Veteran's Compensation System – Have your say by 28 April 2024

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Published
10th April 2024

Draft legislation that aims to simplify and harmonise Australia’s veterans’ compensation system has been released by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs for public consultation. There has been strong interest in the draft legislation since it was released on 28 February 2024, with many submissions already lodged with the Department. 

  • Make sure that you have your say before submissions close on 28 April 2024. 

The draft legislation is the next step in responding to recommendation 1 of the Royal Commission’s Interim Report. If enacted, the Veterans’ Entitlements, Treatment and Support (Simplification and Harmonisation) Bill would implement the Government’s proposal for a single Act model from 1 July 2026. 

Under this model, all new claims after the commencement date would be assessed under an improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), with compensation payments being received under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) at the commencement date being grand-parented. 

The new system would also have a number of improvements, many of which have been added as a result of the consultation conducted on the Veterans’ Legislation Reform Consultation Pathway last year. They include:

  • Introducing a new Additional Disablement Amount to the MRCA, providing similar benefits as the Extreme Disablement Adjustment under the VEA for those post retirement age (taking into account modern superannuation entitlements) 
  • Making the higher travel allowance amount available to all veterans, regardless of kilometres travelled, for private vehicle travel for treatment 
  • Providing a pathway for veterans only covered by the DRCA to qualify for the Special Rate Disability Pension and a Gold Card under MRCA if they have a new claim accepted or a material deterioration of an accepted condition accepted post-commencement 
  • Increasing the funeral allowance from $2,000 to $3,000 for previous automatic grant categories under the VEA, and ensuring that a reimbursement for funeral expenses of up to $14,062 is available in respect of all service related deaths 
  • The ability to have DRCA claims reviewed by the Veterans’ Review Board 
  • Merging the functions of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission into the Repatriation Commission 
  • Introducing ‘presumptive liability’, allowing the Repatriation Commission to specify injuries and diseases that can be determined as “automatic unless proven otherwise” where they are known to have a common connection with military service. 

Moving to a single ongoing Act will make it easier for veterans and families to understand their entitlements and receive the support they need, when they need it. It will also contribute to streamlining and speeding up claims processing within DVA.

  • Visit www.dva.gov.au/legislationreform to review the proposed changes, understand what would be different and why, learn how the changes may impact you, get involved and have your say.
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