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Funeral Benefit

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Section 99 (eligibility)
Section
98B (benefit payable to estate)
Section 100 (dependants)

 

Stated Current Purpose/Intent

A funeral benefit, up to a maximum of $2,000, may be granted toward the cost of the funeral of an eligible veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force, Australian mariner or dependant.  It is not a grant to cover all expenses incurred.

 

Current Eligibility Criteria

A grant may be made towards the cost of expenses incurred in respect of the funeral of a veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force or Australian mariner:

  • whose death was war-caused or defence-caused;
  • who died in an institution where the member's admission had been approved, or while travelling to or from an institution, at which treatment had been approved;
  • who died after being discharged from an institution where he or she was being treated for a terminal illness, where the discharge had been approved;
  • who died while receiving approved treatment for a terminal illness at home, instead of at an institution; or
  • who died in indigent circumstances.

An automatic grant is made to the estate of a deceased veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force or Australian mariner:

  • who was in receipt of a pension at the special rate;
  • who had his or her pension increased under section 27 (items 1-8);
  • who was receiving an EDA; or
  • who was a former prisoner of war.

An additional amount may be paid towards transporting the body of a deceased veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force or Australian mariner, if the person died while absent from his or her normal place of residence.

A funeral benefit may also be payable towards the cost of the funeral of an eligible dependant who has died in indigent circumstances. The only dependants who are eligible are dependants of veterans whose death was war-caused or defence-caused, or who were in receipt of a pension at the special rate, or under section 27 (items 1-8).

 

Date of Introduction

1920

 

Original Purpose/Intent

To provide financial assistance towards funeral expenses.

 

Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction

1984

Funeral benefit increased from $500 to $550 from November 1984.

1990

Payment of the lower rates of funeral benefit ($20 and $40) was abolished with the introduction of the disability pension bereavement payment.

1992

Funeral benefit became payable automatically to the estate of a veteran who was eligible to receive pension at the special rate or where the veteran's pension had been increased under section 27 (items 1-8).

1994

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.

1995

Funeral benefit became payable automatically to the estate of a veteran who was eligible to receive an EDA or who was a former prisoner of war.

1996

Eligibility for additional payment towards the cost of transportation of remains of a veteran who died in indigent circumstances.  This measure corrected an anomaly where this benefit was available in respect of all other categories of eligibility, but not where the veteran died in indigent circumstances.

2000

Funeral Benefit increased to $572 on the introduction of the GST.

2002

Funeral Benefit increased to $1,000.

2007

The maximum funeral benefit for eligible veterans under the Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986 increased from $1,000 to $2,000.