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3.8.7.10 TAL - Qualification & Payability

Summary

This topic covers the following issues related to TAL:

  • who may be paid TAL,
  • absences from Australia,
  • payability after a person dies,
  • qualification for principal carer following death of child,
  • TAL not payable in certain circumstances,
  • notifiable events for TAL,
  • rates of TAL,
  • TAL rates for members of a couple,
  • home internet connection,
  • Internet via mobile phone,
  • TAL during an employment income nil rate period,
  • TAL qualification after payment cancelled - 12 month extension,
  • start date for 12 month TAL extension,
  • TAL qualification after payment cancelled - 6 month extension,
  • start date for 6 month TAL extension,
  • effect of working credit,
  • TAL during 8-week non-payment period,
  • income and assets testing, and
  • overpayment of TAL.

 

Who may be paid TAL

To be paid TAL, a person must be a telephone subscriber on the relevant test day.

 

A telephone subscriber is a person who has a telephone line or mobile phone service connected in either their, or their partner's name. Note that the definition of telephone subscriber can also include a person who is the subscriber to a mobile phone service in Australia.

 

Note: TAL test days are 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September each year. Qualification and payability provisions are applied to recipients on each TAL test day and if met, TAL will be paid on the recipient's payment delivery day on or after the TAL test day.

 

No TAL is payable if the person is ineligible for TAL on those days.

 

The following table sets out who may be paid TAL, the criteria that must be met and relevant references.

Payment and criteria for receipt of TAL

Details of payment

DSP, AND under 21 without dependent children

3.6.1 DSP - Qualification & Payability

Parenting payment (single)

 

Note: Pension supplement is paid to those who have reached the qualifying age for Age.

 

The pension supplement basic amount is paid to those UNDER the qualifying age for age pension.

3.5.1 PP - Qualification & Payability

PPP, AND

- has partial capacity to work, OR

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, OR

- partner receives NSA or SA and has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, AND

- under the qualifying age for age pension.

3.5.1 PP - Qualification & Payability

1.1.P.56 Partial capacity to work (NSA, YA (job seeker), PP & SpB (NVH))

WA, AND

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, AND

- under the qualifying age for age pension.

3.4.3 WA - Qualification & Payability

PA, AND

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, OR

- partner receives NSA or SA and has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, AND

- under the qualifying age for age pension.

3.3.1 PA - Qualification & Payability

SA, AND

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months.

3.6.5 SA - Qualification & Payability

SpB, AND

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, AND

- under the qualifying age for age pension.

3.7.1 SpB - Qualification & Payability

NSA, AND

- has partial capacity to work, OR

- is a single principal carer, OR

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, OR

- be a partnered principal carer and partner receives NSA or SA and has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months.

3.2.1 NSA - Qualification & Payability

1.1.P.56 Partial capacity to work (NSA, YA (job seeker), PP & SpB (NVH))

1.1.P.412 Principal carer

YA (job seeker), AND

- has partial capacity to work, OR

- is a single principal carer, OR

- is a partnered principal carer and partner has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months.

3.2.3 YA - Qualification & Payability

1.1.P.56 Partial capacity to work (NSA, YA (job seeker), PP & SpB (NVH))

1.1.P.412 Principal carer

 

Act reference: SSAct section 1061Q Qualification for telephone allowance, section 1061Q(5)-'telephone subscriber'

SS(Admin)Act section 48 Payment of telephone allowance

 

Absences from Australia

Where the person continues to qualify, and TAL remains payable, TAL may be paid during temporary overseas absences for up to 6 weeks.

 

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.1.2.20 Portability Table

 

Payability after a person dies

If TAL is payable to a person but the person dies before the TAL test day, the TAL payment cannot be:

  • included in a LBP, or
  • paid, even if the instalment is due to be paid during the bereavement period.

 

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement Payment Provisions

 

Qualification for principal carer following the death of the child

TAL continues to be payable for the bereavement period of 14 weeks if:

  • a person on PPS is the principal carer of a dependent child who dies, OR
  • a person on NSA/YA (job seeker) is a single principal carer of a dependent child who dies, OR
  • a person on NSA/YA (job seeker) is a partnered principal carer of a dependent child who dies and the partner has turned 60, is receiving NSA or SA and has been receiving income support continuously for at least 9 months, AND
  • the person continues to receive the principal payment during the bereavement period.

 

TAL extension provisions that apply to the person would continue to apply during the 14 week bereavement period.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 1061Q(1) Qualification for telephone allowance, section 1061Q(2C) The person is the principal carer of a child who dies..., section 1061Q(3K) If a person was the principal carer of a child who died...

