Veterans compensation claims to be simplified in major federal government overhaul

Kimberley Caines
The Nightly
2 Min Read
The complicated system for veterans seeking compensation claims is about to be overhauled.
The complicated system for veterans seeking compensation claims is about to be overhauled. Credit: Sharon Smith/WA News

Veterans trying to make compensation claims will soon find it easier with the Federal Government set to streamline the “different” and “complex” system that has not been changed in more than a century.

The Nightly can reveal Veteran Affairs Minister Matt Keogh will on Wednesday announce a consultation period is now open on legislation to reform the veterans’ entitlements, compensation and rehabilitation system.

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

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According to a 2023 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, suicide deaths for former military men were 42 per cent higher than the rest of the country’s suicide rates and for ex-serving women, it was 50 per cent.

Sadly, 1677 Australian Defence Force members took their own life between 1997 and 2021.

“The release of draft legislation follows the Government’s earlier consultation on a pathway to simplify the veterans’ legislative framework, and provide better support to veterans and their families,” Mr Keogh told The Nightly.

“I welcome feedback and submissions from the veteran community and general public.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meets students at Thorlie TAFE during his visit to WA on Monday, he was joined by Member for Burt Matt Keogh.
MInister for Veterans Affairs Matt Keogh. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Submissions will close on April 28.

The new system will also include the introduction of a new additional disablement amount to provide similar benefits as the extreme disablement adjustment for those post-retirement age.

Veterans will also receive a higher travel allowance and be able to claim for every kilometre travelled, and the general funeral allowance will be increased from $2000 to $3000.

A pathway will be provided for those currently only covered by Defence-related claims to qualify for the specialist medical review council and a gold card if they have a new claim accepted.

The final hearing of the Royal Commission will be held in Sydney on Monday before the final report is expected to be handed down in June this year.

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