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B03/1993 ADMENDMENTS TO VETERANS' AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AFFECTING COMPENSATION MATTERS - BUDGET 1992
DATE OF ISSUE: 15 January 1993
ADMENDMENTS TO VETERANS' AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AFFECTING COMPENSATION MATTERS - BUDGET 1992
The purpose of this Instruction is to advise of amendments to Veterans' Affairs legislation relating to compensation matters which were introduced in the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Act (No.2) 1992.
2.The amending legislation, which is embodied in Act no. 228 of 1992, received Royal Assent on 24 December 1992.
PENSION FOR DEPENDANTS OF FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR
3.Departmental Instruction B51/92 of 16 November 1992 outlined the expected changes to provide these benefits. These changes are:
4.Section 13 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) is amended to provide for payment of pension to the widow/er and dependant children of a deceased veteran who was a POW at a time when the veteran was on operational service and whose death is not war-caused. A similar amendment to section 17A of the Seamen's War Pensions and Allowances Act (SWPAA) covers dependants of deceased mariners who were former prisoners of war.
5.Section 13A of the VEA is amended to provide that where the provisions above apply, the pension may be payable to the dependant without having to make a claim for the pension and without the Commission having to make a formal determination under section 19.
6.However, Section 13A is framed in a way which requires a claim to be lodged by those dependants about whom there is insufficient information to automatically determine their entitlement to pension. For example, the Department may not be aware of the existence of a dependant of the veteran until long after the veteran's death, or may be aware of the person's existence, but have insufficient details about the arrangements for payment of pension. In such cases the dependant will be required to lodge a claim for pension. The revised Form D2663 (Claim for Pension by Widow, Widower or other Dependant of Deceased Veteran) includes a new section for claims by dependants of ex-POWs. Section 25A of SWPAA has also been amended to operate in a similar way to section 13A of the VEA. Claims lodged in this manner will need to be determined by a delegate in accordance with the usual process.
7.Section 86 of the VEA is amended to ensure that the dependants of ex-POWs who are entitled to pensions under these provisions are also eligible for treatment.
8.The definition of "eligible child of a veteran" in section 116 of the VEA has been amended to extend the provision of benefits under the Veterans' Children Education Scheme to the children of eligible deceased ex-POWs.
9.These changes are effective from 1 January 1993.
PENSION RATE INCREASES
10.As announced in the Budget, pensions will be increased from 4 February 1992 rather than the normal half-yearly indexation on the first payday after 20 March 1993. The increase has two components:
. a "one-off" $2.00 per fortnight (pro-rata for below maximum general rate); and
. the anticipated March 1993 indexation increase will be brought forward.
11.The new rates of pension are:
War Widow/er's Pension $336.10 per fortnight
Special Rate (TPI) $571.70 per fortnight
Intermediate Rate $394.50 per fortnight
Extreme Disablement Adjustment $325.35 per fortnight
General Rate (100%) $216.90 per fortnight
CONSEQUENTIAL, MINOR AND TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS
12.Paragraph (b) of the definition of "Commonwealth veteran" in subsection 5C(1) has been amended by adding after "the nursing or auxiliary services" the words "of the naval, military or air forces".
13.Section 135 has been amended to clarify the jurisdiction of the Veterans' Review Board to review:
.a decision of the Commission under section 31 as varied;
.a decision of the Commission under section 31 to revoke the original decision; or
.a new decision of the Commission under section 31 substituted for the original decision.
Ag NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR