3.4.4.80 Continuation, Variation or Termination of WidB

Note: WidB is a CLOSED PAYMENT with no new entrants since 1 July 1997. The information provided below is to be used FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES ONLY as there are still some current WidB recipients. As a consequence any same-sex discriminatory terminology has remained unchanged.

Summary

The following table lists the circumstances in which payment of WidB may change.

Payment of WidB is… If…
cancelled,
  • the recipient dies, OR
  • is paid another social security or DVA income support payment, OR
  • the recipient fails to comply with a notice under SS(Admin)Act section 68, 192 or 193, OR
  • has a change in circumstances that affects her payment and renders payment not payable, OR
  • the recipient is confined to a remand centre, prison or psychiatric institution (in relation to an offence) for MORE than 3 months, OR
  • the rate becomes nil due to the recipient's income or assets, OR
  • commences to live in a marriage-like relationship, OR
  • payment is not payable for other reasons.
suspended,
  • the delegate determines that WidB is to be suspended, for example: has a short period of employment, OR
  • the recipient is confined in a remand centre, prison or psychiatric institution (in relation to an offence), for LESS than 3 months, OR
  • the recipient reconciles with her husband and there is doubt the reconciliation is permanent (for a period of up to 3 months).

Suspension during short periods of employment

If a WidB recipient undertakes a continuous period of employment of up to 3 months, then payment should be suspended so that WidB can be restored on cessation of employment.

Suspension should only occur if earnings and other income combined would yield a nil rate of payment. For longer periods of employment, payment should be cancelled. In such circumstances, another payment will need to be sought upon cessation of employment.

Restoration after suspension

The delegate should ensure the qualification and payability of the payment is verified before restoring a suspended recipient.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 80 Cancellation or suspension determination, section 81 Cancellation or suspension for non-compliance with certain notices, section 82 Cancellation or suspension for failure to take action to obtain foreign payment

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.4.4.50 Payability of WidB

Transfer to Age

WidB recipients under age pension age were automatically transferred to Age when they reach age pension age. They are:

  • NOT required to lodge a claim form, and
  • do NOT have to meet the 10 year residence requirements for Age.

Automatic transfer to Age could be prevented by coding a manual rate.

After 11 November 1999 WidB recipients who are covered by an international agreement can automatically be transferred to Age.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(5C) Age pension age for women

SS(Admin)Act section 12 Deemed claim in certain cases

Recipients who are NOT automatically transferred to Age

Certain WidB recipients are not automatically transferred to Age when they reach age pension age and are treated as described in the following table.

WidB recipient Treatment
Recipients who are receiving ongoing compensation payments Automatically transferred to Age when compensation payments cease.
Undetermined, assessed or suspended cases Manually transferred to Age upon grant or restoration of payment if they would not be disadvantaged by receiving Age.
Manual rate cases Were individually examined to determine why a manual rate has been coded. Where appropriate, these cases may be transferred to Age manually.

Automatic transfer to Age

A recipient may indicate that there is some reason why she would prefer to remain on WidB. If the WidB pensioner was automatically transferred to Age on reaching age pension age, WidB cannot usually be restored.

Explanation: Under SS(Admin)Act section 12 if a recipient was receiving WidB and the Secretary decides that they are to be automatically transferred to Age, then it becomes payable without the need for a claim.

If a recipient is automatically transferred to Age by a computer program approved by the Secretary, it is taken to be a decision by the Secretary that the recipient is to be transferred to Age. Because Age has become payable to the recipient, SS(Admin)Act section 90 operates to make WidB no longer payable.

Appeals against transfer

However, if an Age recipient requests her WidB payment to be restored, the delegate MAY review this claim and restore the pension, if the request is received within 13 weeks of being notified of the transfer to Age.

Example: A WidB recipient in receipt of PES would be financially disadvantaged by transferring to Age as PES is not payable to Age recipients.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 12 Deemed claim in certain cases, section 90 Automatic cancellation-transfer to new payment type

Transfer to CP

WidB recipients who care for an adult or child who is a severely disabled person may wish to claim CP. This would give them access to bereavement payments if the person they are caring for dies. Recipients should be advised of the possible advantages and disadvantages of being on CP rather than WidB, Age or other payments.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.10 Qualification for CP

Reconciliation with husband

If a WidB recipient reconciles with her husband, care should be taken to ensure that the reconciliation is permanent before cancelling WidB because thereafter it cannot be restored. Resuming a normal domestic relationship for a relatively short period (e.g. 4-6 weeks) should be regarded as a permanent reconciliation. Where doubt exists, payment should be suspended for a maximum period of up to 3 months.

Reviews

Reviews of WidB are conducted under the pensioner entitlement review procedures. WidB recipients are NOT subject to the special post-grant interview and review procedures which apply to PPS recipients.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.1 Changes in Income & Assets - Reviews, 6.2.3 Retirement & widows reviews

Review of payments made under international agreements

If WidB has been granted under an international agreement, a review is automatically set at 5 years from the recipient's:

  • date of arrival in Australia, or
  • date of grant, if no date of arrival is recorded.

This ensures that transfer to an autonomous pension occurs as soon as the recipient has acquired the necessary qualifying Australian residence period (1.1.A.330).

Death of recipient

Upon application, payments accrued by the person before their death may be paid to another person who, in the Secretary's opinion, is best entitled.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 58 Payment of social security payment, other than pension bonus and pension bonus bereavement payment, after death

Last reviewed: 17 August 2015