Legislation is characterised as 'beneficial' when its purpose is to provide benefits to those affected. The A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 is regarded as beneficial legislation because it provides assistance to families with children. This means where legislative ambiguities arise in the Act, the legislation should be interpreted in a way that is most beneficial to applicants/recipients as a whole.
A beneficial approach can only be applied where the legislation is unclear and there are no policy directives on how the relevant section of the legislation should be interpreted. Consideration must be given as to whether a particular interpretation would be beneficial to most applicants/recipients. Once a favourable interpretation has been made that approach is to be adopted in all cases. Therefore, it is not possible to apply different interpretations on a case-by-case basis once a beneficial interpretation has been determined for that piece of legislation.
Policy reference: SS Guide 1.3.1 Beneficial Administration of the Act
Last reviewed: 2 January 2013