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7.3 Death Certificates

Last amended: 9 April 2013

No determination about compensation for death may be made unless the delegate has been provided with a copy of the death certificate. This is mandatory for death claims.  Death certificates are essential for three reasons:

  • To validate the actual fact of the member's/former member's death;
  • to provide the legal underpinning to any determination on compensation; and
  • Because of its status as the official medical opinion on the cause of death (which of course must be demonstrated to derive from a service-related cause).

The provision of a death certificate to validate a claim is analogous to the provision of a medical report confirming a diagnosis of an injury or disease for other classes of claim.

The only scenario where it is possible to make a determination without a death certificate is if the death occurs on service and results from an occurrence.  In this case the Certificate of Death on Service and other Defence Department statements may be sufficient.  However, in other circumstances, the death certificate, signed by the treating doctor or by the Coroner will be required. It is usually quicker for the claimant to acquire a copy of the death certificate.   Delegates should, however, provide reasonable assistance particularly where the dependant/claimant is either distressed or under some difficulty in sourcing the documentation (eg is a child).