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4.6 Can permanent impairment compensation be claimed and paid following a veteran's death?

Document
Last amended 
25 May 2017

Key points

Survival of claims

Section 55 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) contains provisions enabling both:

  • a claim for permanent impairment compensation made prior to a veteran’s death to continue and not be affected by the death, and
  • a claim for permanent impairment compensation to be made after a veteran’s death, as long as the claim is made by the veteran’s personal representative.

Section 55 of DRCA also contains provisions preventing payment of compensation for non-economic loss under section 27, however does not affect payments under section 24 or 25.

Please refer to chapter 4.6.1 of the DRCA PI Policy Manual for more information about survival of claims.

Provisions applicable on death of beneficiary

Section 111 of the DRCA contains provisions relating to whom permanent impairment compensation is payable following the death of a veteran.

If there is a will

  • If the veteran dies before permanent impairment compensation is paid and they have a valid will, the amount forms part of the person’s estate.

If there is not a will

  • If the veteran dies intestate (i.e. with no valid will) before permanent impairment compensation is paid and there is no other person apparently entitled to claim the estate, the amount is paid to the Commonwealth (i.e. is not paid).

Please refer to chapter 4.6.2 of the DRCA PI Policy Manual for more information about provisions applicable on death of beneficiary.

Personal representative

Whilst personal representative is not defined in the DRCA, subsection 4(1) provides that:

  • a reference in this Act to a claimant is, in relation to any time after the death of the claimant, a reference to his or her legal personal representative.

Please refer to chapter 4.6.1 of the DRCA PI Policy Manual for more information about who is a personal representative.

What general information should be requested before proceeding?

Regardless of whether a valid permanent impairment claim is made before or after a veteran’s death, delegates need to ensure any matters relating to the claim are only conveyed to the personal representative after the veteran passes away.  Delegates should therefore obtain the following information immediately upon being notified that a veteran has passed away:

  • A copy of the will,
  • A copy of letters of administration if the veteran dies intestate,
  • Any other relevant or analogous court documents.

Getting help

Where complex cases arise, delegates should seek assistance from Benefits and Payments Policy via the Delegate Support Framework as early in the process as possible.  This will ensure the Department does not disclose information relating to a veteran’s claim to a person who does not hold the relevant legal authority.