DVA Notes
Clean Energy Household Assistance Package Essential Medical Equipment
Medical Confirmation Form
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Clean Energy Household Assistance Package Essential Medical Equipment
Medical Claim Form

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Thursday, 20 September 2012 VA078

VETERAN PENSION RATE RISE ON 20 SEPTEMBER

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, announced that from today, 20 September 2012, there will be an increase in pensions and income support payments for around 305,000 veterans, partners, war widows and widowers around the nation.

“The bi-annual pension indexation process, which was improved by this Government in 2009 with the introduction of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI), underlines our commitment to providing the support veterans and their families need to cope with the increased cost of living.

“The increases I have announced today are part of this process, and will go a long way in helping out those that need it most,” Mr Snowdon said.

The first full pension payment at the new rates will be on pension payday 18 October 2012.

The table below highlights the key changes to fortnightly rates.

Pension
Old Rate
(per fortnight)
New Rate
(per fortnight)
20 September
Increase
Service Pension—single
$755.50
$772.60
$17.10
Service Pension—couples
$1,139.00 couple

$569.50
each
$1,164.80 couple

$582.40
each
$25.80


$12.90
War Widow Pension
$765.60
$783.60
$18.00
Income Support Supplement
$228.90
$234.40
$5.50
Special Rate (TPI) Pension
$1,154.20
$1,182.00
$27.80
Intermediate Rate Disability Pension
$783.40
$802.30
$18.90
Extreme Disablement Adjustment
$637.30
$652.70
$15.40
100 per cent General Rate of Disability
$410.10
$420.00
$9.90

Pensions are indexed twice a year in March and September by reference to the highest of three measures: the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) and Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

Further information and a full list of the pension indexation rates are available from www.dva.gov.au or by calling 133 254 or 1800 555 254 from regional Australia.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203


NSW Life Support Electricity Rebate Application Form

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DVA's Travel Reimbursement Form D800

DVA has made some improvements to the process for clients claiming travel expenses. These changes include a new simplified version of the D800 Claim for Travelling Expenses form.
The layout and colour of the new D800 form has changed, including a reduction in the number of pages from six to four.
Significant changes to the new D800 form include:
* health providers are no longer required to sign the form for travel under 100 km return;
* entitled persons are no longer required to submit travel receipts with their claim. However, receipts must be retained for expenses of $30 or more, per transport mode per trip, for a period of four months after claim finalisation. Any receipts for commercial or subsidised accommodation are still required and must be attached to the form.
* entitled persons can self declare their need for a medically required attendant and/or a taxi (health provider approval is no longer required);
* the hospital admission and discharge section of the form has been removed. These trips can now be claimed like any other trip;
* additional space to record extra information that may assist with processing the claim; and
* a simplified health provider section with reduced questions.
The D800 form cannot be used to claim travel under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) or the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA). There is no specific form for claiming travel expenses under MRCA or SRCA, so claims should be made in writing and include supporting documentation such as invoices for medical treatment and receipts for travel. It is recommended that entitled persons discuss their SRCA/MRCA travel requirements with DVA staff before travelling to treatment. Also, any travel expenses relating to Veterans' Review Board or Administrative Appeals Tribunal hearings must be lodged using the existing D803 Application for Travel in Connection with a Review form.
Entitled persons can continue to use the old version of the D800 until their stock runs out. The Department will continue to process claims using the previous form for the time being. A new D800 will be posted to entitled persons with their reimbursement notice.
DVA's MyAccount online service includes the ability to claim for travelling expenses online. Entitled clients are able to claim for return trips of less than 100 km. Using the online service also enables up to 10 trips to be claimed at once.
The new D800 form can be downloaded from www.dva.gov.au/dvaforms or obtained by contacting the Department's general enquiry number on 133 254 (metropolitan areas) or free call 1800 555 254 (regional areas).


Regards,

Hadyn White
Executive Officer to the Deputy Commissioner NSW & ACT
Department of Veterans' Affairs

DVA MYACCOUNT

DVA MyAccount, the new online way of doing business with DVA.
Please follow this simple two step process to register and get started with MyAccount.

Step 1: Call 1800 173 858 to speak to a DVA officer and receive a registration number. You will need to go through a simple proof of identity process, so please have your DVA file number or client number ready.

Step 2: Once you have your registration number, visit www.myaccount.dva.gov.au , select the REGISTER NOW button and follow the on screen prompts to get your account logon. Please find attached a step-by-step guide to assist you.

