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Table 12 Death

The date of death must be verified with the Bereavement Unit before a cancellation of pension can be effected. The Department is usually advised of a pensioner's death, either in writing or verbally, by relatives or a representative (e.g. Ex-Service Organisations, Solicitors, Public Trustee).

To reduce the need for further contact by DVA during the bereavement period, the examiner should obtain as much of the following information as possible about the deceased, when the death is first notified:

  • full name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • place of death
  • DVA file number
  • DVA pension types received
  • if a member of the couple received their pension from Centrelink, make a note of this and also their Centrelink Reference Number (CRN).

The examiner should check with their supervisor or Bereavement Unit on the availability of a standard death notification form for their State, and the preferred method of sending this form to the processing area.

Bereavement Units have been established in the majority of State Offices to provide a centralised area for bereavement-related processing and any resulting enquiries. Once a death notification form is received by a Bereavement Unit, the date of death is recorded on VIEW (tab: Record Maintenance, folder: Death Recording). The case is then processed through the Death Processing System (DPS).

DPS will automatically process a case where the deceased had a debt recorded. A daily report is then produced which is given to the OMU. The report is a debt management and recovery report with the title Pension Cancelled Death – Daily Summary Report. The code for this report is dr_pcd_zlt2200_*.

Any case that DPS is unable to automatically process will be identified on the DPS Processing Report and will require manual processing through PIPS.

Overpayment units must action bereavement unit reports as a priority.

The overpayment of pension can occur in the following ways:

  • a pensioner dies and there is no surviving partner or next of kin to notify the Department, and it takes some time for the death to be discovered by the Department (usually the institution that receives the pension will notify the Department)
  • the pension is not recalled or stopped, or is negotiated for the period of 14 days following the date of death
  • when the surviving partner does not notify of the death within the notification period (98 days from 13 July 1999) and continues to receive the pension for their deceased partner
  • where the deceased was in receipt of both service pension and disability pension (DP) at higher than the general rate (i.e. more than 100%), and notification of the death was not received prior to an overpayment of DP being incurred
  • the surviving partner does not notify of a change of circumstances that will reduce the amount of pension payable within the required notification period.

Where the surviving partner had been overpaid pension because of a failure to notify of a change in circumstances that will reduce his/her rate of pension, the overpayment should be investigated in the same manner as discussed previously in the chapter.

If the deceased and/or partner had been overpaid prior to the death of the pensioner, then the overpayment to the deceased is a debt against his/her estate. If the estate has already been settled prior to the discovery and/or advice of the debt to the executor, then there is a recoverable overpayment which is to be written off under section 206 VEA (refer to this Manual's Section 7.16 Write-Off for write-off policy).

Where a debt has been raised against a pensioner, and the debtor dies leaving no estate, and there is no likelihood of a family member making, a voluntary repayment the debt may be waived under extreme or unusual circumstances (refer to this manual's Section 7.18 Waiver).