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8.3.3 Funeral Benefit for a Dependant of a Deceased Veteran or Member

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Last amended 
3 September 2015
Eligibility for funeral benefit for a dependant of a deceased veteran

    VEA →

If a dependant of a deceased veteran dies in indigent circumstances, the Repatriation Commission may grant a funeral benefit in respect of the funeral expenses of the dependant where:    

  • DVA has accepted liability for the death of the deceased veteran; or

  • the veteran was eligible for one of the following at the time of his or her death:

    • a Special Rate pension; or
    • a VEA disability pension plus a VEA allowance as a multiple amputee.

Where a dependant of a veteran has died in indigent circumstances, funeral benefits are paid to cover funeral costs only. There is no provision for the payment of costs for transporting the body of a deceased dependant of a veteran or member of the forces from the place where they died to their normal place of residence.

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What constitutes indigent circumstances

Section 8.3.5

 

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Clients with dual veteran/dependant status

The eligibility for funeral benefit for clients who have veteran status, and who are also dependants of deceased veterans, should be assessed separately under section 99 and 100 of the VEA which both provide for payment. However, it must be noted that these provisions apply independently, requiring the person to establish their eligibility for funeral benefit, either by meeting the specific requirements as a veteran or member of the Forces in section 99, or the different requirements as the dependent of a deceased veteran of member of the Forces in section 100. The circumstances of the client cannot be applied simultaneously to both eligibility tests.

For the operation of section 99 funeral benefits for a client with dual veteran/dependant status (e.g. war widow who is also an eligible veteran in their own right) it is only necessary for that veteran (who may have either a White Card or Gold Card) to have been in an institution for the purposes of treatment arranged by the Commission when they died. Section 99 (1)(e) and Section 99(3)(b), which are read together, does not state or imply that the treatment must be for a specific condition that related to their war or defence service. Merely that the veteran "had treatment" under DVA health care arrangements through the VEA and died in an institution would be sufficient to satisfy these provisions.

Amount of funeral benefit for a dependant of a deceased veteran
VEA →

Section 100(2) VEA - amount of funeral benefit payable to dependants of deceased veterans

Section 100(3) VEA - effect of membership of a contributory funeral benefit fund

VEA → (go back)

 

The amount of funeral benefit paid under the above criteria is the lesser of:

  • a maximum amount of $2,000; or
  • an amount equal to the amount paid or payable for the funeral of the deceased dependant.

Note: The amount paid or payable for the funeral includes any amounts already paid, or still outstanding and to be paid from the dependant's estate, in respect of the funeral.  This amount is not reduced by the value of the deceased person's estate.  However, where the dependant contributed to a funeral benefit fund, the amount paid or payable for the funeral is reduced by the amount of benefit payable from the fund.

Payment of funeral benefit for a dependant of a deceased veteran

Payments of funeral benefits under these criteria are made to the applicant, unless requested otherwise on the application.    

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Applying for a funeral benefit

Section 8.3.4

 

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Payment of funeral benefit under the VEA for certain (MRCA) persons

    VEA →

The provisions contained in subsection 100(1A) of the VEA state that payment of a funeral benefit may be made to the dependant of a deceased member if the person died in indigent circumstances and section 12 of the MRCA applies in respect of the member.    

Section 12 of the MRCA applies to the dependant of a deceased member if:

  • the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission has accepted liability for the death of the member (service death); or
  • the deceased member satisfied the eligibility criteria for the Special Rate Disability Pension under the MRCA during some period in his or her life; or
  • the MRCC has determined that the deceased member suffered an impairment of at least 80 impairment points before the member's death.

The amount of funeral benefit paid under the above criteria is the lesser of:

  • a maximum amount of $2,000; or
  • an amount equal to the amount paid or payable for the funeral of the deceased dependant.

Note that subsection 15(5) of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 provides that in cases where there is a dual entitlement to funeral benefits payable in relation to the death of the member under both the MRCA and VEA, the benefit is only to be paid under the MRCA.  However, there is no equivalent provision to provide for payment of funeral benefit to a dependant of a deceased member under the MRCA so the exclusion does not apply.

A dependant of a veteran (including a deceased veteran) is:

  • the partner;
  • non-illness separated spouse;
  • widow(er) (other than a widow(er) who marries or remarries); or
  • a child of the veteran.

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:

 

 

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

 

 

According to Section 179 of the VEA, the Commission is a body corporate under the name of Repatriation Commission.

 

 

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 dependant of a veteran (including a deceased veteran) is:

  • the partner;
  • non-illness separated spouse;
  • widow(er) (other than a widow(er) who marries or remarries); or
  • a child of the veteran.

A dependant of a veteran (including a deceased veteran) is:

  • the partner;
  • non-illness separated spouse;
  • widow(er) (other than a widow(er) who marries or remarries); or
  • a child of the veteran.