The website also provides a helpful "how to" video for the registration process which guides you through the steps.

MyAccount is quick, simple and secure and services will be regularly updated. Keep an eye on the website to see what's new.

Please note: We are currently experiencing a higher than expected volume of calls and ask for your understanding if we are unable to answer your call immediately.

Maureen Hill
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Veterans Access Network
Telephone: 133254(Metro) 1800 555 254 (Regional)
Fax: 08 9366 8375
GPO Box 9998 In your Capital City
generalenquiries@dva.gov.au
www.dva.gov.au






ESSENTIAL MEDICAL EQUIPMENT PAYMENT

Hi All,

An Essential Medical Equipment Payment – an annual payment of $140 to support those with higher than average energy costs because they rely on essential medical equipment at home. Persons holding a Commonwealth Government concession card or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold or White Card; and who use certain essential medical equipment, or have certain medical conditions that require the use of additional heating and/or cooling in their home, may be entitled to claim the Essential Medical Equipment Payment

Could you please ensure all members are aware of this payment.

Could you please make your members aware of this as it is not an automatic payment (it affects those on CPAP devices plus other devices) and must be claimed for. You can find full details on the website www.dva.gov.au/householdassistance scroll down to Essential Medical Equipment Payment and clik on ‘Read more’ for more details.

Regards

Paul Cooke
VVAA (Qld) State Secretary
(07)3408 2267
0418268292


Remembering Australias Servicemen and women

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Veteran Service goes online

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs subscription list

Friday, 11 May 2012 VA039
VETERAN SERVICE GOES ONLINE

A new website, offering veterans a more immediate way of conducting business with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs was launched today by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon.

Making the announcement at the Tasmanian Returned and Services League annual congress, Mr Snowdon said MyAccount was a new innovation in service delivery for the veteran and Australian Defence Force communities.

“MyAccount is an online service centre where clients can engage with the Department anytime, anywhere and all they need to get started is a computer and internet connection,” he said.

MyAccount offers a variety of services including: viewing and requesting forms and factsheets; booking transport to medical appointments; viewing payments and card information; requesting replacement cards; lodging travel claims; requesting additional entitlements; changing contact details; and viewing the status of claims.

“This website responds to the evolving needs of our veteran community, offering clients choice, control and convenience when contacting DVA, without the restrictions of physical location or business hours,” Mr Snowdon said.

Mr Snowdon stressed the service would not replace traditional means of communicating with the Department but is another channel in which to engage with it.

“Change can be a good thing, and I assure the veteran community that this service is not the end of traditional ways of communication – you will still be able to contact DVA via phone, face-to-face, fax, email or mail. The Department will also continue to contact you using these channels.

MyAccount is an evolving service and additional features will be added over time. The service is optional and veterans who wish to set-up an account can phone 1800 173 858 to receive a personal registration number.

While at the congress, Mr Snowdon also provided a summary of 2012-13 Federal Budget measures to benefit the veteran community.

“Our priority is to make sure we look after those who have sacrificed so much for this country: Australia’s 350,000 veterans and their families,” he said.

“That means those who have served and those currently serving, including forces now deployed in Afghanistan, will be cared for today and into the future by our Government.

“While returning the budget to surplus, the Government has protected veterans’ entitlements and provided funding to ensure the Centenary of Anzac is appropriately commemorated.

“The 2012-13 Budget will go towards strengthening our support for veterans and their families in recognition of the contributions they have made in serving our country.

For more information on how to access MyAccount visit myaccount.dva.gov.au and phone 1800 173 858.

For more information on 2012-13 Federal Budget measures relating to the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio visit www.dva.gov.au.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 0407 108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



IMPROVING OUR MILITARY REHABILITATION AND COMPENSATION

The Gillard Government is bolstering its support for Australia's veteran and ex-service communities in the 2012-13 Federal Budget.

“Our priority is to make sure we look after those who have sacrificed so much for this country,” Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, said.

Protecting living standards of some of our most treasured Australians has been a key priority of the Gillard Government from day one, and this important measure reflects that commitment.

As part of the Budget the Government has announced its response to the Review of Military Compensation Arrangements and committed $17.4 million over the next four years to implement 96 recommendations flowing from the 108 recommendations of the Review.

The majority of these changes will be implemented from 1 July 2013 and will deliver improvements to current arrangements for compensation and health care; increased financial compensation for eligible members and families; and improved training for those who provide advice to the veteran community on entitlements.

