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SOCIAL SECURITY ACT 1991 - SECT 1139

Debt not to be recovered until after death

             (1)  The Commonwealth is not entitled to recover a debt under section 1135 from a person until after the person's death.

             (2)  In the following circumstances, the Commonwealth is not entitled to recover the debt until after the person's death and after:

                     (a)  if:

                              (i)  the person was a member of a couple at the time of death; and

                             (ii)  the person's partner survives the person; and

                            (iii)  an amount of bereavement payment is payable to the partner because of the person's death;

                            the last instalment of bereavement payment has been paid; or

                     (b)  if:

                              (i)  the person was a member of a couple at the time of death; and

                             (ii)  the person's partner survives the person; and

                            (iii)  the person's partner has the use of the assets or part of the assets that are subject to a charge; and

                            (iv)  the partner has reached pension age;

                            the death of the partner.

Note:          For pension age see subsections 23(5A), (5B), (5C) and (5D).

          (2A)  In relation to the period between the person's death and the time of recovery of the debt by the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  compound interest continues to accrue, and forms part of the debt, in accordance with Step 4 of the Method statement in subsection 1135(3); and

                     (b)  the charge in favour of the Commonwealth under section 1138 continues in relation to the real assets until the debt is recovered.

             (3)  This section is subject to section 1140 (enforcement of charge if assets change hands).

             (4)  If the Secretary decides that the debt is to be recovered before the events referred to in subsection (1) or (2), the debt may be so recovered in spite of those subsections.



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