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8.2.3 Calculation of Disability Pension Bereavement Payment

Document
Last amended 
11 March 2015

Last amended: 28 February 2014

 
Calculation of disability pension bereavement payment

The rate of disability pension to be used when calculating a bereavment payment must take into account any compensation offsetting and whether the person was receiving Specific Disability Allowance at the time of their death.

Where the veteran was receiving a reduced rate of disability pension due to compensation offsetting, it is the reduced fortnightly rate of pension that is used. For example, if a veteran or former member is receiving Special rate under the VEA and incapacity payments under the SRCA, then compensation offsetting will apply, and the veteran's Special rate pension will be reduced. It is this reduced fortnightly rate of pension which is multiplied by six to determine the amount of bereavement payment to be paid.

This applies to disability pensions paid under Part II or Part IV of the VEA that are subject to compensation offsetting.

The same approach applies regardless of whether the veteran was single or a member of a couple.

Calculation of disability pension bereavement payment for a veteran who was a member of a couple after 1 January 2005

    

 

The rules for calculating the Disability Pension Bereavement Payment for members of a couple changed on 1 January 2005.

From 1 January 2005, the bereavement payment in respect of a veteran who was a member of a couple, and in receipt of 100 % General rate, EDA, Intermediate rate or Special rate under the VEA, is calculated as six times the fortnightly rate of disability pension that was payable on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death.

Scenario 1: A veteran was a member of a couple and was receiving Special rate. The rate of Special Rate payable on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death was $1,092.90 per fortnight. The veteran's widow is therefore entitled to a bereavement payment of 6 X $1,092.90 = $6,557.40.

Scenario 2: A veteran was a member of a couple and was receiving Special rate.  The rate of Special Rate payable at the time of the veterans death was $1,092.90 per fortnight.  The Department was not advised of the veteran's death for a month, during which a statutory increase occured.  This meant the Special Rate payable on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death had increased to $1,113.70 per fortnight.  The veteran's widow is therefore entilted to a bereavement payment of 6 X $1,113.70 = $6,682.20.

Scenario 3: A veteran was a member of a couple and was receiving General rate. The rate of General rate payable on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death was $388.30 per fortnight. The veteran was also receiving a Specific Disability Allowance of $43.20 per fortnight. The total amount that was payable was $388.30 + $43.20 = $431.50 per fortnight. The veteran's widow is therefore entitled to a bereavement payment of 6 X $431.50  = $2,589.00.

Note: Veterans who are blinded in both eyes as a result of a war-caused injury or war-caused disease are deemed to satisfy the criteria in section 24 of the VEA and are entitled to a pension at the Special Rate.     

 

Calculation of disability pension bereavement payment for a veteran who was a member of a couple and receiving less than 100% General rate

    

 

The bereavement payment in respect to a veteran who was a member of a couple, and in receipt of less than 100 % General rate is calculated as the lower of:

  • six times the fortnightly rate of the disability pension that was payable on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death (including any reductions for compensation offsetting), or
  • six times the fortnightly rate of the 100% General rate in force on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death.

Scenario 1: A veteran was a member of a couple and was in receipt of an 80% General rate pension payable at $310.64 per fortnight on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death. The veteran was also receiving Specific Disability Allowance of $111.60 per fortnight. The total amount payable was $310.64 + $111.60 = $422.24 per fortnight. The veteran's widow is entitled to a bereavement payment of the lower of six times this rate, or six times the General rate in force on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death. The calculation is:

6 X (80% General rate + SDA = $422.24) = $2,533.44

6 X (General rate = $388.30) = $2,329.80

The lower of these two amounts is $2,329.80 therefore the widow is entitled to a bereavement payment of $2,329.80.

Scenario 2: A veteran was a member of a couple and was in receipt of an 80% General rate pension payable at $310.64 per fortnight on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death. The pension was reduced by $90.20 per fortnight due to compensation offsetting. The total amount payable was $310.64  - $90.20 = $220.44 per fortnight. The veteran's widower is entitled to a bereavement payment of the lower of six times this rate, or six times the General rate in force in force on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death. The calculation is:

6 X (80% General rate – compensation offsetting = $220.44) = $1,322.64

6 X (General rate = $388.30) = $2,329.80

The lower of these two amounts is $1,322.64 therefore the widower is entitled to a bereavement payment of $1,322.64.

