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Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Stated Current Purpose/Intent
An automatic bereavement payment is made to the widow/er of an eligible veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force, or Australian mariner, to assist the widow/er gradually to adjust his or her financial situation, and to defray costs caused by the bereavement.
A bereavement payment to the estate of a deceased single veteran previously in receipt of a special rate or Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) disability pension is made if the veteran died in indigent circumstances. The bereavement payment supports the families to pay for the costs of a funeral where the deceased veteran dies without sufficient assets to pay for a funeral.
Prior to 1 January 2005, the amount of bereavement payment was the equivalent of six pension instalments up to a maximum of 100 per cent of the general rate.
From 1 January 2005, the amount of bereavement payment is the equivalent of six times the actual rate of disability pension.
Current Eligibility Criteria
Pensioner was a member of a couple
The deceased person must have been:
- a member of a couple; and
- receiving a disability pension.
Pensioner was single
The deceased person must have:
- not been a member of a couple;
- been receiving a special rate or EDA disability pension; and
- died in indigent circumstances.
- Bereavement payments are also payable in respect of income support pensions. In this case seven pension instalments are paid to the widow/er (see Income Support Bereavement Payment).
Date of Introduction
1 January 1990
The original purpose has not changed.
Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction
From 1 July 1994, the SWPA Act and Regulations were repealed and Australian mariners became eligible under the VEA on the same basis as veterans.
The Government increased the bereavement payment for the partners of above general rate disability pensioners (including T&PI, intermediate rate and EDA veterans). This initiative commenced on 1 January 2005. Under the new arrangements, all bereavement payments including increased payments for deaths from 1 January 2005 are paid automatically.
From 1 July 2008 the Veterans' Entitlements Legislation Amendment (2007 Election Commitments) Bill 2008 introduced bereavement payments to the estate of deceased single veterans previously in receipt of a special rate or EDA disability pension and who die in indigent circumstances.
Same sex partners of veterans treated the same as opposite sex de facto partners.