On July 1 2009 new laws will come into place here in Australia that will recognise same-sex partners for various legal reasons. Now this isn't a same-sex marriage thing for as in on the states the Prime Minister here also believes marriage is to remain between a man and a women. However, as I said for legal reason some 100 plus laws and rules will be amended to address same-sex couples. In many cases what will happen is that same-sex couples will be recognised as a de-facto couple not unlike a heterosexual couple who are not married but claim to have an ongoing relationship. These new rules cover things like superannuation (aka retirement funds) which will now allow the partner of a deceased partner have access and be directly entitled to those funds without the need of any legal paperwork. Partners will have access to the deceased partners pension (aka social security). The same goes for things like partners rights in hospitals etc.
There is a hitch with all of these new entitlements. Since, I started looking for work at the beginning of the year the government has been giving me a fortnightly allowance to help tide me over while I look for a job. Well, with the start of new rules as of July 1 I will have to claim the next fortnight as a de-facto couple and as such the allowance will then be means tested against income and assets of both partners. That was okay when it was just me as I don't own anything but that will now change. The cutoff of allowed assets and salaries etc is $700,000.00 and since hubby will now have to declare and since we/he owns both of our homes outright (no mortgages) and if you add together the median values of the two houses we our over the limit and we haven't even added the income from renting the one house or hubby's salary or the assets inside the house, the car (also paid for) and so on. So, although we will gain some benefits I will loose some benefits. I will receive one last payment and now I'm looking for work with out the safety net. The law giveth and the law taketh away.