“We have taken appropriate action to ensure services and support for veterans, serving members and their families continue to meet their evolving needs,” Mr Snowdon said.

The main initiatives that will be introduced include:

• A new method for calculating permanent impairment compensation across multiple Acts (or transitional claims) under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). All those who have claimed permanent impairment compensation under MRCA and been subject to the method for permanent impairment across multiple Acts, since the Act commenced on 1 July 2004, to be reassessed with many receiving increased compensation;
• Around 6000 former Australian Defence Force members with chronic health conditions accepted under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA), subject to a needs assessment showing long-term treatment needs, to receive a White Repatriation Health Card for specific conditions and the supplementary payment for pharmaceuticals;
• Earlier access to compensation with claims under permanent impairment compensation under the MRCA for multiple conditions receiving compensation as each condition stabilises, rather than having to wait for all conditions to stabilise;
• The Eligible Young Person periodic payment, under MRCA, to be increased to match the SRCA equivalent. (Current weekly rates are $84.94 under the MRCA and $126.22 under the SRCA);
• Compensation payable for financial advice under MRCA, for certain beneficiaries who have made a choice about how they want to receive their benefits, to increase to $2400 (currently $1544); and
• Greater flexibility for future wholly dependent partners in the way they receive compensation with the option to convert part of their compensation to a lump sum payment.

“I would like to thank the veteran and defence communities for their contributions to the Review – their input was invaluable in helping to shape the future of the military rehabilitation and compensation system,” Mr Snowdon said.

In addition, the Government’s response will improve processes for the delivery of benefits and services under the MRCA including:

• A boost to the education of providers, clients and their representatives to ensure that they remain informed about the full range of entitlements available through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) for current serving Australian Defence Force members, reservists, and their families in the event of injury or death;
• Better information on rehabilitation, transition from the ADF and compensation offsetting;
• More initiatives to improve the quality and timeliness of claims processing;
• Better pathways to transition from ADF to civilian life;
• A new model for providing claims representation on complex claims; and
• Improved cooperation between Defence and DVA through an extra Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission member nominated by the Minister for Defence and improved management of the relationship between DVA and Defence.

Three recommendations are subject to further consideration, and 11 recommendations of the Review were not supported. Of those not supported, two were replaced with favourable outcomes. Details of the Government’s full response to the Review can be found at www.dva.gov.au.

“Budget 2012-13 delivers $12.3 billion per year in overall funding, building on the Gillard Government’s commitment to provide quality care, services and support for our veteran community and current serving members.

“This funding will go towards strengthening our support for veterans and their families in recognition of the contributions they have made serving our country,” Mr Snowdon said.

For more information on the 2012-13 Federal Budget, visit www.budget.gov.au.



Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski or Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203




Navy Scare Charges

An interesting case for Pensions Officers and Advocates:

www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/aat/2012/176.html

It is very unusal for Senior Member Kenny to set aside a decision in relation to scare charges, but he gives the correct analogy for PTSD in relation to criterion A and experiecning a Category 1A Stressor under the latest SoP.




Vietnam Veterans Education Centre Washington DC
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Tuesday 20 March 2012
VA022
INCREASE TO VETERAN PENSION RATES ON 20 MARCH
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, has today announced that from 20 March 2012, around 312,000 veterans, partners, war widows and widowers will receive an increase in their pensions and income support payments.
Mr Snowdon said improvements to the bi-annual pension indexation process are part of the reforms introduced by the Australian Government in order to deliver a fairer pension system.
“The increase I have announced today as part of this indexation process will assist the veteran community by providing the extra support needed to help cope with increased living costs,” he said.
The first full pension payment at the new rates will be on the pension payday 5 April 2012.
The table below highlights the key changes to fortnightly rates.
Pension Old Rate
(per fortnight) New Rate
(per fortnight)
20 March Increase
Service Pension—single $748.80 $755.50 $6.70
Service Pension—couples $1,129.00 couple
$564.50 each $1,139.00 couple
$569.50 each $10.00
$5.00
War Widow Pension $758.70 $765.60 $6.90
Income Support Supplement $226.80 $228.90 $2.10
Special Rate (TPI) Pension $1,143.80 $1,154.20 $10.40
Intermediate Rate Disability Pension $776.30 $783.40 $7.10
Extreme Disablement Adjustment $631.50 $637.30 $5.80
100 per cent General Rate of Disability $406.40 $410.10 $3.70
Pensions are indexed twice a year in March and September by reference to the highest of three measures: the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).
“From mid-June, members of the veteran community, will receive additional assistance through the Clean Energy Future Household Assistance Package to help with the cost of living impact of the carbon price. This package includes up-front and ongoing assistance for eligible veterans and their families,” Mr Snowdon said.
Pension indexation rates and details of the Household Assistance Package are available from www.dva.gov.au or by calling 133 254 or 1800 555 254 for regional centres.
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 0407 108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