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.5.1.150 Continuation, Variation or Termination of PP, 3.2.1.90 Continuation, Variation or Termination of NSA, 3.2.3.70 Continuation, Variation or Termination of YA

 

TAL not payable in certain circumstances

From 20 September 2009, even though a person may qualify for TAL on a test day, TAL is not payable if, on that day, the person:

  • is receiving a transitional rate pension, or
  • is receiving pension supplement, and their pension supplement amount is greater than the pension supplement basic amount, or
  • is receiving seniors supplement under the SSAct or the VEA, or
  • has an election in force to receive their pension supplement minimum amount on a quarterly basis, or
  • is receiving MRCA supplement under the MRCA, or
  • is receiving veterans supplement under the VEA, or
  • is a member of a couple (other than an illness separated, temporarily separated or respite care couple) and the person's partner is receiving veterans supplement, or
  • is a CSHC holder who has elected not to receive seniors supplement.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 1061R Telephone allowance not payable in some circumstances

 

Notifiable events for TAL

In addition to the common notifiable events (3.1.3), TAL recipients must notify Centrelink, within the 14-day notification period, if any of the following events occur, or are likely to occur:

  • they or their partner stop being qualified for a payment for which they receive TAL, or
  • they are a member of a couple (1.1.M.120) and their partner (1.1.P.70) dies, or
  • they stop being a telephone subscriber, (1.1.T.40), or
  • they stop subscribing to a home internet connection. (This impacts on the payment of the higher rate of TAL.)

 

Rates of TAL

There are 2 rates of TAL - a standard rate and a higher rate.

 

From 20 September 2009, the higher rate of TAL is only payable to recipients of DSP who are under 21 without dependent children, and only if they or their partner have a home internet connection or a specified mobile phone internet service.

 

The standard rate applies to all other eligible recipients.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 1061S Standard rate of telephone allowance, section 1061SA Increased rate of telephone allowance, section 1061SB(3) The second condition is that...

Telecommunications Act 1997, see sections 7 and 16

Broadcasting Services Act 1992, see Schedule 5

 

TAL rates for members of a couple (1.1.M.120)

If a person is a member of a couple, the TAL rate is determined by considering the eligibility of both partners, irrespective of which is the telephone subscriber. The rate at which TAL is paid depends upon whether the person's partner is in receipt of a pension, benefit or allowance, as explained in the table in SSAct section 1061S(1). The TAL payment CANNOT be calculated using the circumstances of just one partner, even by request.

 

Example: A person who is a member of a couple receives NSA and meets all other criteria for the payment of the standard rate of TAL. Their partner receives transitional rate pension and does not receive TAL as the value of TAL has been incorporated into their pension rate. The person will receive the partnered rate of TAL in accordance with SSAct section 1061S Item 5.

 

If a person is a member of an illness separated, respite care or temporarily separated couple, they CAN qualify individually for TAL.

Explanation: Each partner is treated as an individual. They CANNOT qualify for a combined TAL rate because they are NOT living together.

 

Example: A person qualifies for TAL. Their partner is in approved respite care. The couple are living apart and therefore MUST be assessed individually.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 4(7) Illness separated couple, section 4(8) Respite care couple, section 4(9A) Temporarily separated couple

Policy reference: SS Guide 5.1.7.60 TAL - Current Rates

 

Home internet connection

The following are examples of home internet connections which attract the increased rate of TAL:

  • Dial-up internet service through a home telephone connection (e.g. dial-up services from Dodo, Telstra, Optus, AAPT etc.),
  • Broadband internet service (cable, ADSL or satellite) delivered to the person's home, including where the internet service is part of a service 'bundle' (e.g. Transact, Telstra, Optus).

 

The following are examples of home internet connections which DO NOT attract the higher rate of TAL:

  • Where a person subscribes (pays for) an internet service but the service is not delivered to the person's home.
  • Where a person's home internet connection is provided by their employer as part of a remuneration package.
  • A mobile phone that is internet enabled but is not used (e.g. a mobile phone is internet enabled but the person has not purchased an internet service for the phone).
  • Pre-paid internet of any quantity or duration.

 

Internet via mobile phone

The following are examples of internet via mobile phone which DO attract the higher rate of TAL:

  • Broadband internet service delivered through a mobile phone where the internet service is part of a bundle.
  • A mobile phone plan for which a specific amount is paid to cover the cost of an internet connection, provided the account is not on a pre-paid temporary basis.

 

The following are examples of internet via mobile phone which DO NOT attract the higher rate of TAL:

  • A mobile that is internet enabled but is not used (e.g. a mobile phone is internet enabled but the person has not purchased an internet service for the phone).
  • A mobile phone is internet enabled but a person pays for individual calls and does not pay an ongoing subscription for internet access.
  • A mobile phone plan with internet access through the phone provider's web browser and does not require an additional premium for internet access via an internet service provider of the person's choice or the cost of the internet access component cannot be identified.

 

TAL during an employment income nil rate period

During an employment income nil rate period, a person is considered qualified for TAL because during that period they are taken to be receiving (1.1.R.55) their social security pension or benefit for the purposes of TAL.

