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C31/1996 UNITED KINGDOM WAR PENSIONS AGENCY'S BENEFITS

Document

DATE OF ISSUE:  16 APRIL 1996

UNITED KINGDOM WAR PENSIONS AGENCY'S BENEFITS

Purpose

The purpose of this instruction is to advise of the current situation regarding the provision of information about UK war pensions to expatriate UK veterans residing in Australia.  This follows recent publicity and approaches to the previous Minister by British veterans resident in Australia.

Background

DVA acts as a provider of appropriate claims forms and arranging medical examinations or investigations on behalf of the British War Pensions Agency.  DVA does not act as a provider of 'up to date' information on the benefits available to British veterans or the eligibility criteria for any benefit administered by the British War Pensions Agency.  This is largely because of the virtual impossibility of ensuring that staff maintain a current, accurate knowledge of British benefits.

However, DVA has agreed to help publicise any information or changes concerning the eligibility criteria for UK war pensions and other related information that is on hand.

Latest Developments and Information

The UK War Pensions area of the British Department of Social Security has advised that:

·There have been no recent changes in eligibility criteria.

·There have been no legislative changes easing the entitlement criteria for the basic pension in recent years.  There have been a number of

·changes of lesser significance in recent years, mostly affecting supplementary allowances (see Attachment A).

·In recent years there have been a number of changes in medical opinion concerning certain diseases and the possibility of them being causally related to service in the armed forces.  Some claims which may well have been rejected in the past might now succeed, or vice versa (see Attachment B).

Subject to varying eligibility criteria, the following categories of persons are covered by the UK compensation system:

·ex-servicemen,

·merchant seamen and naval auxiliaries,

·coastguards,

·civilians and Civil Defence personnel,

·Polish ex-servicemen,

·members of the Home Guard, and

·members of the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Australian Contacts for Information on UK Pensions

There are some ex-Service Organisations in Australia that provide information about the War Pensions Agency's benefits.  Mr T P Stamp RMA, is the National Secretary of the British Ex-Service Council of Australia.  He receives information from the War Pensions Agency after each Budget and is willing to relay any information he has.  He can be contacted at PO Box 312, Niddrie VIC 3042, telephone (03) 9338 3527.

The Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL) has a British Pensions Officer, Dr Bough, working from their Victorian Branch.  Dr Bough is pleased to receive enquires from British ex-service personnel and assists with claims completion and other enquires.  He can be contacted on Fridays between 10am and 1pm, at the RSL, Anzac House, 4 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000, telephone (03) 9650 5050.

The UK War Pensions Agency can be contacted directly at:

War Pensions Agency

Norcross

Blackpool  FY5  3WP

ENGLAND

Tel: (when dialing from Australia)  0011 44 1253 858858

The UK War Pensions Policy Group can be contacted at:

Department of Social Security

War Pensions Policy Group

The Adelphi

1-11 John Adam Street

LONDON  WC2N  6HT

Tel: (when dialing from Australia)  0011 44 171 962 8076

Fax:(when sending from Australia) 0015 44 171 962 8004

Future Action

National Office will continue to liaise with UK counterparts to monitor developments in UK policy and advise State offices as necessary.

W R MAXWELL

DIVISION HEAD

COMPENSATION


ATTACHMENT A

(WAR PENSIONS)

START DATE

BENEFIT

CHANGE

April 1979

War Pensioners

Unemployability Supplement

Additional Treatment Allowance

Age bands which determine the rate of Invalidity Allowance paid with unemployability supplement and additional treatment allowance were adjusted to correspond with similar changes affecting national insurance and industrial injuries pensioners.

April 1979

War Pensioners' Unemployability Supplement

Graduated Retirement Pension and additional component under S.S. Pension Act to be paid in addition to UNSUPP.

September 1980

War Pensioners' Unemployability Supplement

Maximum break between periods of unemployability supplement which can be ignored in determining an award of IVA reduced from 13 to 8 weeks.