Carbon Tax Offsets

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon has announced house-hold assistance payments of between $190 and $374 will be paid to the vet-eran and ex-service community to fi-nancially compensate for the impact of the carbon price tax. This payment will be paid to eligible service pensioners; seniors supplement recipients, war widows and widowers, disability pen-sioners, permanent impairment recipi-ents and wholly dependent partners (under the Military, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004).
Following the up-front payment, from March 2013, ongoing assistance will be provided through either fortnightly or quarterly payments of between $7.40 and $20.90. A service pensioner on the single rate will receive $250 upfront in May, or June, 2012 and after March 2013, $13.50 in ongoing fort-nightly payments. Pensioner couples will receive $190 upfront each and, from March 2013, $10.20 ongoing per fortnight. For a veteran, on a Disability Pension, payments will depend on the rate of pension. Veterans receiving up to 100 per cent Disability Pension will receive $132.00 upfront and $7.40 per fortnight ongoing, while a veteran on Special Rate (TPI) will receive $374 upfront in June 2012 and $20.90 per fortnight from March 2013. Veterans on a Disability Pension and the Service Pension receive both payments.
Children of veterans and members re-ceiving payments under children’s’ education schemes will also receive assistance and will receive two lump sum payments—in June 2012 and 2013—with ongoing assistance com-mencing on 1 January 2014.



Vehicle Modifications for Impaired Serving and Former ADF Members
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DVA CONCESSIONS FOR MOTOR VEHICLES IN AUSTRALIA
NSW
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VIC
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QLD
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SA
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WA
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TAS
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NT
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ACT
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sUPPLY AND OF CARS AND CAR PARTS GST FREE
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Veterans Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme
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Thursday, 1 March 2012
VA013

70 YEARS SINCE PERTH SUNK IN SUNDA STRAIT

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today encouraged Australians to remember those who fought and died during the Battle of the Sunda Strait during the Second World War.

Mr Snowdon said today marked 70 years since HMAS Perth was sunk during that battle, with the loss of 357 Australians, including three civilians.

“Perth had been providing support to Allied forces in the Java Sea, as part of a larger operation to interrupt a planned seaborne invasion of Java by the Japanese,” Mr Snowdon said.

“The Allies had faced superior Japanese naval forces, outnumbered by warships and lacking air support. In spite of the odds, those on board HMAS Perth, along with the crews of Dutch, British and United States warships fought courageously. Several Allied ships were lost, but Perth survived with only minor damage.”

“On 28 February 1942, Perth attempted to sail through the Sunda Strait alongside the United States cruiser, USS Houston, both ships were sunk by a vastly superior force of Japanese destroyers and cruisers, in what was the Battle of the Sunda Strait,” he said.

“Out of the 680 sailors and 6 members of the RAAF on board Perth, more than 350 were killed, including the commanding officer, Captain Hector Waller. Those who survived the sinking were captured by the Japanese and were held as prisoners of war. One in three did not survive the war”.

“Those sailors and airmen onboard Perth made a terrible sacrifice and Australia owes them all a debt of gratitude which can never be fully repaid.”

“It is important to remember the sacrifice of those sailors on board HMAS Perth and all men and women in uniform who risked, and often gave, their lives for Australia,” Mr Snowdon said.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 0407 108 935 or Marcus Butler 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