Example: Julie, who is under age pension age, is getting PPS and is a telephone subscriber. She starts a casual job as a florist and her income is above the cut-out point, so PPS is no longer payable. Julie is qualified for an employment income nil rate period. As Julie is still a telephone subscriber, she will remain eligible for TAL during the employment income nil rate period. Julie also satisfies the payability conditions to receive TAL.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4AA)(d) For the purposes of subsection (4A), the following are the specified provisions of this Act...

 

TAL qualification after payment cancelled - 12 month extension

This table shows who may qualify for a 12 month TAL extension where a person ceases to receive a payment due to their own or their partner's employment income:

Payment

Criteria

SSAct Reference

DSP under 21 without children

- DSP suspended or cancelled due to commencing work of 15 hours or more a week, or

- DSP suspended or cancelled due to commencing work of 30 hours a week for grandfathered cases (refer 3.6.1.10, 3.6.1.20 and 3.6.1.30)

Section 1061Q(3C)(d)

Parenting payment (single)

- Has partial capacity to work

Section 1061Q(3D)(b)

YA (job seeker)

Newstart allowance

Parenting payment (partnered)

- Has partial capacity to work

Section 1061Q(3D)(a) and section 1061Q(3D)(b)

 

Start date for 12 month TAL extension

If a person qualifies for a 12 month extension of TAL and it is payable, TAL entitlement continues for 12 months from:

  • the date a person's payment is cancelled (or suspended for DSP recipients under 21 without children) due to their own or their partner's employment income, OR
  • if applicable, the end of a person's 12 week employment income nil rate period.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 23(4A) Despite subsection (4)..., section 23(4AA) For the purposes of subsection (4A)..., section 1061Q(4) Qualification for telephone allowance, section 1061R(b) Telephone allowance not payable in some circumstances

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment Income Nil Rate Period, 3.6.1.100 Continuation, Variation or Termination of DSP - 30 Hour Rule

 

TAL qualification after payment cancelled - 6 month extension

This table shows who may qualify for a 6 month TAL extension if their income support payment is cancelled due to their own or their partner's employment income.

Payment

Criteria

SSAct Reference

Parenting payment (single)

- has not had a partial capacity to work

Section 1061Q(3C)(e) and section 1061Q(3D)(b)

YA (job seeker)

- is single principal carer of a child and has not had a partial capacity to work, OR

- is partnered principal carer of a child

Section 1061Q(3E)(a) and section 1061Q(3H)(a)

Newstart allowance

- is single principal carer of a child and has not had a partial capacity to work, OR

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, OR

- has partner who has turned 60, is on NSA or SA or was receiving these immediately before they ceased to receive PA or PPS, and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, OR

- is partnered principal carer of a child

Section 1061Q(3E)(b)

Section 1061Q(3F)(a)

Section 1061Q(3G) and section 1061Q(3H)(b)

Parenting payment (partnered)

Partner allowance

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months, OR

- has partner who has turned 60, is on NSA or SA or was receiving these immediately before they ceased to receive PA or PPS, and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months

Section 1061Q(3F)(a)

Section 1061Q(3G)

Widow allowance

Sickness allowance

Special benefit

- has turned 60 and has received income support continuously for at least 9 months

Section 1061Q(3F)(a)

 

Start date for 6 month TAL extension

If a person qualifies for a 6 month extension of TAL and it is payable, TAL entitlement continues for 6 months from:

  • the date a person's payment is cancelled due to their own or their partner's employment income, OR
  • if applicable, the end of a person's 12 week employment income nil rate period.

 

Effect of working credit

If a person has a working credit balance when they commence employment, their 6 or 12 month extension of TAL starts from the exhaustion of their working credit balance (not from the commencement of employment).

 

Act reference: SSAct section 1061Q(4) Qualification for telephone allowance

 

TAL during an 8-week non-payment period due to a serious participation failure or multiple participation failures

A person who is otherwise qualified for TAL cannot receive it where the payday falls during an 8-week non-payment period due to a serious participation failure or multiple participation failures. During that period they are NOT considered to be receiving income support for the purposes of TAL.

 

Income & assets testing

TAL is NOT income or assets tested separately from the person's main income support payment.

 

Overpayment of TAL

TAL overpayments resulting from a recipient not notifying Centrelink that they are no longer a telephone subscriber are normally waived because the amount is generally below the overpayment recovery limit.

A delegate should add the amount of overpaid TAL to other overpayments if:

  • a person's circumstances change, and
  • the change means they no longer qualify for a social security payment, or
  • the change means that TAL is no longer payable to the person.

 

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security payment'

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.3.8 Supplementary Benefits Overpayments

_______________________________________________________

Last reviewed: 12 August 2013


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Last Edited: 29/08/2013 1:02:31 PM


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