New veteran services announced

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said veterans and their families would receive increased support services and income support payments after the Senate passed new legislation today.

FILE PHOTOANZAC Day Dawn Service at Talil, Iraq, 2008. Photo by Brian Hartigan.

“This legislation delivers a significant part of the government’s response to concerns raised in the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report,” Mr Chester said.

“We have established a new income support payment for veterans with mental health problems who are unable to work so they have a source of income. This will reduce the stress this places on both the veteran and their family in what can be a difficult time.

“Partners of veterans may also be eligible for the Veteran Payment and veterans with dependent children may be entitled to the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A without being subject to the Family Tax Benefit means test while they receive the Veteran Payment.

“From 1 May 2018 a new pilot program, the Coordinated Veteran Care mental health pilot will commence, which aims to support to veterans in rural and regional areas with chronic mental health at the mild to chronic status combined with co-morbid health conditions.

“Veterans are at the heart of many communities around Australia and it is essential they have access to these services no matter where they live and this a great initiative to ensure vital mental health services are delivered.

“Veterans who have suffered a catastrophic injury will also be supported with access to household and attendant care services based on their individual needs.”

Mr Chester said the qualifying service determination had also been simplified by automating the process, which will remove the requirement for veterans to make an application for the determination.

“Other measures in the legislation include an entitlement to a Gold Card for Australian Defence Force members who served in Japan after the cessation of hostilities at the end of World War II and before the British Commonwealth Occupation Force commenced.”

Mr Chester said this was a great outcome for veterans and their families who play such an essential role in a veteran’s health and wellbeing with additional services to be provided under these new measures which include increased access to childcare assistance, home care and counselling.

“There are also a range of other initiatives underway which will further deliver on our commitment to support our veterans who have given so much to our country and this government is ensuring they receive and have access to support services they need now and into the future.”

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CONTACT NOTE: While the government is willing to pay for all the services mentioned above (and many others besides), veterans should be aware that not all service providers are willing to accept DVA-funded veterans as clients. We believe veterans should be aware of this before attempting to make an appointment with a new service provider. Better forewarned than shocked by a possible rejection.

See related story ‘Veteran refused treatment – because DVA paying‘.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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