DVA E NEWS 1 of 2012
Issue - 1 - 2012
Dental services update
DVA is aware of client concerns about access to preventive dental care services provided by dental hygienists on behalf of their dentist.
The Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission have determined that services provided by dental hygienists under the direction of a dentist or dental specialist will continue for veteran patients as an interim arrangement while DVA consults with the Australian Dental Association and Dental Hygienists Association of Australia about ongoing arrangements.
For more information visit the DVA website.
________________________________________
Veterans’ Access Network
The Veterans’ Affairs Network and Veterans’ Service Centre will now be known collectively as the Veterans’ Access Network, or VAN.
The DVA general enquiry telephone service — 133 254 (for metropolitan callers) or 1800 555 254 (for non-metropolitan callers) — is now a national service that has expanded into a number of DVA offices where Veterans’ Affairs Network services are provided. This has allowed the Department to combine various functions and offer increased options for all clients to engage with DVA in person and on the telephone. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to give DVA’s enquiry service one easy name: Veterans’ Access Network.
The VAN acronym is well known throughout the veteran community, so hopefully this change won’t create any confusion.
To find your nearest VAN office visit the DVA website.
________________________________________
Household assistance for a Clean Energy Future
The Australian Government’s price on carbon takes effect on 1 July 2012.
From mid-June 2012, around 350,000 members of the veteran community will receive assistance through the Household Assistance Package for the impact on the cost of living of the carbon price.
The Household Assistance Package will provide financial assistance to households through increases in pensions, allowances and family payments, as well as income tax cuts.
Information on the range of payments available under the package is now available on the DVA website.
________________________________________
Travelling to Gallipoli or France for Anzac Day this year?
It’s important to come prepared for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Register to receive helpful information and tips on what to expect, what to bring and other useful updates including important travel information for 25 April 2012.
Registration is optional and people can still attend the commemorations if they have not registered.
For more information visit the DVA website.
________________________________________
70th anniversary commemorative mission to Singapore
Six veterans of the Second World War travelled back to Malaysia and Singapore to remember their service, and those who fell 70 years ago during the fall of Singapore.
The mission party took part in commemorative services at wartime locations including Gemas and Parit Sulong in Malaysia and Changi in Singapore. An Australian memorial service was held at Kranji War Cemetery on 15 February—70 years to the day when Allied forces laid down their arms and Singapore fell to the Japanese.
The Malayan Campaign, which ended with the fall of Singapore, lasted just 68 days from 8 December 1941 to 15 February 1942. Following the surrender of the Allied forces to the Japanese, an unprecedented 15,000 Australians became Prisoners of War (POW). Sadly, close to 8000 Australians lost their lives at camps including Changi and Sandakan, while others perished working on the Thai-Burma Railway.
For more information on the mission, background on the Malayan Campaign and the fall of Singapore or photographs from the mission visit the DVA website.
________________________________________
Organising an Anzac Day ceremony
Have you ever thought of holding your own Anzac Day ceremony, but don’t know where to start?
DVA has a step-by-step guide to help plan ceremonies for Anzac Day. Practical advice and information, along with helpful downloads are available to ensure this significant day of remembrance has all the necessary elements to make it memorable.
Audio files of hymns, along with the national anthem and the Last Post are also available for download.
There are also handy hints and tips to making the day a success. While you’re there, check out the Anzac Day commemorative posters and other useful resources. This year’s poster focuses on the 70th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin and the campaign in Kokoda, Papua New Guinea.
To find out more, please visit the DVA website.



Veterans Children’s Education Scheme
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Carbon Price Household Assistance Measures Veteran Community

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Overseas Medicals for Gold Card Holders

Earlier this year after submissions had been made to me at an AVADSC meeting in Brisbane I approached the Deputy Commissioner in the Queensland Consultative Forum regarding Gold Card holders being required to pay for Medical Vaccinations prior to overseas travel, I have now received a positive outcome.
Prior to 1st Aug 2010 DVA has not provided coverage for medical vaccinations for DVA clients travelling overseas, the approach was that these were privately incurred expenses.
DVA has now released a new Business Line where in it now states that as from the 1st Aug 2010 all GOLD CARD holders are eligible for all required vaccinations to be covered under the Gold Card arrangements.
Any Gold Card holders that may have incurred charges from 1st August 2010 are able to seek reimbursement via DVA. I would expect a fact sheet covering this to be issued shortly. I ask that you make this information widely available to your friends and association membership, I will send you a copy of the DVA Fact Sheet once it becomes available. If you or anyone else has any questions ask them to contact their nearest DVA VAN office.
Regards Gordon Blake
Chairman
QLD State Advisory Council
Australian Veterans’ & Defence Services Council

Health and Well Being Programmes

As the only veteran representative on the committee for this program could you add that this program is an initial pilot study for 17,000 eligible gold card holders including widows and will be available to all eligible card holders if at the end of four years it has demonstrated a benefit.

Best information web site is available at:

www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/health_programs/cvc/Pages/default.aspx

Thank you for the publicity.

