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B50/1995 PAYMENT OF FUNERAL BENEFIT - AMOUNT OF BENEFIT
DATE OF ISSUE: 30 AUSGUST 1995
PAYMENT OF FUNERAL BENEFIT - AMOUNT OF BENEFIT
This departmental instruction is to supplement the Guide to Supplementary Benefits - Review of Funeral Benefit, which was circulated 27 April 1995.
2.At 2.2.1, the VEA is reflected in that it states that an amount of $550 may be granted towards funeral expenses in certain stated circumstances. This funeral benefit has been increased over the years. Prior to 15 January 1973 the benefit was a maximum of $50 and this was progressively increased to $550 on 1 November 1984. Since then there has been no increase.
3.The VEA currently provides that an amount of $550 may be paid subject to the fulfilment of certain requirements (Sections 98B, 99 and 100 refer).
4.Internal Audit have ascertained that there may be some misapprehension in, at least, some of the State Offices as to the amount of funeral benefit payable. There has been some thought that the benefit, to be paid in respect of persons dying before 1 November 1984, should be paid at the rate payable at the date of death. Such is not the case.
5.The amount paid depends on the date of the decision to grant a benefit. It follows that, if the amount of the benefit is increased, the higher amount would be paid only in respect of determinations made on or after the date the higher rate took effect.
ADVICE BY LEGAL SERVICES GROUP
6.Legal Services Group gave Internal Audit an oral advice that "there is no authority under the Veterans' Entitlements Act to restrict the amount of funeral benefit payable to the maximum amount prescribed and in force at the time of death in those cases where the veteran's death is not accepted until a number of years after death and the maximum rate of funeral benefit payable under the Act is increased in the interim.....in such cases, the Veterans' Entitlements Act does not preclude the payment of funeral benefit at the rate in force under the Act at the time the (application is determined)." Internal Audit went on to say "It seems, therefore, that valid claims received now in respect of deaths occurring before 1 November 1984 should be paid up to the limit of $550, subject to all other legislative requirements being met".
ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY STATE OFFICES
7.All granted applications for funeral benefits should be paid at the amount set out in Sections 98A, 99 and 100 of the VEA (ie currently $550), irrespective of the date of death. In the case of an application for payment under section 99 or 100, eligibility for a payment will also depend on an application being made within the prescribed time limit.
8.The contact officer for enquiries regarding this policy is John Orr, Compensation and Review Branch, National Office. (06 289-6506)
Compensation and Review