Claims process ‘insults’ veterans

A COMPLICATED veterans claims system is leaving ex-services personnel humiliated as they apply for compensation. 

Veterans are struggling to apply for entitlements under three separate federal acts, all of which can cover the same person. 

Veteran advocate Mick Quinn, who has assisted Tasmanian ex-services personnel with claims, said the Department of Veterans Affairs could not appropriately manage the three acts. 

Compensation entitlements are structured differently between the acts, with different standards of proof, assessment criteria, and level of benefits payable. 

Advocates have watched on as veterans grow humiliated by the claims process. 

“It’s just so confusing. Every time I step into it I think, ‘this is morally wrong’,” Mr Quinn said. 

The department left volunteer advocates to help veterans navigate the legislation, he said.

Veterans have approached Launceston veteran welfare advocates after trying to make applications without help. 

Their claims are rejected because they haven’t complied with legislative instruments used to determine issues of medical causation raised in claims for liability.

Advocate Garry Beven said this can lead to financial hardship.

“It is frustrating, it is stressful. It can lead to anxiety within the veteran,” he said. 

Veterans felt the DVA didn’t believe their conditions when rejecting applications. 

“It’s insulting, it’s degrading and humiliating and there’s no need for any of that.”

Mr Quinn wants the government to repeal the latest act, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, and has called for a royal commission into the DVA. 

The claims system was adversarial, he said.

“If they repeal the new act and revert to the old practices prior to the new act coming in, we could provide the new veterans a better service.”

Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan said there had been significant improvement in the DVA’s performance on claims, which were being processed faster. 

“While this is a good result I am pushing the department to do even better,” he said.

“The DVA is committed to listening to veterans and consulting with them on improving its performance. This is an ongoing process delivering results.”

There was no need for a royal commission into the DVA, Mr Tehan said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop