claim should not be delayed on this account.

Pointing to the future with confidence. This laddie, to-morrow's citizen, will grow in security because of Australia's planned social service benefits. He has aids and advantages his father never knew in the economic Dottle.

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COMMONWEALTH HEALTH BENEFITS

The Commonwealth social services described on pages 5 to 29 of this booklet are provided under the Social Services Consolidation Act and are administered by the Department of Social Services.

Particulars of health benefits, provided by the Commonwealth under separate legislation and administered by the Department of Health, are set out hereunder:—

Hospital Benefits

Qualified persons occupying beds in public wards of public hospitals are provided with free treatment. For this purpose the Commonwealth pays the State the sum of 8/- a day in respect of each patient. A credit of 8/- a day is allowed against the hospital fees of qualified persons occupying beds in non-public wards of public hospitals or in approved private hospitals.

Hospital benefits are payable to persons ordinarily resident in Australia and are not subject to a means test.

Pharmaceutical Benefits

Sick persons may receive, without cost to themselves, such medicines as are prescribed (within the scope of an approved formulary) for their treatment by a legally qualified medical practitioner.

Pharmaceutical benefits are payable to persons ordinarily resident in Australia and are not subject to a means test.

Tuberculosis Alloicances

Allowances are provided for tuberculosis sufferers and their dependants, with the object of encouraging sufferers to refrain from working and to undergo treatment, minimising the spread of tuberculosis and promoting the better treatment of the disease.

Wholly set up and printed in Australia by the Advertiser Printing Office, Adelaide,

South Australia.

Carefree Childhood—Serene Old Age. Australia helps her children to a start in life, gives assistance to those whose working years are past, with security through social service benefits in all the years between.