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6.5.3 Family Support Package

Last amended 
15 May 2018

Background to the Family Support Package

Research shows that a person’s family unit, is integral to their rehabilitation success.  Where a person experiences challenging family circumstances such as illness, financial problems and relationship breakdown, the effectiveness of their rehabilitation can be affected. 

In October 2017 the Government announced a range of initiatives in response to recommendation 19 of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report The Constant Battle: Suicide by Veterans.  The initiatives have been put in place to deliver better support for veterans and their families, with the goal of reducing suicide and self-harm in the veteran community.

Recommendation 19, at 6.109, states: "the committee recommends that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs review the support of partners of veterans to identify avenues for assistance.  This review should include services such as information, advice, counselling, peer support and options for family respite care to support partners of veterans".

The Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No.1) Act 2018 inserted a new Chapter 5A – Family Support into the MRCA to establish the legislative framework for providing support to eligible members, former members and their families.  Chapter 5A of MRCA enables a legislative instrument to specify further details of the assistance and benefits that may be made available.

The Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Family Support) Instrument 2018 provides for the granting of assistance and benefits to former members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

Two groups have been identified for support:

  1. eligible MRCA veterans and their nominated family members; and
  2. a spouse/partner of an eligible MRCA veteran who became deceased, either while on warlike service or as a result of or in connection with his or her warlike service.

The information outlined in chapter 6.5.3 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library, relates only to group 1: eligible MRCA veterans.