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6.5.3 Family Support Package

Last amended 
17 September 2018

Background to the Family Support Package (FSP)

Research shows that a person’s family unit is integral to their rehabilitation success. Where a person experiences challenging family circumstances such as illness, financial problems and relationship breakdown, the effectiveness of their rehabilitation can be affected. 

In October 2017 the Government announced a range of initiatives in response to recommendation 19 of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report The Constant Battle: Suicide by Veterans.  Recommendation 19, at 6.109, states: the committee recommends that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs review the support of partners of veterans to identify avenues for assistance.  This review should include services such as information, advice, counselling, peer support and options for family respite care to support partners of veterans.

The Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No.1) Act 2018 inserted a new Chapter 5A – Family Support into the Military Rehabilitation Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) to establish the legislative framework for providing support to eligible members, former members and their families. Chapter 5A enables a legislative instrument to specify further details of the assistance and benefits that may be made available.

The Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Family Support) Instrument (No.2) 2018 provides for the granting of assistance and benefits to former members of the Australian Defence Force and their families. This instrument identifies two groups eligible for support:

  • eligible MRCA veterans and their nominated family members; and
  • the partner of a eligible deceased MRCA member who’s death was by suicide related to his or her service, orwas a service death.

The information outlined in chapter 6.5.3 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library, relates only to group 1, eligible MRCA veterans.

Intent of the FSP for veterans and their families

The intent of this policy is to provide targeted support to veterans and their families and in so doing, reduce barriers to a veteran achieving their rehabilitation goals.