Regards,

Rod.


Dr Roderick Bain MBBS FRCA FANZCA
RSL NSW State Vice President
Tel 02-93808774
Mob. 0417604450
roderickbain@gmail.com



PTSD LAUNCH
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Thursday, 12 January 2012 VA004

NEW REPATRIATION MEDICAL AUTHORITY CHAIR APPOINTED

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today announced Professor Nicholas Saunders has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA).

Professor Saunders recently retired as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle and will commence his five year appointment with the RMA on 1 July 2012.

“I congratulate Professor Saunders and welcome him to the role. He is a highly respected and experienced leader, who has held high profile positions in the academic and medical professions over many years. He is well qualified for his new role,” Mr Snowdon said.

Professor Saunders was awarded an MBBS with first class honours (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) from the University of Sydney in 1970; he became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Canada in 1975, followed by fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1976. He has also served as the Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council from 2000-2003.

Professor Saunders was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2002 for his contribution to the success of the nation. He also received the College Medal in 2002 for his outstanding services to The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which is responsible for the training and education of more than 13,500 physicians and pediatricians in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Saunders will replace outgoing chairperson, Professor Ken Donald, who has held the position since the inception of the RMA in 1994.

“I would like to thank Professor Donald for his dedication to the RMA and for his many achievements over the past 17 years including setting up the Statement of Principle regime, which is a critical element of the system established to provide compensation to veterans who may have service related injuries or illnesses,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Professor Donald has left a lasting legacy with both the RMA and DVA and I wish him all the best for the future.”

The RMA was established in 1994 to reform the process of decision making about disease causation. It is an independent statutory authority responsible to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. It consists of a panel of five practitioners eminent in fields of medical science, who each determine Statements of Principles for any disease, injury or death that could be related to military service, based on sound medical-scientific evidence.

Media Note: An image of Professor Saunders is available on the DVA Media Centre website at www.dva.gov.au/media

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski or Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 or 0407108 935 / 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203


Friday, 6 January 2012 VA001

ANZAC CENTENARY GOES FAR BEYOND ANZAC DAY
From 2014 to 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary – 100 years since our nation’s involvement in the First World War. During this time we will remember not only the Anzacs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but all Australian servicemen and women who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
The Anzac Centenary is about respectfully honouring all men and women of the Australian Defence Force – past and present – while creating a lasting legacy for all Australians.
The Anzac Centenary is a program of national significance and at the first meeting of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board on 14 October 2011, the Board resolved that a motif for the Anzac Centenary should be developed for consideration by Government.
The Board is comprised of eminent Australians, including business and community leaders and chaired by Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC (Ret’d) – former Chief of the Defence Force.
The development of a motif was also proposed by the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary, which included former Prime Ministers the Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser, PC, AC, CH and the Honourable Bob Hawke, AC. In its report to Government the Commission recommended “…an instantly recognisable motif…that conveys an overall theme should be attached to the centenary program.”
Highly-regarded motifs have been developed for similar programs such as the 1995 commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War Australia Remembers.
Any motif representing the commemorative period needs to have wide resonance, be readily understood by a broad cross section of the community and appropriately reflect the significance of the Centenary.
Consultation was held in both regional parts of the country along with capital cities, and consisted of the public, current serving personnel and veterans.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 0407108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



Pension Rates Jan-Mar 2012

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Range of Online services being introduced by DVA

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DVA leter re new service model of current or former members of the ADF who were seriously injured or wounded during service

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Issue – 4 – 2011
DVA services over the festive season
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ offices will close at 5pm on Friday, 23 December 2011 and will re-open at 9am Tuesday, 3 January 2012. During this time, many important services will still be available.
The free Veterans Line counselling service will be staffed throughout the Christmas and New Year period and can be accessed by phoning 1800 011 046 (free call from a landline phone).
Pension pay days will not be affected by the Christmas and New Year arrangements.
Visit the www.dva.gov.au/aboutDVA/Pages/christmas_new_year.aspx website for information on the full range of services available.



BROADBAND NETWORK PROVIDES IN-HOME HEALTHCARE

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced an
$8 million trial which will enable chronically ill veterans to have their health monitored by health professionals without leaving their home.

Mr Snowdon said the use of in-home telemonitoring technology, combines the best of the National Broadband Network (NBN) high speed broadband with chronic care management to benefit many in our veteran community.

