188.8.131.52 Start day for RA
There are no separate legislative provisions governing the start date for RA, because it:
- is an add-on to other social security payments, and
- does not require a claim form.
The start day provisions for RA are generally the same as those for the primary payment to which the RA payment is added.
Policy reference: SS Guide 8.3 Start Days
Recipient privately renting when claim is lodged
If a recipient indicates that they rent privately at the time they CLAIM a pension, benefit or allowance, RA is payable from the start day of that payment. This applies even if verification or sufficient information is not provided at that time, ALTHOUGH payment of RA will usually be delayed until verification is provided. In this case, payment of RA is governed by the legislative date of effect for that payment.
Example: A recipient qualifies for JSP, but fails to provide the full rent verification at the time of claiming. When payment of JSP commences, it does not include RA because the verification is still outstanding. When the recipient provides the full verification 6 weeks later, they are paid arrears of RA for the period since commencement of JSP.
FA Guide 184.108.40.206 Rent assistance
Existing recipient starts renting privately
RA is granted in accordance with the legislation governing a rate increase for the primary payment, if an existing pensioner, beneficiary, allowee or FTB recipient starts to:
- rent privately, AND/OR
- pay more than the threshold amount of rent.
Delays in determination
If a recipient qualifies for RA, it is important that claims are determined and paid quickly, especially to homeless recipients who have secured accommodation. There should be no delay in payment to a homeless recipient who advises that they have obtained accommodation and RA is required, EVEN IF the advice comes from someone acting on their behalf.
Example: A hospital social worker may be acting on behalf of a homeless recipient.
Explanation: If assistance is not available when required, the recipient may experience considerable difficulty in retaining accommodation even for a short period.
Note: Some recipients may be paid RA without documentary evidence, on financial hardship grounds (220.127.116.11).
If the recipient's primary payment is backdated with RA for a significant period, the delegate should be satisfied that the recipient qualified for RA throughout the entire period.
Policy reference: SS Guide 8.3.3 Backdated Start Days