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C15/1997 FUNERAL BENEFIT - COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF BODY
DATE OF ISSUE: 7 MARCH 1997
FUNERAL BENEFIT - COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF BODY
- This instruction advises of changes to eligibility for the payment of a funeral benefit for transportation of the body of a veteran who died in indigent circumstances.
- This instruction supplements the Guide to Supplementary Benefits (GOSB) - Review of Funeral Benefit, which was circulated 27 April 1995. The GOSB section affected is 2.5.1 which currently states that costs of transporting the body of a deceased veteran is not payable where the veteran died in indigent circumstances.
- Prior to the 1996/97 Budget, the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) provided for "a sum equal to a reasonable charge" to be paid for transport costs in the following circumstances:
- where a veteran died away from home, and
- the veteran was not indigent, and
- the veteran was away from home for medical treatment, and
- the funeral director had charged for transporting the body from the place of death to the place the veteran resided immediately before death.
- The 1996/97 Budget extended the eligibility for transportation of remains to include those who died in indigent circumstances. This initiative provides equity and also simplifies legislation by enabling all claims for funeral benefits to include this benefit where appropriate.
- Subsection 99(5) of the VEA has been amended to remove the reference which excluded payment of transport costs where the veteran died in indigent circumstances.
- The amended subsection 99(5) retains provision for the non payment of transport costs incurred outside of Australia or within a capital city:
“(5) Paragraph (4)(b) does not apply to a charge made by a funeral director for transporting the body of the deceased veteran:
- outside Australia; or
- from one place in the metropolitan area of a capital city to another place in the metropolitan area of that city.”
- Royal Assent was received on 5 March 1997.
- The effective date of this change is 21 August 1996 which means that the benefit will apply to all applications received on or after 21 August 1996.
- The application form D307 will be changed to reflect the new eligibility when it is next reprinted. The only change needed is to delete the words “other than for death in needy circumstances” from the first line of the “Transportation of Body Costs” box located on the front page of the claim form.
- As we currently hold large stocks of this form and the change required is small we propose that the current form continues to be used but is amended before it is sent out.
- Please ensure that while the current application forms remain in use the clause “other than for death in needy circumstances” is deleted. A thick black texta should be used so that the words are totally obliterated.
- Delegates should be made aware of the change in eligibility. Changes will need to be made to the method used to assess costs of transport in indigent circumstances.
- The contact officer for enquiries in this matter is Marie Leach, Disability Compensation Branch, National Office on (06) 289 6046.
Compensation and Support