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Domestic Partners

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Policy

The TAC will consider the partner of a person and/or immediate family members when assessing certain entitlements under the Transport Accident Act 1986 (TAA 1986).

Background

The TAC may pay benefits to the partner or family of a TAC client. The definition of partner and family is defined by both Commonwealth and State laws.

In order for a person to be considered for certain entitlements under the Transport Accident Act 1986 prior to the introduction of the Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001, he or she had to be in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex.

In relation to transport accidents which occur on or after 23 August 2001 the Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001 recognises that all couples, (irrespective of gender) who have committed themselves to a genuine domestic relationship can be considered when assessing compensation entitlements under the TAA 1986.

The Relationships Act 2008 provides same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples who choose not to marry, the ability to register their relationship. This provides them with the same legal staus under Victorian law as being married.

Definitions

Spouse

A "spouse" in realtion to a person is someone whom the person is legally married.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'spouse'

Partner

In this policy, partner refers to:

  • For accidents occurring prior to 23 August 2001, a "spouse", or a person of the opposite sex to whom they are not married, but with whom they live on a permanent and bona fide domestic basis.
  • For accidents occurring on or after 23 August 2001, a "partner" in relation to a person is a "spouse" or a "domestic partner"

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'partner'

Domestic partner

In this policy, domestic partner refers to:

  • Before 1 December 2008:
    • A "domestic partner" of a person is someone to whom the person is not married to but with whom the person is living as a couple on a genuine domestic basis, (irrespective of their gender)
    • When determining whether a genuine domestic relationship exists or has existed between two people, the TAC will take into account all the circumstances of their relationship such as:
      • the length of the relationship
      • the nature and extent of common residence
      • whether or not a sexual relationship existed between the couple
      • the extent of financial dependence and any arrangements for financial support, between the couple
      • ownership, use and acquisition of property
      • the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
      • the sharing in the day-to-day care, welfare and development of children
      • public knowledge that the relationship exists
  • On or after 1 December 2008 a "domestic partner" in relation to a person is a person who is in a registered relationship with that person or who is living with the person on a genuine domestic basis (irrespective of their gender) in which case the same points as above apply. 

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'domestic partner'

Registered Relationship

A "registered relationship" is a relationship between two adult persons who have registered their relationship as per the Relationships Act 2008.

Surviving partner

A "surviving partner" is a "dependent partner"

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'surviving partner'

Dependent partner

A partner is a "dependent partner", if they were:

  • wholly, mainly or in part dependent on the injured or deceased person for economic support, or
  • wholly dependent on the injured or deceased person for the care of children, this applies to accidents occurring on or after 7 December 2000.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'dependent partner'

Child

A "child" in relation to an injured or deceased person includes:

  • a child of the person or their "partner's" child or adopted child
  • but does not include a child who has been adopted by another person.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'child'

Dependent child

A child is a "dependent child" if they were financially dependent on the injured or deceased person, and were:

  • under 16 years of age, or
  • over 16 but under 25 years of age and a full-time student.

A child who has a spouse or domestic partner cannot be a dependent child.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'dependent child'

Medical Excess

A Family member for the purpose of applying the medical excess:

  • for accidents between 1 January 1995 and 27 November 2007 inclusive, includes the "partner" or a "dependent child" under the age of 18 of the injured person.
  • for accidents between 28 November 2007 and 13 February 2018, includes the "partner", parent, child or sibling of the injured person.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'member of the immediate family'

Medical and like benefit expenses

A Family member for the purpose of determining entitlement to family counselling services includes the "partner", parent, sibling, or child of a severely injured or deceased person.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'member of the immediate family'

Reasonable travelling or accommodation expenses

Parent - For accidents occurring on or after 23 August 2001, a "parent" of a "dependent child" injured and admitted to hospital also includes a person who has day-to-day care and control of the child and with whom the child is ordinarily resident.

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.60(2B) 'parent'

Loss of income benefits - LOE and LOEC

Immediate family member

  • The TAC will include a person's "partner", and child/children who are wholly, mainly or in part dependent on that person for economic support, in the prescribed "dependant formula" when assessing entitlement to LOE or LOEC benefits. Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3 'dependent child' and s.3 'dependant partner'
  • If a person and their "partner" are involved in a transport accident and are both entitled to loss of income benefits, the TAC will include any immediate family member who was dependant on them for economic support on one of the claims and not both. TAC will use the claim of the person who has the lower pre-accident earnings. Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.62(2)