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5.12.3 Subsection 80(2) - Dependant
Once the relevant date is established (see chapter 5.12.2), the delegate must then consider whether at the relevant date, the veteran had any dependants. Essentially, a dependant must be both:
- a related person; and
- wholly or partly dependent on the veteran for economic support, or, would be dependent on the veteran but for the veteran’s service-related incapacity.
Section 15 of the MRCA provides the definition of a dependant as follows:
A dependant of a member means a related person of the member:
- who is wholly or partly dependent on the member, or
- who would be wholly or partly dependent on the member but for an incapacity of the member that resulted from an injury or disease or an aggravation of an injury or disease.
A related person of a member is:
any of the following persons:
- the member’s partner;
- a parent or step-parent of the member;
- a parent or step-parent of the member’s partner;
- a grandparent of the member;
- a child or stepchild of the member;
- a child or stepchild of the member’s partner;
- a grandchild of the member;
- the member’s brother, sister, half‑brother or half‑sister; or
- a person in respect of whom the member stands in the position of a parent; or
- a person who stands in the position of a parent to the member.
Section 5 provides the definition of dependent (with an ‘e’) as:
- dependent for economic support.
Further policy guidance about who can be a dependant can be found in Chapter 7.5.1.
While guidance on dependency can be found elsewhere in Chapter 7.5.2 of CLIK, assessing dependency for the purposes of determining whether additional compensation is payable under section 80 does not require establishment of a certain level of dependency to calculate a payment.
A related person to the veteran is either wholly or partly financially dependent on the veteran for economic support, or not financially dependent at all.
Section 17 of CLIK provides for when a partner or an eligible young person can be automatically considered wholly dependent on a veteran, and includes when a partner or eligible young person lives with the veteran.
Practically speaking, 'dependency' requires a consideration of the relationship of economic support between the veteran and the related person. A practical approach is to consider the financial contribution provided consistently over a period of time towards the total cost of the dependant in maintaining the necessities of life at the standard of living enjoyed. The simplest example is where a related person relies on the veteran for 100% of their economic support. In the section 80 context, this would be seen as determinative.
However, a relationship of economic support may exist where the veteran is only partially economically supporting the related person. The Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission takes a lenient approach to these cases, such that, where the veteran provides more than a token proportion of the total economic support provided from all sources to the related person, dependence is established, and therefore the payment may be considered, depending on the dependant also meeting the eligible young person criteria – see chapter 5.12.4).
This must be considered in the context of the individual case. For example, where a related person receives $50 per week from the parent who is the veteran before they are determined as suffering at least 80 impairment points, but the related person lives with the other parent who is otherwise responsible for all economic support to the related person, it would be unrealistic to suggest that the related person is economically dependent on the veteran.
The question to ask as a delegate is:
“Would the related person be impacted in a real sense if the economic support provided by the veteran was no longer provided?”
Note: In line with the MRCA being a beneficial legislation, an interpretation that favours granting the benefit will likely be preferred. However, for borderline or complex cases, delegates should consult with Benefits and Payments Policy for further guidance. To do so, please refer to the Delegate Support Framework.
The delegate determines the relevant date for the purposes of subsection 80(2) is 30 January 2019. Evidence provided confirms that at 30 January 2019, there was a child and a step-child living in the veteran’s home. The child was wholly economically dependent on the veteran and the step-child, who lived at the veteran’s home on weekends and alternative weeks, was partially economically dependent on the veteran. In this example, it would be open to the delegate to consider both the child and the step-child were dependants of the veteran. The next step is to determine whether the child and step-child in this example also meet the definition of eligible young person (see chapter 5.12.4).
The delegate determines the relevant date for the purposes of subsection 80(2) is 30 March 2021. The veteran provides evidence confirming that at 30 March 2021, there was a child and the veteran’s partner living in the home. The child was wholly economically dependent on the veteran. The partner, who did not work and stayed home with the child, was partially economically dependent on the veteran. In this example, it would be open to the delegate to consider both the child and partner were dependants of the veteran. The next step is to determine whether the child and partner in this example also meet the definition of eligible young person (see chapter 5.12.4).
The delegate determines the relevant date for the purposes of subsection 80(2) is 1 July 2022. Evidence provided confirms that at 1 July 2022, the veteran was fostering a child and the foster child was living with the veteran full time. In this example, it would be open to the delegate to consider the veteran is a person in respect of whom stands in the position of a parent to the foster child, and therefore the child is a dependant of the veteran. The next step is to determine whether the foster child also meets the definition of eligible young person (see chapter 5.12.4).
Note: Please see the compensation claims procedure manual for more information about evidentiary requirements and how to obtain information to consider a related person’s dependency on the veteran for the purposes of the section 80 payment.