Scenario 3: A veteran was a member of a couple and was in receipt of a 40% General rate disability pension payable at $155.32 per fortnight on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death. The pension was reduced by $155.32 per fortnight due to compensation offsetting, resulting in nil payability on the first pension pay day after the Department became aware of her death. The surviving partner is entitled to a bereavement payment of the lower of six times this rate, or six times the General rate in force on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death. The calculation is:

6 X (40% General rate – compensation offsetting =0) = $0

6 X (General rate = $388.30) = $2,329.80

The lower of these two amounts is $0 therefore, no bereavement payment is payable.

 
Calculation of disability pension bereavement payment prior to 1 January 2005

Prior to 1 January 2005 if a veteran who was a member of a couple died, the total amount of disability pension bereavement payment payable is calculated as six times the lesser of:

  • the deceased's fortnightly disability pension; or
  • 100% of the General rate of disability pension.

The rates of disability pension used are those payable on the first pay day after the Department became aware of the death.

 

Calculation of disability pension bereavement payment for a single veteran

    

 

From 1 July 2008, bereavement payments may be paid to a single veteran where the veteran:

The bereavement payment in respect of a single veteran is calculated as six times the fortnightly rate of disability pension that was payable on the first pay day after the veteran died. If the disability pension is reduced due to compensation offsetting, it is the reduced rate that is used for the bereavement payment calculation. If Specific Disability Allowance was payable on the first pay day after the veteran died, then this must be included in the bereavement payment calculation.

Scenario 1: A single veteran died in indigent circumstances. He was receiving EDA of $603.30 per fortnight on the first pension pay day after he died. He was also receiving Specific Disability Allowance of $29.10. The total rate payable on the first pay day after death is $603.30 + $29.10 = $632.40 per fortnight.  A bereavement payment of 6 X (EDA + SDA = $632.40) = $3,794.40 can be made to the veteran's estate.

Scenario 2: A single veteran died in indigent circumstances.  He was receiving Special rate of $1,092.90 per fotnight on the first pension pay day after he died. His pension was reduced by $598.50 per fortnight due to compensation offsetting. The total rate payable on the first pay day after death is $1,092.90 - $598.50 = $494.40 per fortnight. A bereavement payment of 6 X $494.40 = $2,966.40 can be made to the veteran's estate.

 

Payments included in calculation of disability pension bereavement payment

The following payments are included when calculating the rate of disability pension for a bereavement payment:

  •  disability pension up to 100% of the General rate payable on the first pay day after death for single veterans or the first pay day after the Department becomes aware of the death for partnered veterans;
  •  for deaths occuring after 1 January 2005, disability pension up to 100% and the margin above 100% of the General rate for EDA, Intermediate and the Special Rate pension;
  •  Specific Disability Allowance in payment at the time of death.

If any instalments of these pensions have been released after the veteran's death, they may have to be deducted from the disability pension bereavement payment unless the partner does not have access to them.    

More →

 

Determining whether to adjust the amount of disability pension bereavement payment

Section 8.2.4

 

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Pensions excluded from calculation of disability pension bereavement payment

    

 

The following pensions are not included when calculating the rate of disability pension bereavement payment. If any of these pensions have been paid after the death of the veteran they must be recovered from the disability pension bereavement payment:    

 

 
Allowances excluded from calculation of disability pension bereavement payment

    

 

None of the allowances and payments in Part VI of the VEA, Veterans Supplement or Energy Supplement are to be used in the calculation of disability pension bereavement payment. If any of these allowances and payments have been paid after the death of the veteran they must be recovered from the disability pension bereavement payment.     

 

Prisoner of War Supplement is also not included in the calculation of the disability pension bereavement payment and has its own rules for payment following the death of the veteran.     

 



Claim for disability pension determined after death of claimant

When a claim for disability pension is determined after the death of the claimant, disability pension bereavement payment may need to be calculated. The table below illustrates the situations where this occurs.

If...

And...

And...

Then...

There is a surviving partner

The previous rate of disability pension was less than the General rate

The posthumous determination increases the rate of disability pension

Disability pension bereavement payment must be calculated in respect of the new rate of disability pension. Any previous payment of disability pension bereavement payment must be deducted from the new amount.

There is a surviving partner

The previous rate of disability pension was less than the General rate

The posthumous determination either:

  • Continues or

  • Reduces the rate of disability pension

There is no change to the disability pension bereavement payment.

There is a surviving partner

The previous rate of disability pension was equal to or greater than the General rate

 

There is no change to the disability pension bereavement payment.

