You are here
B44/1992 AUTOMATIC GRANT OF FUNERAL BENEFITS
DATE OF ISSUE 18 SEPTEMBER 1992
AUTOMATIC GRANT OF FUNERAL BENEFITS
The purpose of this instruction is to advise that where a veteran who was in receipt of a pension at the Special Rate or had pension increased under Section 27 (items 1-8) dies, a Funeral Benefit is payable to the estate of the deceased. The payment of the benefit is administered automatically by the Death Processing System in these circumstances.
The Funeral Benefit is designed to partly defray the cost of a funeral and payment of the benefit is intended to be made to the person who incurred the cost of the funeral. To make sure the Funeral Benefit is directed to the appropriate person, it was decided that in cases where payment is automatic, the benefit should be directed to the estate of the deceased. This was seen as the best means of expediting payment and in most cases ensuring that the executor, who would normally be the surviving spouse or dependant, received the monies.
On receipt of advice that an eligible veteran has died a letter is sent to the "Executor of the Estate" at the veteran's last known address. This letter provides information concerning the automatic payment of the benefit. A form (copy attached) is sent with the letter. This form asks for the name and address of the executor and for details of any extra costs incurred in transporting the body of the deceased. This method allows cheques to be sent to the correct person and allows the Department to record where cheques have been sent for audit purposes.
Where a completed form has been received payment of the benefit should be arranged. This form effectively replaces form D307 "Claim for Funeral Benefit" and payment can be authorised from a completed form. States are to institute procedures for random sample checking via the Client Data Base to confirm that the deceased was eligible for a Funeral Benefit.
In cases where a beneficiary of the deceased's estate is not the executor, and funeral expenses have been incurred by the person, the beneficiary should make a claim against the estate. Before a will is granted probate all debts against the estate, including outstanding funeral expenses, must be discharged.
Where a will is being administered by the Public Trustee, a beneficiary of the estate who has paid the funeral costs should present the Public Trustee with an account for the funeral and claim back costs from the estate.
In those cases where the executor of the deceased veteran's estate is not the surviving spouse or a dependant, there is a need to ensure that the funeral benefit is quarantined from other assets and is paid only to defray the cost of the veteran's funeral. The advice letters or notes sent out will need to be amended to ensure that the message is conveyed that the funeral benefit cannot be used for any other purpose than partly defraying the cost of the funeral. All States will need to make suitable changes quickly.
For information, the Public Trustee in the ACT was contacted and they advised that there would be no problem in quarantining that $550 and making sure it is used as proposed.
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR
11 September 1992
ATTACHMENT TO THIS INSTRUCTION
Commonwealth Department of
280 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 3994, Sydney NSW 2001
Metropolitan Residents: (02) 213 7777
Country Residents: 008 257 251
Facsimile: (02) 281 2083
13 August 1992
File number is X073836
GRANT OF FUNERAL BENEFITS
Deceased's File Number:
Executor;s Full Name:
Executor's Postal Address:
Was a separate change made by the funeral director for transporting the deceased?
YES Please attach a copy of the account.