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2.2 Notification of Death and Initiation of Investigation
As related above, many deaths will (at least initially) be notified to the Department informally, for instance via a telephone call by a relative who may or may not be a dependant or by contact from ADF personnel. Telephone contact by a senior NCO from the deceased member's unit is the common method of initial notification where the death occurred in service.
Delegates should note that in death cases, the identity of persons entitled to a benefit or even entitled to claim is not always clear at the time of the death. Clarification of this point is one of the objects of any investigation. It is not always clear who to encourage to submit a claim, nor are such persons always in a state of mind which would permit them to submit a formal claim soon after the death.
With respect to late claims for compensation – i.e. those made years after the death – the guidance given at Parts 17, 18 and 19 of the Initial Liability chapter of this Handbook may be relevant, but delegates should not under any circumstances attempt to deny claims of the dependants of a person (particularly dependants of an employee who died after discharge) merely on the basis that the notification was late. The merits of the case must be judged on the basis of the evidence relating to relationship and economic dependency rather than compliance/non-compliance with the notification provisions of the Act.