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1.2 Additional Death Benefit - Defence Act 1903
The Additional Death Benefit ('ADB') was initiated by the 'Inquiry into Military Compensation arrangements for the Australian Defence Force' in 1997. The ADB is provided through Defence Determination 2009/70 under the Defence Act 1903 and not by the SRCA. However, Military, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) delegates have also been formally declared as Defence delegates for the purposes of the Determination.
The ADB applies only to those compensable deaths that occurred after 10 June 1997. It is a supplementary benefit and is only payable where money is also payable under S17 of the SRCA.
The ADB provides:
- An additional lump sum (i.e. supplementary to that provided under the SRCA)
This supplementary lump sum has two components. The first is a lump sum which is paid to the spouse of the deceased member, while the second is a lump sum payable for each dependent child. Both lump sums are indexed annually.
Where the dependent child is under 18, both of these Defence Act lump sum components are payable to the deceased member's 'spouse' (unless the spouse does not have primary responsibility for the care of the child). If a dependent child is 18 or over, the dependent child ADB is payable to that child. If there are dependent children but no spouse, only the Defence Act's 'child's portion' is payable. Where in such a case a child is under 18 the 'child's portion' is paid directly to the child's guardian for the immediate use for the child's welfare or alternatively paid to the child itself (if a student over 18).
If there is neither spouse nor dependent children, the ADB is not payable This is the case even if the S17 SRCA lump sum is payable to some other category of dependant.
There is no time limit in which the Defence Act Additional Death Benefit can be claimed by an eligible person, nor is there a one-off election or choice in relation to this entitlement.
- Changes to SRCA death compensation arrangements from 13 May 2008
The Employment and Workplace Relations Act 2009, which received Royal Assent on 3 June 2009, increased the amount of SRCA dependant payments for deaths occurring on or after 13 May 2008 and changed the method for indexing these payments.
As a result, the total lump sums payable under section 17 of the SRCA were increased.
Periodic payments to the children of deceased members and former members were also increased.
Example calculation of Spouse benefits for death occurring prior to 13 May 2008 (no dependent children).
$219,023.62 (maximum s17 payment as at 1 July 2007)
$263,184.20 (ADB as at 1 July 2007) minus $219,023.62 (maximum s17 payment as at 1 July 2007) = $44,160.58
$219,023.62 (s17 of SRCA) + $44,160.58 (ADB) = $263,184.20
- Changes to the ADB payment arrangements with effect from 13 May 2008
In November 2009, a subsequent Businessline (TRIM reference 09210765E) was issued in response to Defence Determination 2009/70, which changed the amount of ADB compensation under the Defence Act. The changes were necessary due to the fact that the increased death benefits from 13 May 2008 (as per section 17 of the SRCA) exceeded the maximum ADB amount payable under the Defence Act.
The effect of Determination 2009/70 was that ADB payments would be made as fixed lump sum amounts in addition to the SRCA payment, rather than the previous arrangement of paying the difference between the SRCA amount and the ADB amount.
Example calculation of Spouse benefits for death occurring after 1 July 2009 (no dependent children).
$429,304 (maximum s17 payment as at 1 July 2009)
$47,395.78 (ADB as at 1 July 2009)
Any dependent child would recieve a proportion of the lump sum under section 17 of the SRCA (this may be a zero share), a periodic payment and the ADB dependent child lump sum.
- Reimbursement of costs of obtaining financial advice regarding investment of ADB
The purpose of this provision is to facilitate the spouse/guardian's access to professional financial adviser(s) regarding the investment of the lump sum.
These costs can be reimbursed up to a maximum figure, which is indexed on 1 July each year.
- Access by any 'dependent children' to the Veterans' Children Education Scheme (VCES)
This is a service established under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and administered/funded by DVA. Guidance and counselling services within the VCES are available by way of a determination made under subsection 118(2) of the VEA. However, the funding of educational services is not part of the assistance.