CEA payments to eligible government payment recipients ceased on 31 December 2013.
To qualify for a CEA, a person must meet the criteria listed in the table below. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column contains or indicates where you will find this. The CEA is generally a one-off lump sum payment.
A person must meet ALL of the following:
|Be residing in Australia, AND||SS Guide 18.104.22.168 Residence Requirements|
|Be in Australia on a determination day between 14 May 2012 and 30 June 2012 or during the advance period specified for the person's qualifying payment, AND||See qualifying payments and advance periods below.|
Be receiving greater than a nil rate of ONE of the following qualifying payments:
- List 1:
- List 2:
SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment Income Nil Rate
CEA payments made with respect to the 'List 1' qualifying payments represent assistance for the period from 1 July 2012 to 19 March 2013 inclusive - the 9 month 'CEA period'.
Two CEA payments will be made with respect to the 'List 2' qualifying payments. The first represents assistance for the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013 inclusive - the 12 month 'CEA period'. The second represents assistance for the period from 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2013 inclusive - the 6 month 'CEA period'.
Note: CEA payments may also be paid to qualified payment recipients under the following legislation and administrative schemes:
SCV holders who are qualified for a one-off period of payment for up to 6 months of either SA, NSA or YA may also qualify for a CEA provided they meet all of the other CEA qualification criteria.
Act reference: SSAct section 914 Qualifying for clean energy advances, 914A Recipients of austudy, youth allowance, some disability support pensions and some special benefits, section 23(1)-'clean energy qualifying payment', section 23(1)-'clean energy advance period'
SS(Admin)Act section 47(1)(K) definition of a lump sum benefit
People receiving a qualifying government payment will receive assistance through a CEA, delivered from May 2012, before the carbon price starts on 1 July 2012. The lump sum CEAs will be followed by permanent, ongoing CES once the carbon price impact is reflected in the normal indexation of the person's qualifying payment.
The timing of the changeover from the CEA to the ongoing CES is set to coincide with normal indexation dates for qualifying payments. As indexation takes place at different times of the year for different payments, the period of time for which the CEA is expected to assist the recipient (the CEA period) will vary according to payment type. CEA periods corresponding to the various qualifying payments are shown in the qualification table above.
The amount of a person's CEA will be determined using the following calculation; the relevant 'CEA daily rate' multiplied by the number of days from the person's qualification day to the end of the person's relevant CEA period.
Note: If the person qualifies for the CEA before 1 July 2012, the number of days must be counted from 1 July 2012.
This means that people who qualify for a CEA on or before 1 July 2012 will receive a full CEA, calculated from 1 July 2012 to the end of the CEA period that corresponds to their qualifying payment. People who first become qualified for a CEA after 1 July 2012 will be paid a pro-rata CEA calculated from the day on which they first qualify for the CEA to the end of their CEA period.
There are 3 different CEA periods, depending upon the person's circumstances:
Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'advance qualification day', section 23(1)-'clean energy advance period', section 914D Amount of a clean energy advance, section 914E Clean energy advance daily rate, section 914F Number of advance days
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 CEA - Current Rates
A person does not need to make a specific claim in order to qualify for a CEA or to qualify for a CEA top-up payment if their circumstances change. CEAs and top-ups will be paid automatically to people who qualify. Payments will begin to be made according to the following schedule for people who qualify before 1 July 2012:
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 12K Clean energy advance
A person will not receive a CEA while they are absent from Australia.
If a person normally resides in Australia and is receiving a qualifying payment while temporarily absent from Australia, they will be tested for qualification for a CEA upon their return to Australia. If, upon return to Australia, the person qualifies for a CEA and their absence from Australia was for a continuous period of no more than 13 weeks (6 weeks from 1 January 2013), they will qualify for a full CEA. If the person's absence from Australia was greater than 13 weeks (6 weeks from 1 January 2013), they will qualify for a pro-rata CEA calculated from the date of their return to the end of the relevant CEA period.
Act reference: SSAct section 914 Recipients of certain social security payments, section 914A Recipients of austudy, youth allowance, some disability support pensions and some special benefits
Generally, people receiving a nil rate of social security payment will not qualify for a CEA until their rate returns to greater than nil. However, in certain circumstances a nil rate can be disregarded. These circumstances include where:
In these circumstances, the person's nil rate should be disregarded for determining eligibility for a CEA in respect of their social security payment.
