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History and Purpose of Section 24 and Section 23 of the VEA - Overview
- The introduction of the Special Rate of pension (also colloquially known as the T&PI pension, for Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Pension) dates back to the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act 1920 which stated:
'The Special Rate of Pension may be granted to members of the Forces who have been blinded as the result of War Service, and to members who are totally and permanently incapacitated (i.e. incapacitated for life to such an extent as to be precluded from earning other than a negligible percentage of a living wage)'
- In 1985, the Act was changed because, as a result of court interpretation, veterans who had been able to engage in a reasonably full working life were able to fulfil the Special Rate requirements at or after retiring age. This was seen as a distortion of the true purpose for granting the pension. In introducing new Special Rate legislation in 1985, the Acting Minister for Veterans' Affairs said:
'The special or TPI rate pension was designed for severely disabled veterans of a relatively young age who could never go back to work and could never hope to support themselves or their families or put away money for their old age. It was never intended that the TPI rate would become payable to a veteran who, having enjoyed a full working life after war service, then retires from work possibly with whatever superannuation or other retirement benefits are available to the Australian work force.
If a person has had the usual span of a working life or has retired voluntarily or has left employment for reasons other than accepted disabilities, a T&PI pension is not payable.'
- In 1988, the requisite degree of incapacity was reduced from 100% to 70%. In 1994, further amendments were made to introduce a separate series of tests for veterans aged 65 and over at the date of application.
- The purpose of the Special Rate provisions continues to be that stated by the Acting Minister in 1985.
- In 1965, the Intermediate Rate of pension was introduced into the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act 1920 to bridge the gap between the General Rate and the Special Rate of pension for veterans who are/were capable only of engaging in part-time or intermittent employment due to incapacity from their accepted conditions  . In comparison to Special Rate, the higher working hours limit for Intermediate Rate recipients indicates that the person's capacity to work (and earn) is greater than negligible.
The term accepted condition/s refers to both war-caused and defence-caused injury and war-caused and defence-caused disease. (go back)