“This trial will take advantage of reliable, high-speed and high-capacity broadband capability to change the way health services are delivered to the veteran community and allow veterans to access high-quality health care from home.

“Vital statistics will be monitored from home and veterans will also have access to high definition video consultations with their GP or nurse coordinator when required.

“This will ensure the veterans’ health can be observed, any irregularities can be identified and appropriate GP intervention provided in a timely manner,” he said.

Around 300 veterans will be able to participate in the trial in the NBN early release areas of Toowoomba in Queensland, Coffs Harbour and Armidale in New South Wales, Mandurah and Geraldton in Western Australia and Kingston Beach in Tasmania, commencing from July 2012.

Mr Snowdon said veterans in the trial would have an individual health care plan developed for them in consultation with their GP and a nurse coordinator.

“Overseas experience has shown that telemonitoring can have significant health benefits for those involved, including more responsive management of chronic conditions.”

Importantly, the program will be closely linked with the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program, which provides ongoing, planned and coordinated care, led by a general practitioner (GP) with a nurse coordinator, to eligible veterans who have chronic conditions, complex care needs and are at risk of an unplanned hospitalisation.

Senator Conroy said the trial is an example of the exciting and transformational opportunities enabled by the NBN, and contributes to the Australian Government’s vision for Australia as a world leading digital economy by 2020.

“The NBN is the platform that will connect veterans and their health care teams, providing an avenue for care that is ideally suited to many people within our veteran community,” Senator Conroy said.


All information will be provided via a secure format and the safety and privacy of personal data will be protected.

“The Australian Government is committed to initiatives that are innovative and improve the health of all Australians, utilising a tool such as the NBN to assist our veterans stay to in their own homes for longer is a positive step forward.”

“This announcement builds on the key health reform initiatives such as Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System to help streamline communication between the various health professionals involved in a veteran’s care, and the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program,” Senator Conroy said.

More information about the new project is available at www.dva.gov.au

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820
Minister Conroy: Lyall Johnson 0408 258 457
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Media: Images are available from the DVA Media Centre www.dva.gov.au/media



VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH REPORT RELEASED

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Mailing List

Friday, 25 November 2011

VA103

VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH REPORT RELEASED

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today released an independent report which reviewed an element of mental health programs and services available to the veteran community.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our returned servicemen and women is a priority, and this review is one way we can ensure that current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, and their families, are receiving the best support available now and into the future.

“The Australian Government is investing $93 million over four years in a Mental Health Reform Program across both Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), to ensure appropriate support is available to those who need it most.

“Current and former members of the ADF have access to a broad range of mental health support and services through public and private hospitals, consultant psychiatrists, counselling through the VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service, community psychology services and PTSD group programs,” he said.

The key findings of the Review of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Mental Health Group Treatment Programs, identified the effectiveness of PTSD group treatment programs.

Mr Snowdon said that PTSD programs had been successful and achieved strong outcomes that are comparable with, if not exceed, outcomes achieved internationally.

The report looked at satisfaction data from 2008–09 on surveys from veterans who had participated in the programs which showed that more than 97 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the programs.

The report also highlighted the success of the PTSD Group treatment programs funded by DVA.

Across all measures from entry to nine months follow-up, the group treatment programs resulted in statistically significant changes for participants on the overall reduction of PTSD symptoms, improvement in perceived quality of life, improvement in family relationships, reductions in anger and reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The report delivers on a 2009 recommendation made by Professor David Dunt as part of the Independent Study into Suicide in the Ex-Service Community.

“This review, along with other recent studies such as the Australian Defence Force Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study released last month, adds to the wider mental health picture,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing study has provided foundations for the development of the 2011 Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which is an integral part of the Mental Health Reform program initiated by the Dunt review.


The strategy is specifically aimed at providing a solid foundation for good health and wellbeing within the ADF, and to ensure services targeting mental health care are promoted and available.

The strategy addresses seven immediate priority areas and will provide a blueprint for the 2012–2015 Mental Health Action Plan to be developed in consultation with the single services and key stakeholders.

Mr Snowdon said the independent review was conducted by the Centre for Military and Veterans Health with the support of DVA.

“The review made recommendations which are currently being considered.

“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring appropriate, accessible, efficient, accountable and evidence-based mental health care for the veteran and ex-service community,” he said.

