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7.14.4 Contact With the Partner/Dependants

In the case of recent deaths, delegates should bear in mind that the family or dependants of a deceased member may be unaware of their possible entitlements under the Act.  An actual written claim may not in fact be forthcoming unless those who appear prima facie to have grounds to claim a benefit are made aware of their possible rights and given practical assistance to exercise those rights.

In the case of serving members, DVA has given an undertaking to the Defence Community Organisation not to talk to family members following a death, until they advise that contact can be made.  Therefore, any contact should be made through that organisation or through an ADF officer who has been appointed as the family liaison officer.

In the case of the death of former members, it might be necessary to initiate contact.  However, this should not be attempted unless the identity of the dependants has been clarified.  Care should also be taken with the timing of the contact.