There is no surviving partner

The previous rate of disability pension was at the Special rate or Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) rate

The veteran died in indigent circumstances     

More →

 

Payment of Disability Pension Bereavement Payment

Section 8.3.5

 

More → (go back)

 

Disability pension bereavement payment is payable to the executor of the estate.

There is no surviving partner

The previous rate of disability pension was at the Special rate or Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) rate

The veteran died with assets to cover all liabilities including funeral expenses

No disability pension bereavement payment is payable to the executor of the estate.

There is no surviving partner

The previous rate of disability pension was not at the Special rate or EDA rate

 

No disability pension bereavement payment is payable to the executor of the estate


 

 

The general principle of compensation offsetting holds that a person should not be compensated twice for the same incapacity.

An allowance paid in respect of an incapacity from a war caused injury or disease resulting in amputation or blindness, as described in the table in subsection 27(1).

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

For the purposes of Part VI of the VEA, a reference to a veteran is taken to be a reference to:

  • a veteran as defined in subsection 5C(1) of the VEA;
  • a member of the Forces as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA; or
  • a member of a Peacekeeping Force as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA.

For the purposes of Part VII of the VEA, according to subsection 5C(1), veteran means a person (including a deceased person):

  • who is taken to have rendered eligible war service, or
  • in respect of whom a pension is, or pensions are, payable under subsection 13(6) and
  • in Part III and Part VIIC of the VEA includes a person who is:

 

 

According to Section 5E(2) of the VEA a person is a member of a couple, if they are:

  • legally married to another person and is not living separately and apart from the other person on a permanent basis; or
  • living in a prescribed registered relationship with the other person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) and is not living separately and apart from that other person on a permanent basis; or
  • all of the following conditions are met:
  • living with another person, whether of the same sex or a different sex;
  • not legally married to that person;
  • in a de facto relationship with that person; and
  • not in a prohibited relationship

The term “partnered” is also commonly used.

The Extreme Disablement Adjustment is the equivalent of 150% of the General Rate. It is payable to very severely incapacitated veterans of 65 years & over who do not qualify for the Special or Intermediate Rates.

 

 

Intermediate Rate disability pension is paid to compensate a veteran who, because of incapacity resulting form eligible service, is unable to resume or continue paid work for:

  • 50 per cent or more of normal time, or
  • 20 hours or more per week.

The intermediate rate provides a rate of pension to bridge the gap between the General Rate and the Special rate (T&PI) for ex-servicemen capable of part-time or intermittent work only.

Under Section 24 of the VEA, a veteran is eligible fo the Special Rate if they are considered to be totally and permanently incapacitated, that is if the incapacity from war-caused injury or war-caused disease, or both is of such a nature that:

  • the degree of incapacity is at least 70 %; or
  • the veteran is receiving/entitled to receive a pension at the 'general rate' due to Pulmonary tuberculosis;
  • and because of this incapacity, the veteran is:
  • incapable of undertaking remunerative work for periods aggregating more than 8 hours per week; and
  • suffering a loss of salary or wages.

 

 

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

A person may be regarded as permanently blind in both eyes where:

  • there is a total loss of sight; or
  • visual acuity after correction with suitable lenses is less than 6/60 in both eyes on the Snellen Scale; or
  • where, in the written opinion of an ophthalmologist, the visual field deficits and/or combination of deficits results in a visual impairment which is the equivalent of a corrected visual acuity measure of less than 6/60 in both eyes.

The Commission Guideline CM5829: Determining 'permanently blind', 'no useful sight' and 'blinded in both eyes' may be instructive in making a blinded/blindness determination.

 

A bereavement payment is an amount payable in respect of a deceased pensioner that represents a continuation of the pensioner's entitlement for a period following the death (the bereavement period).

The payment can be made as:

  • a lump sum in advance, or
  • a continuation of the deceased person's pension instalments, or
  • a combination of both, or
  • a portion of the rate of pension payable to the surviving member of a couple identified as a separate amount only for taxation purposes.

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

The Extreme Disablement Adjustment is the equivalent of 150% of the General Rate. It is payable to very severely incapacitated veterans of 65 years & over who do not qualify for the Special or Intermediate Rates.

 

 

Indigent means needy or poor. The term 'indigent circumstances' is used in the VEA in relation to eligibility for a bereavement payment under section 98AA and funeral benefit under sections 99 or 100.

