Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, The Honourable Michael McCormack MP)
Outline And Financial Impact
The Explanatory Memorandum to the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran- centric Reforms No.1) Bill 2018 (the Bill) provides a description of amendments to the Bill being made.
Schedule 1 - Family Support
The amendments made by Schedule 1, amend the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) and would create a new legislative scheme to provide additional support for current and former members and the families of current and former members, including deceased members, of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The amendments will provide additional childcare arrangements, counselling, household services and attendant care for prescribed current and former ADF members.
Schedule 2 - Veteran Payment
The amendments proposed in Schedule 2 would create the Veteran Payment. Veteran Payment is a form of interim income support available to veterans to bridge the gap between lodging a claim for a mental health injury and the claim being determined. This payment is designed to provide immediate short-term financial assistance to vulnerable people who may be experiencing financial difficulty. Veteran Payment would be subject to satisfying asset and income tests and it would be a requirement for a person receiving Veteran Payment to participate in vocational and psychosocial rehabilitation, including financial counselling and budgeting. The partner of a person receiving Veteran Payment may also be able to receive a payment themselves.
Schedule 3 - Coordinated Veteran Care mental health pilot
The amendments made by Schedule 3, would amend the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) to create a new legislative scheme to provide a new pilot program to improve the mental health support available to veterans in rural and regional areas.
Schedule 4 - Compensation for household and attendant care services where catastrophic injury or disease
The amendments made by Schedule 4 would amend the existing provisions relating to compensation for household and attendant care services where an Australian Defence Force (ADF) member sustains a catastrophic injury or disease under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). The new provisions will, more specifically, enable the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (the Commission) to specify the conditions for the purposes of the definition of "catastrophic injury". The provisions will also allow the Commission to approve weekly amounts of compensation for household and attendant care services it considers reasonable given the individual's circumstances and needs.
Schedule 5 - Qualifying service
Schedule 5 would amend the relevant provisions within Division 2 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) that relates to a claim for a qualifying service determination. The amendments will enable the automation of a qualifying service determination prior to or at the time a veteran engages with DVA or makes an application for any benefit or payment.
Schedule 6 - DRCA
The amendments made by Schedule 6, Part 1 would amend the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) to make technical amendments, such as replacing redundant references to Comcare and other bodies and to repeal provisions not related to providing compensation and rehabilitation to current and former ADF members and other eligible persons.
The amendments made by Part 2, would reinsert section 43 into the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) to ensure a peacekeeper will not experience any disadvantage.
Schedule 7 - Specialist Medical Review Council
The amendments made be Schedule 7 are consequential amendments related to the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Act 2017. The amendments would change references to 'the Council' to 'the Review Council'. The Review Council refers to the Specialist Medical Review Council.
Schedule 8 - Other amendments
The amendments made by Schedule 8 Item 1, would amend the existing provisions related to eligibility for treatment under the Australian Participants in British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006. This amendment is intended to extend the gold card eligibility for those members of the ADF who served in Japan prior to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF).
The amendment made Items 2 and 3 are technical amendments to more accurately reflect and stream line the operation of the legislation.
- Total: $26.8 million
- Schedule 1 - Family Support - $7.1 million
- Schedule 2 - Veteran Payment - $16.1 million
- Schedule 3 - Coordinated Veteran Care mental health pilot - $3.6 million
- No financial impact for Schedules 4 to 8.
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