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B46/1992 EXTENSION OF REPATRIATION BENEFITS TO AUSTRALIAN EX-POWS FROM THE EUROPEAN AND KOREAN THEATRES
DATE OF ISSUE: 16 October 1992
EXTENSION OF REPATRIATION BENEFITS TO AUSTRALIAN EX-POWS FROM THE EUROPEAN AND KOREAN THEATRES
1.The purpose of this Instruction is to detail the Government's 1992/93 Budget decision to extend certain repatriation benefits to Australian ex-POWs from the European (E) and Korean (K) theatres, and to outline the procedures to be followed by Branch Office staff to give effect to the decision.
2.The Budget decision compensates Australian ex-POWs from the European and Korean theatres for the adverse effects flowing from their incarceration by:
.removing the present annual financial limit of $440 on high-cost dental items in Schedule C of the LDO Fees Bulletin, and
.automatically accepting as being war-caused, all claims where the veteran has a medically diagnosed psychiatric disorder and/or peptic ulcerative disease.
Date of Effect
3.The Budget Decision took effect from 1 September 1992.
Implications of the Decision
4.Similar benefits are already available to Australian ex-POWs of the Japanese (ex-POWs(J)). This latest decision means that all Australian ex-POWs will be treated the same, irrespective of their theatre of conflict.
5.Please note that ex-POWs(J) can claim also for Hepatitis B and Strongyloidiasis. These diseases were most widespread in the geographical areas where ex-POWs(J) served or were interned.
6.All Australian ex-POWs are now exempt from the annual limit on high-cost dental items contained in Schedule C of the Department's LDO Forms Bulletin including crowns, bridgework, and gold restorations. Treatment, however, is to be provided through the LDO Scheme.
7.In addition, all diagnosed psychiatric disorders or peptic ulcerative diseases are to be accepted as war-caused. This will make it less intrusive and less traumatic for ex-POWs to claim compensation for these disabilities. Ex-POWs who have previously had a claim for any of these disabilities rejected, are eligible to reapply.
Range of Disabilities Covered
8.The terms 'psychiatric disorders' and 'peptic ulcerative diseases' are generic descriptions which cover a range of related disabilities. The related disabilities that qualify for acceptance under this new initiative are currently:
post-traumatic stress disorder
Peptic Ulcerative Diseases
peptic ulcerative disease
9.The authority to decide upon the inclusion of other conditions under the headings of psychiatric disorders or peptic ulcerative diseases rests with the Medical Services Adviser to the Benefits Program. All such requests or queries about this matter are to be addressed to:
Medical Services Adviser
10.As for the earlier ex-POW(J) initiative, no change to the Veterans' Entitlement Act is necessary. The Commission's 'Treatment Principles', however, will be amended to remove the annual financial dental limit for all ex-POWs, not just for ex-POWs(J) as at present.
11.The current Statement of Principle on ex-POWs(J) will be amended to take account of all ex-POWs and the conditions that will be accepted. Strongyloidiasis and Hepatitis B will continue to be identified as particular to ex-POWs(J).
12.Information about the proposal will be disseminated as follows:
.by letter from the Minister to each ex-POW (E) and (K) recorded on our ADP client data base,
.by letter from the Minister to ex-Service Organisations advising them of the initiative and asking them to further advise their membership,
.by a Ministerial News Release on the day the letters are despatched, and
.by producing an information/training video for DVA staff.
13.Letters will be sent as soon as possible after data extract so that, as far as is practicable, they are sent only to surviving veterans. Data extract will occur overnight on a Monday, with letters printed and despatched the next day. This should ensure delivery by the following weekend.
14.Branch Offices will be advised of the dispatch date and the text of the News Release and letters when these have been agreed.
15.An information/training video is planned along the lines of the video, "Every Inch of the Way", which was produced in 1990 to cover the ex-POWs-J initiative. Production of a similar video covering the conditions experienced by ex-POWs (E) and (K) will increase staff awareness of, and sensitivity to, the ex-POW issue. It will also serve to demonstrate to the ex-Service community that the Department recognises the special problems experienced by ex-POWs.
Processing of Claims - Benefits
16.A veteran must apply, formally, to have the disabilities accepted.
17.Departmental Form D2585(P1) Jun 92, "Claim by a Veteran for Disability Pension and Medical Treatment", provides for veterans claiming any new injury or disease to have these diagnosed by a medical practitioner.
18.Where a claim is submitted by an Australian ex-POW for one of the disabilities listed in paragraph 7 above, and a 'final' diagnosis has been made by a medical practitioner, the disability is to be accepted as being war-caused by the Determining Officer without further investigation.
19.Where a medical practitioner makes a 'provisional' diagnosis, the claim is to be referred to the Departmental Medical Officer (DMO) for further diagnosis. If the DMO makes a 'final' diagnosis, the disability is to be accepted as being war-caused by the Determining Officer without further investigation.
20.Claims which are being examined now can be accepted provided they include evidence to show that the veteran has been diagnosed as having the disabilities.
21.Where a spouse is claiming that the veteran died from any of the disabilities in question, but the veteran did not make a claim to have them accepted:
.the disabilities are to be accepted as being war-caused if evidence shows that the veteran had been diagnosed as having the disabilities; and
.the claim for war widow's or war widower's pension is to be processed in the usual manner to determine if the death of the veteran was due to his (newly) accepted disabilities.
22.Dental treatment plans for Australian ex-POWs that include high-cost Schedule C items are to be submitted to the Department's Dental Consultants for approval.
23.The Treatment Account System is being changed to reflect the new arrangements and allow payment of Schedule C claims on behalf of all Australian ex-POWs.
24.Branch Offices are not required to undertake any special procedures to facilitate the subsequent extraction of statistics from ADP systems. Central Office will extract statistics required for inclusion in any Management Report and/or to answer any Parliamentary Question or other inquiry.
25.Further details or clarification of any point can be obtained by phoning the contact officers on:
Benefits Program - Ces White, 06-2896485
Health Program - Jonathan Abrahams, 06-2896687
PETER HAWKER — TONY ASHFORD
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR — NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR