Home > Uncategorized > Herald Sun – “Same-Sex Couples Coy on Revealing Status to Centrelink” by Ben Packham

Herald Sun – “Same-Sex Couples Coy on Revealing Status to Centrelink” by Ben Packham

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The Herald Sun is reporting that same-sex couples are not revealing their status in large numbers, with only 2 weeks to go the question is whether there will be a last minute rush.

SAME-sex couples are refusing to out themselves ahead of new rules requiring gay relationships to be registered with Centrelink.

The agency expected 11,000 of its clients to disclose same-sex relationships, but only about 1200 have come forward.

By keeping their circumstances under wraps, same-sex pensioner couples can stay on the higher singles’ rate, saving a combined $165 a week.

Newstart and family assistance recipients also have a financial incentive to keep quiet because the payments are linked to a couple’s combined income.

But if Centrelink finds out, rorters will be liable for substantial repayments.

Their reluctance to come forward comes despite a multi-million dollar "couples are couples" campaign advertising the July 1 changes.

Newly appointed Human Services Minister Chris Bowen said the long-awaited changes would deliver equality for gay and lesbian Australians.

"These wide-ranging reforms will recognise all couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender of a partner, in matters such as social security, family assistance and superannuation," Mr Bowen said.

"All customers who are in a same-sex, de facto or registered relationship need to declare that to Centrelink so their entitlements can be accurately assessed."

Coalition for Equality spokesman Corey Irlam said he believed more same-sex couples would disclose their relationships in coming weeks.

"People tend to leave these things to the last minute," he said.

The changes are part of wider anti-discrimination laws being introduced across the Government.

Gay and lesbian couples will be able to qualify for the Medicare and PBS safety nets faster, and their relationships will be recognised by super funds, allowing them to receive death benefits if their partner dies.

A dedicated same-sex inquiry line, 13 62 80, has been set up to provide information.

[Link: Original Article]

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