NEWS HEADLINES

Veterans’ Legislation Reform – Consultation on proposed changes

The Government has announced the commencement of public consultation on proposed changes to simplify veterans’ entitlements, compensation and rehabilitation legislation.

This important body of work is the next step in responding to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide’s Interim Report.

The Government is seeking comments on the draft Veterans’ Entitlements, Treatment and Support (Simplification and Harmonisation) Bill 2024 that, if passed by Parliament, will reform more than a century of veteran compensation legislation.

The Bill would implement a ‘single Act’ model with the following core elements:

  • An improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) where all new claims for compensation and rehabilitation will be considered under the improved MRCA; and
  • Closing the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence‑related claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) to new claims for compensation and rehabilitation, with grandparenting of already approved VEA/DRCA compensation payments.

The proposed changes will see the MRCA enhanced for various entitlements, including:

  1. the introduction of a new Additional Disablement Amount (ADA), similar to the Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) available under the VEA. Like EDA, the ADA would compensate veterans who are Age Pension age or older and who have a high degree of incapacity due to service-related conditions.
  2. the introduction of ‘presumptive liability’, which means the Repatriation Commission would be able to specify injuries and diseases that can be determined on a presumptive (in other words – automatic unless proven otherwise) basis where they are known to have a common connection with military service.
  3. consolidation of household and attendant care, travel for treatment, and retention of automatic granting of VEA funeral benefits in the MRCA.
  4. an increase to $3,000 for funeral allowance for previous automatic grant categories under the VEA, and the availability of reimbursement of funeral expenses up to $14,062 for all service related deaths.
  5. the availability to all veterans of the higher travel reimbursement amount, regardless of kilometres, when a private vehicle is used to travel for treatment.
  6. standardisation of allowances and other payments, including: acute support packages, Victoria Cross and decoration allowances, education schemes, prisoner of war ex gratia payments, and additional compensation for children of severely impaired veterans.
  7. enhancement of the Commission’s ability to grant special assistance to veterans and their dependants.

Feedback and submissions during public consultation in 2023 on the pathway for legislation reform has helped the Government to respond to issues of most concern.

Further details on the proposed changes, how they impact veterans, and how to provide feedback, can be found on the DVA website.

Submissions will be accepted until 28 April 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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