For both funeral benefit and bereavement payment purposes, indigency means that the estate of a deceased person without dependants has insufficient funds to pay for all liabilities including the funeral. A similar test applies where a [glossary:veteran:DEF/Veteran] is survived by a dependant except that certain assets are excluded from the value of the estate such as the family home, the family car and up to $5,000 in cash.

A detailed table of eligibility based on indigency is at CLIK Policy at Section 8.3.5

 

 

An allowance paid in respect of an incapacity from a war caused injury or disease resulting in amputation or blindness, as described in the table in subsection 27(1).

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

The Extreme Disablement Adjustment is the equivalent of 150% of the General Rate. It is payable to very severely incapacitated veterans of 65 years & over who do not qualify for the Special or Intermediate Rates.

 

 

Under Section 24 of the VEA, a veteran is eligible fo the Special Rate if they are considered to be totally and permanently incapacitated, that is if the incapacity from war-caused injury or war-caused disease, or both is of such a nature that:

  • the degree of incapacity is at least 70 %; or
  • the veteran is receiving/entitled to receive a pension at the 'general rate' due to Pulmonary tuberculosis;
  • and because of this incapacity, the veteran is:
  • incapable of undertaking remunerative work for periods aggregating more than 8 hours per week; and
  • suffering a loss of salary or wages.

 

 

An allowance paid in respect of an incapacity from a war caused injury or disease resulting in amputation or blindness, as described in the table in subsection 27(1).

A person's 'partner' is someone who is a member of a couple with that person.

The Extreme Disablement Adjustment is the equivalent of 150% of the General Rate. It is payable to very severely incapacitated veterans of 65 years & over who do not qualify for the Special or Intermediate Rates.

 

 

Intermediate Rate disability pension is paid to compensate a veteran who, because of incapacity resulting form eligible service, is unable to resume or continue paid work for:

  • 50 per cent or more of normal time, or
  • 20 hours or more per week.

The intermediate rate provides a rate of pension to bridge the gap between the General Rate and the Special rate (T&PI) for ex-servicemen capable of part-time or intermittent work only.

Under Section 24 of the VEA, a veteran is eligible fo the Special Rate if they are considered to be totally and permanently incapacitated, that is if the incapacity from war-caused injury or war-caused disease, or both is of such a nature that:

  • the degree of incapacity is at least 70 %; or
  • the veteran is receiving/entitled to receive a pension at the 'general rate' due to Pulmonary tuberculosis;
  • and because of this incapacity, the veteran is:
  • incapable of undertaking remunerative work for periods aggregating more than 8 hours per week; and
  • suffering a loss of salary or wages.

 

 

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.

 

 

A form of pension that is paid to the partner of a veteran where the veteran has died as a result of war service or eligible Defence ServiceWar widow's/widower's pension is also paid to the partner of a veteran whose death was not war caused if the veteran was a ex-prisoner of war or if the veteran was receiving Extreme Disablement Adjustment Rate, Special Rate (T&PI) or a rate increased in respect of certain war-caused injury or disease.

 

Under the Empire Air Training Scheme the British Government accepted liability for compensation for any veteran whose death or incapacity resulted from service while attached to the RAF. The Empire Air Training Scheme provides for the British Government to reimburse the Australian Government for compensation payments under the VEA.

These are cases where a person has dual eligibility, under the VEA and from another country for pension in respect of war caused incapacity or death. As a result, pension payable under the VEA may be adjusted.

The veterans supplement was introduced on 20 September 2009 as part of the Government's Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform package. It is a fortnightly payment that replaces pharmaceutical allowance and/or telephone allowance for compensation recipients who are not in receipt of an income support supplement. There are two rates, the veterans supplement low rate and the veterans supplement high rate. The low rate replaces one of the allowances and the high rate replaces both. The low rate is indexed every January to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The high rate is always twice the amount of the low rate.

 

 

The energy supplement is an ongoing, regular payment designed to help recipients meet the cost of living impact of the carbon price.

 

 

 

Indigent means needy or poor. The term 'indigent circumstances' is used in the VEA in relation to eligibility for a bereavement payment under section 98AA and funeral benefit under sections 99 or 100.

For both funeral benefit and bereavement payment purposes, indigency means that the estate of a deceased person without dependants has insufficient funds to pay for all liabilities including the funeral. A similar test applies where a [glossary:veteran:DEF/Veteran] is survived by a dependant except that certain assets are excluded from the value of the estate such as the family home, the family car and up to $5,000 in cash.

A detailed table of eligibility based on indigency is at CLIK Policy at Section 8.3.5