September 1980

War Pensions Appeals

Law changed to permit posthumous entitlement appeals, and the continuation of entitlement and assessment appeals commenced before death.

December 1981

War Pensioners' Allowance for Lowered Standard of Occupation and Unemployability Supplement

Law changed to enable an Allowance for Lowered Standard of Occupational already in payment to be continued despite subsequent eligibility for Unemployability Supplement if pensioner becomes unemployable.

November 1983

War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement

Introduction of this new supplement.

April 1987

Funeral Expenses

Extension of provisions following the death of a war pensioner.  Funeral Grant abolished.

April 1988

War Pension

Amount to be statutorily disregarded as income in assessing income-related benefits increased from ?4 to ?5 per week.

April 1990

War Pension

Amount to be statutorily disregarded as income in assessing income-related benefits increased from ?5 to ?10 per week.

April 1990

War Pensioners' Unemployability Supplement

Therapeutic earnings limit increased by more than the rate of inflation.

July 1990

War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement

Extended to include automatically pensioners who are both deaf and blind.

October 1990

War Pensioners' Constant Attendance Allowance

Automatic payment of highest level of CAA to war pensioners who are terminally ill due to accepted disablement (ie. life expectancy no more than 6 months).


April 1991

War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement

Automatic entitlement for double leg amputees.

March 1992

War Pension

Polish Forces Scheme extended for a further 5 years to March 1997.

April 1992

War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement

Period of expected mobility need reduced from 12 to 6 months.

April 1992

Dependency Allowance

Abolished; but rate of basic War Pension increased by same amount.

January 1993

War Pension

Introduction of 20% threshold for awards in respect of noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss.

April 1993

War Pension

Removal of rank differentials; basic War Disablement Pension increased by up to ?5 per week on top of normal up-rating.

April 1993

Education Allowance

abolished - except for existing cases.

April 1994

War Pensioners' Unemployability Supplement

Increased by 50p a week above the RPI to help with VAT on Fuel.

October 1995

War pension

Introduction of appeal rights for Polish Forces.


ATTACHMENT B

CHANGES IN MEDICAL OPINION

When there has been a change in medical opinion about any particular condition which could affect a number of cases, such that some which may have previously been rejected as not being due to service may now be accepted, it is the Secretary of State's practice to notify the Ex-Service organisations and War Pension Committees accordingly.  Appropriate publicity may then be given in the expectation that this will stimulate requests for reviews of previous decisions where entitlement had previously been rejected.  The WPA cannot identify all such cases.  To do so would require manual scrutiny of all War Pension files, both those where pension is in payment and those where it is not. That is not feasible.

ONUS OF PROOF

Claims made not more than 7 years after the termination of service.

The onus is on the Secretary of State to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the disablement or death is not due to service.

Claims made more than 7 years after the termination of service.

The onus is on the claimant to raise a reasonable doubt, based on reliable evidence, that the disablement or death is due to service.

DATES OF CHANGES IN MEDICAL OPINION

Within the last 20 years there have been changes in medical opinion relevant to a number of conditions, listed below.  The date in brackets is the earliest possible date the Secretary of State is satisfied that a reasonable doubt about the condition being due to service could have been raised, and before which he remains satisfied that there was no reasonable doubt that the condition could not be due to service.  It is thus the date from which arrears of pension entitlement will accrue where a claim had been properly rejected, before that date.

(i)Schizophrenia (1 Feb 1976);

(ii)Cardio-vascular disorders in Amputees (15 Feb 1979);

(iii)Hodgkin's Disease (1 Dec 1983);

(iv)Multiple Sclerosis (6 June 1984);

(v)Diabetes Mellitus (1 Dec 1985);

(vi)Leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) arising in Nuclear Test Veterans within 25 years of participation of tests (28 Jan 1988);

(vii)Meniere's Disease (1 June 1988).