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B66/1994 AUTOMATIC ENTITLEMENT TO FUNERAL BENEFIT - EXTENSION OF ELIGIBILITY CATEGORIES TO EX-POWS AND EDA RECIPIENTS.
DATE OF ISSUE: 23 DECEMBER 1994
AUTOMATIC ENTITLEMENT TO FUNERAL BENEFIT - EXTENSION OF ELIGIBILITY CATEGORIES TO EX-POWS AND EDA RECIPIENTS.
The purpose of this Departmental Instruction is to notify that the Veterans' Entitlements Act, 1986 (VEA) has been amended to provide entitlement for a Funeral Benefit grant to the estate of a veteran who:
was receiving an Extreme Disablement Adjustment at the time of his death, or
was a former Prisoner of War.
2.The VEA has been restructured as follows:
Section 99A is repealed;
a new section. 98B has been inserted which provides automatic eligibility for a veteran who, at time of death, was:
?receiving a special rate pension; or
?receiving a pension increased under s. 27, items 1-8; or
?receiving an Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA); or
?previously a prisoner of war.
a revised s. 99 that will continue to provide eligibility in respect of a veteran:
?whose death was war-caused; or
?who died in needy circumstances; or
?- in an institution; or
?- travelling to or from an institution; or
? - after discharge from an institution in which the veteran was being treated for a terminal illness; or
?- while being treated for a terminal illness at home. or
?who after death, it was found the veteran satisfied a category under the new s. 98B.
3.The legislation received Royal Assent on (16 December 1994) and is effective from 1 January 1995.
4.The Funeral Benefit is designed to partly defray the cost of a funeral, and payment of the benefit is intended to be made to the person who incurred the cost of the funeral. Funeral Benefits are already paid under existing criteria in respect of a large percentage of ex-POWs and veterans who were receiving EDA, but there has been no automatic entitlement to a Funeral Benefit. In some instances a claim had to be made to have death accepted as war-caused simply for the purpose of paying a Funeral Benefit.
5.The inclusion of these two additional categories in section 98B of the Veterans' Entitlements Act, 1986 means that there will be consistency and uniformity in granting Funeral Benefit.
6.Procedures remain unchanged from Departmental Instruction No. B44/92 dated 18 September 1992.
7.Once notified that an eligible veteran has died, a letter providing information concerning the automatic payment of the benefit is sent to the "Executor of the Estate" at the veteran's last known address. As is presently the case, a form is sent with the letter that asks for the name and address of the executor and for details of any extra costs incurred in transporting the body of the deceased. This allows cheques to be sent to the correct person and, for audit purposes, enables the Department to record where cheques have been sent.
8.On receipt of a completed form, payment of the benefit can be authorised. This form effectively replaces form D307 "Claim for Funeral Benefit". States should continue to conduct random sample checking via the Client Data Base to confirm that the deceased was eligible for a Funeral Benefit. Grant of automatic Funeral Benefit can continue to be registered on CMS and the CDB:ATR facility.
9.In those cases where the executor is not the surviving spouse or a dependant, the advice letter should state that the Funeral Benefit must be quarantined from other assets and is paid only to defray the cost of the veteran's funeral.
10.If funeral expenses have been incurred by the person other than the executor, that person should make a claim against the estate. Before a will is granted probate all debts against the estate, including outstanding funeral expenses, must be discharged.
11.The current Funeral Benefit claim form is being modified to reflect the new legislation and to generally update information.
12.The automatic advices are being changed to reflect the new legislation. Central Office Communication, Operations & Review area will incorporate the new legislation in the next reprint of the Bereavement Information leaflet.
Monitoring of Expenditure
13.The Department of Finance requires, as part of the evaluation process, an account of cost of widening the eligibility categories. This will be achieved by using a separate accounting code for payments through the Financial Accounting System (FAS). A report generated from FAS will be produced in Central Office.
14.The following codes will become effective from 1 January 1995 when the benefit commences:
Funeral Benefit for Ex-POW cases - 39550
Funeral Benefit for EDA cases - 39555
15.The effective date of this change is 1 January 1995. This means that the benefit will be available in respect of veterans who die on or after this date.
G J COLLINS
A/G NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR