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14.3.3 Family Members
22.214.171.124 At risk of or in crisis
In addition to the veteran eligibility criteria, the person or family must be at risk of or experiencing crisis.
This means they are experiencing new and challenging life circumstances that give rise to a need to support them improve their functioning, wellbeing and/or resilience – their capability to deal with their circumstances.
For a delegate of the Commission to be satisfied that the person or family is experiencing crisis:
- An assessment of the needs of the family is required; and
- A determination is made that the experiences of the family would be mitigated by the provision of funding for structured supports for the purposes of building the family’s capability and/or functioning.
Not all families experiencing crisis will necessarily be eligible for, or would benefit from, services available under the Package. The intent of the Package is to provide short-term, intensive support to help families adjust to new and challenging circumstances. Delegates will determine whether a family’s crisis situation satisfies the Package’s intent and eligibility criteria and refer families to other support in the event that the Package is not appropriate for their particular circumstances.
The following situations may be considered crisis circumstances where the functioning of the family may be impacted and would benefit from support, but this is not an exhaustive list:
- mental and physical heath episodes including attempted suicide;
- substance abuse issues;
- family and domestic violence incidents, including child abuse;
- family conflicts and family breakdowns;
- sudden, significant events such as loss of employment or death in the family;
- at risk of disengagement with the community (particularly young people);
- at risk of engagement with the criminal justice system;
- other instances approved by the delegate, taking into account the professional judgement of Complex Case Managers.
The following situations would not, in and of themselves, be considered circumstances that make a family eligible:
- financial distress;
- routine/known events;
- legal proceedings, court costs of fines;
- natural/ environmental disaster.
126.96.36.199 Related persons
Family members of living veterans need to be a ‘related person’ in order to access support under the Package. Related persons are defined in each Act.
Related persons are:
- the veteran’s partner;
- the veteran’s former partner where the separation occurred in the last 12 months or where they are parenting a child of the veteran and the child is under 18 years old;
- a parent or step‑parent of the veteran;
- a parent or step‑parent of the veteran’s partner;
- a grandparent of the veteran;
- a child or stepchild of the veteran;
- a child or stepchild of the veteran’s partner;
- a grandchild of the veteran;
- the veteran’s brother, sister, half‑brother or half‑sister; or
- a person in respect of whom the veteran stands in the position of a parent; or
- a person who stands in the position of a parent to the veteran.
188.8.131.52 Related persons under a support plan
One or more related persons of a veteran may receive support under a support plan. For example, the partner and two children of a former member may receive support. These people would have access to services to meet their needs, up to the annual cap. Where the former partner of a veteran is seeking support from DVA due to their circumstances, they are not required to be nominated by the veteran in the veteran’s support plan in order to receive support. A delegate has the discretion to determine they are eligible to receive support without informing the veteran. This ensures the safety and wellbeing of the former partner in circumstances where there is family and domestic violence or other high risk separation circumstances. This means where a veteran has a current family and a former family, both may be able to receive support at the same time if they are eligible. Both families would have access to the full annual cap, it would not be split between them.
There may be circumstances where a veteran nominates their former partner for support, as they may still have a relationship and the former partner and/or the former partner’s child/ren with the veteran require support.
For questions on specific cases seek clarification from firstname.lastname@example.org
The family member is over 65 years old – are they eligible for the Package?
Yes. The age restriction is on the veteran, not the family member. The parent of the veteran who has a significant portion of care of the veteran’s children can receive support through the Package.
Who is considered a former partner?
A former partner is someone who was in a partner relationship with a member or former member before separating. That includes de-facto and married. A former partner does not have to be divorced from the veteran. The separation must be less than 12 months ago for the partner to be eligible, unless they are parenting the child of the veteran. Evidence of the separation may be required to determine eligibility.
What is considered parenting a child or in the position of a parent?
Someone parenting the child of a veteran under the Package is as per section 61B of the Family Law Act. Parental responsibilities in relation to a child, means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.
Proof of parenting arrangements may be required to determine this in some cases and could include court orders, out of court settlements/agreements, child support agency documents/agreements, Services Australia documents or statutory declarations.
I am a 70 year old veteran caring for my grandchildren. Can I access the package?
No. The veteran must be under 65 years old to access support through the Package. Veterans who care for their grandchildren may access support through Services Australia as this is a situation that affects many Australians.
Grandparent carers may get Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B if they care for a child at least 35% of the time. Services Australia provides information on support for grandparent carers on their website Support for grandparent carers - Family Tax Benefit - Services Australia
Veterans who have 65% or more care of their grandchildren may be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy to support the cost of child care. The Grandparent additional child care subsidy - Additional Child Care Subsidy - Services Australia
Carers of vulnerable children may also be eligible for the Child Wellbeing Subsidy The Child Wellbeing subsidy - Additional Child Care Subsidy - Services Australia
Services Australia have advisors who help grandparents understand what help they can get Grandparent Advisers - Services Australia. They can be contacted on 1800 245 965.
I have experienced domestic violence, do I need the veteran’s involvement to be eligible for support?
No. Partners and former partners can contact DVA directly to ask about eligibility for and receive support through the Package. Their partner will not and should not be informed. Care needs to be taken to ensure the privacy and safety of the person.
DVA is not a crisis support. In an emergency call 000.
If a person has experienced family and domestic violence they are likely to be experiencing significant trauma that is impacting their – and their family’s – ability to function well. Support through this Package would be appropriate after the initial crisis has passed.
Open Arms may provide crisis accommodation support. 1800 RESPECT can provide information on services in your area. Centrelink can also provide financial support.
Can a veteran and their current family get support through the Package as well as a veteran’s former partner?
Yes. Although both family units are connected to the veteran, they are two distinct family units and can both access the Package at the same time, if they meet the eligibility requirements. They would each be eligible for the full annual cap.
The former partner would have to have separated from the veteran no more than 12 months ago, or be parenting the veteran’s child or children (under 18 years old) AND be considered in crisis or at risk of crisis – experiencing new and challenging life circumstances that give rise to a need to support the family unit.
Where there are shared care arrangements of children across the two family units, care will need to be taken to ensure services for the children are not double funded. Consideration will need to be given to careful communication that does not breach individuals’ privacy.
Information held by DVA should be used in the first instance to check a veteran and their family’s circumstances for the purpose of establishing eligibility. For example, use of DVA’s systems to check a veteran’s payments and therefore inform eligibility.
Where a family has a report from a medical practitioner such as a psychologist, this can be used to inform the services provided under the Package. Families are not required, however, to get medical evidence before support is provided.
Where there is a report of family and domestic violence, a statutory declaration is sufficient evidence for eligibility. Where a person has other evidence such as a court order, an apprehended violence order (or similar Order under the respective jurisdiction), a police report or evidence from a crisis service provider, these can all be used as evidence. It is critical for survivors of family and domestic violence that they are believed and are not required to provide onerous amounts of evidence to access support.
Other documentation such as school reports for children or communications with teachers may be useful in understanding a person’s or family’s needs and inform the services provided. These are not required before support is provided.