COMCARE AND SEACARE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT – BILL PASSED FOR MAXIMUM AGE FOR RECEIVING LOSS OF EARNINGS BENEFITS TO INCREASE BEYOND AGE 65
The Comcare and Seacare Legislation Amendment (Pension age and Catastrophic Injury) Bill 2017, introduced into Federal Parliament on 11 May 2017, was given assent on 22 June 2017.
Prior to assent, injured workers covered by the Comcare or Seacare Schemes lost the right to claim loss of earnings benefits at age 65, despite many Australians not being able to access the pension until age 67.
The Bill amended the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (‘SRC Act’) and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (‘Seafarers Act’) to ensure that injured employees in receipt of weekly compensation payments for incapacity, are able to continue to receive those payments until they reach pension age, as defined in the Social Security Act 1991. As a part of these reforms, the qualifying age for the pension began to increase for both men and women from 65 to 67 years on 1 July 2017. The increase will occur on a gradual basis, with the qualifying age for the age pension increasing by six months every two years; to be fully implemented by 1 July 2023. By linking compensation for incapacity with the pension age, these amendments ensure that there is no gap between the cessation of incapacity and eligibility for receipt of the age pension.