Act reference: SSAct section 914B Disregard nil rate in certain circumstances
Policy reference: SS Guide 126.96.36.199 About DVA Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA), 3.1.12 Employment Income Nil Rate Period, 1.1.Q.60 Quarterly pension supplement, 5.4.3 PhA Advance Payment
Generally, a person can qualify for only 1 CEA for a given CEA period (and for no more than 2 CEAs in total). However, a person can qualify for more than 1 CEA in the following circumstances:
A person cannot qualify for both the 9 month and the 12 month CEA. For example, if a person receives a 9 month CEA in respect of NSA and moves to Austudy on 1 February 2013, the person will not be eligible for a pro-rata CEA in respect of Austudy, but may be eligible for a top-up.
Multiple qualification exclusion criteria are contained in the Social Security (Clean Energy - Multiple Qualification Exclusion) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012, Social Security (Clean Energy - Multiple Qualification Exclusion) (DEEWR) Determination 2012, Social Security (Clean Energy - Multiple Qualification Exclusion) (DIISRTE) Determination 2012 which are disallowable instruments made under SSAct section 918.
Act reference: SSAct section 914C Limits on qualifying for multiple advances, section 918 Multiple qualification exclusions
If a person has received a CEA and their circumstances change so that they become eligible for a higher rate of payment or a qualifying payment that has a longer CEA period, they may qualify for a top-up payment.
Example 1: A person moves from Age partnered to Age single.
The CEA daily rate for a person on a single rate of Age is higher than for a person on a partnered rate. This means that a person initially paid a CEA at the partnered rate may not be adequately assisted if they move to a single rate during the CEA period. A top-up may be paid to ensure that this person is appropriately assisted over the course of their advance period. The top-up will be calculated so that the total CEA amount the person receives will be equivalent to receiving a partnered CEA daily rate from their original payment start day to the day before they change to a single rate, and a single CEA daily rate from the change day to the end of the CEA period.
The CEA period corresponding to PPS is 9 months, whilst the CEA period corresponding to Austudy (single with child) is 12 months. As a result, a CEA paid to a person who subsequently moves from PPS to Austudy may not provide assistance over the full course of their advance period(s). A top-up payment may be paid for a person moving from PPS to Austudy (single with child) to ensure that the person receives assistance appropriate to their circumstances over the course of the advance period(s) corresponding to their qualifying payments. The top-up will be calculated so that the total CEA amount the person receives will be equivalent to being paid a PPS CEA daily rate from their original payment start day to the day before they change payments, and an Austudy (single with child) CEA daily rate from the change day to the end of their new CEA period.
Note: a person cannot receive both a 9 and 12 month CEA.
The top-up will be determined and automatically paid as soon as practicable after the change of circumstances.
CEA top-up criteria are contained in the Social Security (Clean Energy Advance - Top-Up Payment) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012, the Social Security (Clean Energy Advance - Top-Up Payment) (DEEWR) Determination 2012 and the Social Security (Clean Energy Advance - Top-Up Payment) (DIISRTE) Determination 2012 which are disallowable instruments made under SSAct section 914G.
Act reference: SSAct section 914G Top-up payments of clean energy advance
The CEA is payable as a single lump sum, from the day that the person is qualified for the payment. It will generally be paid as soon as is reasonably practicable.
It is not payable to a person who is known to have died.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 47D Payment of clean energy advance
Policy reference: SS Guide 188.8.131.52 General Payability Provisions
Clean energy payments paid under the SSAct, including CEAs, are exempt from income tax.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'clean energy payment'
Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 section 52-10 (IL) How much of a social security payment is exempt?
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Taxation of Payments & PAYG Payment Summary - Individual Non-Business
Clean energy payments (including CEAs) paid under the FAAct, VEA or the MRCA are not to be treated as income for the purposes of the SSAct.
Likewise, clean energy payments paid under the SSAct and the FAAct are exempt as income for the purpose of the VEA.
Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general, see (jaa), (yha), (znb)
Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 section 5H(8)(paa) exempts from the VEA income test any CEA payments under the FAA, section 5H(8)(h) exempts from the VEA income test any CEA payments under the SSA
If a person has received a CEA and it is subsequently found that the CEA (or part of the CEA) was paid because the person knowingly made a false or misleading statement or knowingly provided false information, the CEA (or part of the CEA) will be a debt due to the Commonwealth.
No other debt provisions apply to the CEA.
Act reference: SSAct section 1224 Debts relating to clean energy advances
Policy reference: SS Guide 220.127.116.11 Debts Due to the Commonwealth
A person who receives only the CPS is considered a person who receives 1 of the qualifying payments by virtue of section 1188H of the SSAct. These people will therefore meet the 'qualifying payment' criterion of the CEA. Provided that they meet the remaining qualification criteria, people in receipt of only the CPS should also receive the CEA.
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.10 CDEP CPS - Qualification & Payability
The CEA is not a compensation affected payment.
Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.C.250 Compensation affected payment
Last reviewed: 2 January 2014