Defence Force Members

Defence force members and veterans’ renewed hope as cash injection follows promise of new military compensation claims scheme in 2018

Defence veterans disheartened by the constant struggle that is the military compensation claims process have received a glimmer of hope on two fronts.

The Federal Government today committed an extra $31 million to help veterans struggling with mental health issues. This announcement follows that by Defence Minister Marise Payne last week that the framework for the new Defence  reparations scheme would be finalised by the end of this year, and payments to victims set to start in early 2018. You can watch the video of that here for more details.

The latest funding boost, for veterans struggling with mental health issues, is in addition to the $58.6 million in mental health funding that was provided in this year’s Budget, and comes in response to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report The Constant Battle: Suicide by Veterans.

In the package, the Government will provide:

  •     $16.1 million over four years for a new Veteran Payment for financial vulnerable veterans claiming mental health conditions;
  •     $7.1 million over four years to extend support for families of veterans;
  •     $2.1 million over four years for an annual health assessment for ex-serving ADF members for the first five years post-discharge;
  •     $4.0 million over two years to pilot a case management service for transitioning or recently discharged ADF members and;
  •     $1.7 million over two years to undertake a scoping study to professionalise veterans’ advocacy.

To improve access to mental health services, all personnel leaving the military will now receive a DVA White Card to access treatment as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The Government has agreed to 22 of the 24 recommendations made in the Senate committee report and agreed-in-principle to the remaining two recommendations.

In addition, it has asked the Productivity Commission and the Australian National Audit Office to conduct reviews into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). These independent reviews will inform further improvements to DVA processes.

Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers partner Tim White, a military compensation claims specialist, welcomed the news, but warned there was a long road ahead.

“Every little bit of extra help for our veterans is important, but more needs to be done to help those who have given so much for their country,” Mr White said.

“The DVA process is notoriously complex and lengthy. It is a common source of distress for many of the veterans I speak with. These men and women will hope any review of the DVA leads to a faster, clearer compensation and benefits process.”

If you need any legal help with your claim, register here or contact TGB partner Tim White. Tim specialises in military claims and is a Legal Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force Reserves.
Please note TGB can assist current and former ADF members Australia-wide.

If you would like to be kept updated about news regarding the 2018 launch of the new military reparations scheme you can register your details here.