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9.12 - Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme
The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce and the Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme
Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART)
The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART) was established as part of the Australian Government's response to the DLA Piper Review into allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse in Defence. The Taskforce was established to assess and respond to individual cases of abuse in Defence occurring before 11 April 2011.
Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme
The Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme is administered by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART) and provides a Reparation Payment of up to $50,000 to persons who, in the opinion of the Reparations Payment Assessor, may have, plausibly, suffered abuse while employed in Defence. Reparation Payments are made by DART.
Receipt of a Reparation Payment under the Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme does not require the recipient to waive any legal rights and does not affect her or his right to take other action or access other entitlements.
Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme payments are not compensation
A Reparation Payment is not compensation. It is not payment for any physical, psychological, emotional or financial injury, or loss or damage suffered by a person as a result of abuse. Rather, a Reparation Payment is payment in acknowledgement that abuse itself is wrong and should not have occurred.
Impact of Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme payments on DVA payments
Reparation Payments are not compensation payments and therefore will not affect DVA compensation payments. The following payments under the VEA are compensation payments and are not affected by Reparation Payments:
- disability pension,
- war widow(er)’s pension,
- orphan’s pension,
- clean energy supplement paid in respect of a disability pension, war widow(er)’s pension or orphan’s pension,
- Veterans’ Children Education Scheme payments,
- Vehicle Assistance Scheme payments,
- recreation transport allowance,
- loss of earnings allowance,
- attendant allowance,
- clothing allowance,
- decoration allowance,
- Victoria Cross allowance,
- veterans’ supplement,
- bereavement payment in respect of a recipient of a disability pension, and
- funeral benefit.
Payments made by DVA under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the Defence Act 1903 and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 are compensation payments and are thus also not affected by Reparation Payments.
Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA)
A Reparation Payment will have no impact on the amount of DFISA a person may receive. DFISA may be payable to a person whose social security income support payment is reduced or not payable because their DVA disability pension is included in the social security income test. As a Reparation Payment does not affect the amount of compensation payment (disability pension) a person receives, there will be no impact on their DFISA entitlement.
Income support payments
Receipt of a Reparation Payment will in some cases impact on the level of income support payments provided by DVA. The policy applied to Reparation Payments in respect of DVA payments is consistent with the treatment of Reparation Payments for income support payments provided under the Social Security Act 1991.
Reparation Payments are an ‘exempt lump sum’ for the purpose of income testing for income support payments under the VEA.
However, any ongoing income generated by a Reparation Payment, such as interest, will be included in the income test.
Reparation Payments will count as assets for the assets test for income support payments under the VEA. This includes the initial lump sum payment held as cash as well as any financial or other assets purchased with this payment. The following DVA payments are considered income support payments and are subject to an asset test and therefore may be impacted:
- service pension,
- partner service pension,
- income support supplement, and
- Centrelink Age Pension paid by DVA.
Where the receipt of a Reparation Payment results in an income support payment not being payable due to the assets test, associated allowances and benefits may no longer be payable and eligibility for a Pensioner Concession Card may cease.
A Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme payment is tax exempt for income tax purposes
Reparation Payments are tax exempt for income tax purposes. This means that a Reparation Payment is not included in Adjusted Taxable Income and therefore will not affect eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. However, any income generated by a Reparation Payment, such as interest, will be taxed.