New veterans’ compensation legislation released for consultation

The Albanese Government has released exposure draft legislation that it believes will simplify and harmonise the century-old veterans’ entitlements, compensation and rehabilitation system.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the current system was difficult to understand and complex to administer – and a chorus of veterans yelled “No shit Sherlock”.

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide found the system was “so complicated that it adversely affects the mental health of some veterans and can be a contributing factor to suicidality.”

Mr Keogh said that following consultation, the draft legislation would simplify the veteran compensation system, with all claims to be considered under a single Act.

Under the new system [assuming there’s no amendments after consultation]

  • all new claims for compensation and rehabilitation from the date of commencement would be assessed under a single Act, an improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA);
  • the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 would be closed to new claims following commencement of the new arrangements; and,
  • all benefits being received under existing schemes will continue unaffected under grand-parenting* arrangements. Any new claims after the commencement date (including claims for worsening of pre-existing conditions) will be assessed under the improved MRCA.

There will also be a number of improvements including:

  • introduction of a new Additional Disablement Amount to provide similar benefits as the Extreme Disablement Adjustment for those post retirement age;
  • making the higher travel allowance under MRCA available to all veterans and for all kilometres travelled;
  • providing a pathway for veterans currently only covered by DRCA to qualify for the Specialist Medical Review Council and a Gold Card if they have a new claim accepted; and,
  • increasing the general funeral allowance to $3000 with the amount previously set at $2000.

 

Mr Keogh said the release of this draft legislation followed the government’s earlier consultation on a pathway to simplify the veterans’ legislative framework, and provide better support to veterans and their families.

“Feedback from that consultation has guided the proposed changes announced today,” he said.

“I welcome feedback and submissions from the veteran community and general public on the draft Veterans’ Entitlements, Treatment and Support (Simplification and Harmonisation) Bill 2024.

“Submissions close on 28 April 2024.”

More information on the proposed legislation changes, and opportunities to provide feedback can be found at dva.gov.au/legislationreform.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: ‘Grandfathering’ is an accepted legal term that means “an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases”.  ‘Grand-parenting’ is nothing more than a lame-ass political-correctness piece of bovine excrement that muddies the water and, unless and until it is tested (and accepted) in a court of law, means nothing. Which is actually pretty ironic in a process designed to simplify a complex legal system 😉

P.S. I hope the legislation is drafted with more care than the minister’s press release. I corrected maybe two dozen errors in the above.

 

 


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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

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