More than 225,000 veterans and their dependants will benefit from the $17.6 billion stimulus package announced by the government yesterday (sic – the announcement was made last Thursday, with the minister’s press release sent out after 2pm Monday).
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said many of our veterans receive benefits through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the stimulus package announced by the Prime Minister and Treasurer would support our veteran community through this challenging time.
“Those veterans or dependants who receive income support or compensation benefits through DVA as listed below and who are currently residing in Australia, will receive the one-off payment of $750,” Mr Chester said.
“The government is committed to putting veterans and their families first, particularly with regards to the health and economic impacts of this global health issue.”
Payments will be made to the following groups from 31 March 2020, with the majority of payments to be made by 17 April 2020 to recipients of:
- Service Pension
- Income Support Supplement
- Age Pension and Wife Pension paid by DVA
- DVA Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
- Disability Pension
- War Widow(er)’s Pension
- Wholly Dependent Partner payment
- Special Rate Disability Pension
- Permanent Impairment compensation under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004
- Permanent Impairment compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988
- Veteran Payment
- Gold Card holders
Mr Chester said there would be one payment per eligible recipient, which will be tax free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.
“The payment will be automatically paid into bank accounts and will come from DVA or Services Australia.
“However, recipients are encouraged to confirm their bank details are current and up-to-date by calling DVA on 1800 555 254.”
Veterans and their families will also benefit in other ways from the government’s commitment of $2.4 billion to bolster the nation’s health system in response to COVID-19 as this situation evolves.
“The health package allows older and at-risk veterans to access some health consultations and assessments remotely, via video or phone where video is not available,” Mr Chester said.
“In the event veterans are in home isolation or from a vulnerable patient group, they will also be able to have their Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) prescriptions filled online or remotely and have their medication delivered directly to their home.
“This ensures vulnerable veterans can access the health care they need while limiting the risk of exposure.
“Veterans in residential or home care will be supported by the government’s commitment of over $100 million to up-skill and increase the numbers of aged-care staff and nurses.”
In addition to the stimulus and health packages, more than 30,000 veterans and their families will benefit from cuts to deeming rates as announced by the Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston, which will start flowing through to bank accounts from 1 May 2020.
Further information on the government’s COVID-19 health commitment can be found here.