Normal view MARC view ISBD view

Domestic violence, social security and the couple rule Lyndal Sleep

By: Sleep, Lyndal.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: ANROWS Research report.Publisher: Sydney, NSW : Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety, 2019 Description: electronic document (80 pages) ; PDF file.Subject(s): DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | LAW | MARRIAGE | POVERTY | SOCIAL POLICY | SOCIAL WELFARE | WOMEN | AUSTRALIA | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Click here to access online | Research summary ANROWS Research report, 04/2019, July 2019Summary: Access to social security resources is vital to many women who are attempting to be free of an abusive relationship. When it is unclear to the Department of Social Security if the victim/survivor is still in a relationship with the perpetrator, the “couple rule” is used to decide her access to social security payments. The couple rule in social security law (Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), s. 4(3)) ties women’s access to social security payments to the income and assets of the perpetrator in circumstances where she is determined to be in a relationship with him. Therefore, if an applicant is assessed as being a member of a couple, her own and the perpetrator’s income and assets will be assessed jointly. This may lead to the victim/survivor being denied payment or, if it is later determined that she has not declared her relationship, could result in an overpayment debt and/or criminal prosecution for social security fraud. In the application of this rule, domestic violence is rarely treated as an exception. This can financially entrap victims/survivors in a violent relationship, as they are denied independent social security support at the vulnerable time when they are attempting to permanently separate from the perpetrator. Research has shown that women who experience domestic violence are more likely to go on to experience poverty and disability after the abusive behaviour has ended (Cortis & Bullen, 2015; 2016). The couple rule may increase the risk of victims/survivors experiencing poverty This research attempts to explore the dynamics between domestic violence, social security payments and the couple rule by examining pre-existing data sets of Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) decisions of couple rule matters and New Zealand Social Security Appeals Authority (NZSSAA) de facto rule decisions. The research will have an intersectional focus on those groups of women prioritised by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety’s (ANROWS) National Research Agenda (2014) as having particular vulnerabilities to violence. (From the Executive summary). Record #6353
Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Access online Access online Online Available ON19080005

ANROWS Research report, 04/2019, July 2019

Access to social security resources is vital to many women who are attempting to be free of an abusive relationship. When it is unclear to the Department of Social Security if the victim/survivor is still in a relationship with the perpetrator, the “couple rule” is used to decide her access to
social security payments. The couple rule in social security law (Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), s. 4(3)) ties women’s access to social security payments to the income and assets of the perpetrator in circumstances where she is determined to be in a relationship with him. Therefore, if an applicant is assessed as being a member of a couple, her own and the perpetrator’s income and assets will be assessed jointly. This may lead to the victim/survivor being denied payment
or, if it is later determined that she has not declared her relationship, could result in an overpayment debt and/or criminal prosecution for social security fraud. In the application of this rule, domestic violence is rarely treated as an exception. This can financially entrap victims/survivors in a violent relationship, as they are denied independent social security support at the vulnerable time when they are attempting to permanently separate from the perpetrator.
Research has shown that women who experience domestic violence are more likely to go on to experience poverty and disability after the abusive behaviour has ended (Cortis & Bullen, 2015; 2016). The couple rule may increase the risk of victims/survivors experiencing poverty

This research attempts to explore the dynamics between domestic violence, social security payments and the couple rule by examining pre-existing data sets of Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) decisions of couple rule matters and New Zealand Social Security Appeals Authority (NZSSAA) de facto rule decisions. The research will have an intersectional focus on those groups of women prioritised by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety’s (ANROWS) National Research Agenda (2014) as having particular vulnerabilities to violence. (From the Executive summary). Record #6353

Click on an image to view it in the image viewer