A copy of the report is available on the DVA website – www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/research/Pages/PTSDGroupTreatmentReport.aspx


Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 or 02 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



DVA'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THOSE WHO COMPLETE VOLUNTARY WORK

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011 VA090

VETERANS URGED TO STRENGTHEN THEIR MENTAL HEALTH

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today joined Member for Moreton Graham Perrett in urging all veterans to connect with their mates and consider their mental wellness during Veterans’ Health Week.

Monday, 24 October, kicks off Veterans’ Health Week which runs until Sunday 30 October 2011 and this year focuses on building on the strength of the veteran community–mental wellness.

Mr Snowdon met with veterans today at the Sunnybank RSL in Queensland and took the time to talk to them about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“Enjoying a healthy lifestyle is important for every Australian, but for many members of the veteran community, war and conflict can have long lasting effects, so it is important they receive support to live a healthy and happy life.

“Veterans’ Health Week is a great opportunity for veterans, war widows, widowers, family members and the general community to celebrate the strengths of our veterans and importantly improve awareness and understanding of health and wellbeing issues,” he said.

Events will be held around the country not just encouraging veterans to consider their health, but also providing opportunities to re-connect with mates and try something new.

Sports events, sight-seeing tours and music concerts will run alongside information sessions focused on health issues particularly affecting veterans.

All of these activities are aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles, spreading the word about the mental health benefits of exercise and nutrition, through to sharing the best ways to stay connected and how to handle specific mental health conditions, including depression.

“While Veterans’ Health Week is rightly focused on our veterans, their families, friends and all Australians should also take the opportunity to learn more about the issues facing our veterans, and to become educated about the importance of their own mental wellness as well,” Mr Snowdon said.

Graham Perrett said Veterans’ Health Week is a great opportunity for veterans to spend time with their mates, support one another and to take the lead demonstrating to friends and family the ways to better mental and physical health.

“I’d encourage all communities to support their local veterans, and consider hosting events this Veterans’ Health Week and into the future,” Mr Perrett said.

For more information on events happening throughout VHW visit www.dva.gov.au/vhw.htm

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 or 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



RSL View on voluntary work
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Vietnam contaminated water
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Full Court judgement
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Issue 3 - September 2011

This issue we look at news across DVA as we near the end of the year.

Veterans' Health Week approaching



24-30 OCTOBER
Veterans' Health Week encourages the veteran community to consider their health needs and suggests positive changes to live stronger, healthier and happier lives.
This year’s theme is building on the strengths of the veteran community – mental wellness. DVA is working in partnership with ex-service and community groups to develop and fund a program of activities across Australia.
For more information on how to get involved visit the website. A list of events in each state will be available closer to the date.


DVA help for ADF On Base

From 1 October a network of trained DVA officers will be deployed to selected ADF bases across Australia as part of the On Base Advisory Service.

The On Base Advisory Service is an extension of existing DVA services. It will simplify the interaction between ADF members and DVA, resulting in a more streamlined and integrated approach to supporting wounded, injured or ill ADF members.

The service will provide DVA with a link to the approximately 60,000 current serving ADF members. On Base Advisors will visit ADF bases regularly and routinely to provide information and advice on DVA services and benefits to all ADF members, not just those medically separating. The service will include providing assistance, to those who are wounded, injured or ill, to lodge claims for compensation, preferably as close as possible to the time of their injury or illness.

This service is part of the Support for Wounded, Injured or Ill Program (SWIIP) – a joint initiative between Defence and DVA to deliver consistent and simplified support to all wounded, injured or ill members.

On Base Advisors will be located within selected Defence Health Centres on either a full or part-time basis. For more information on the service contact DVA in the first instance on 133 254 or for regional callers 1800 026 185 and ask to speak to an advisor in your region.




DVA on Facebook!
DVA is now on Facebook! Registered Facebook users can log on and ‘like’ DVA Aus to receive up-to-date news and events from the Department.

The DVA Facebook page is an open forum and DVA will do its best to keep the dialogue as open and current as possible. Comments will be monitored and anything offensive or political in nature will be taken down. Let’s keep it family friendly!

Visit the DVA Facebook page by clicking this link:


New health program for Australia’s elderly veterans

The Coordinated Veterans' Care (CVC) Program was launched by DVA Secretary, Mr Ian Campbell PSM, at the Australian Disease Management Association conference in Canberra on 25 August 2011.

The CVC Program provides planned and coordinated care for elderly Gold Card holders who are most at risk of unplanned hospitalisation due to chronic illness and complex care needs. The Program will not prevent those, who need to, going to hospital but will instead focus on prevention and improved management of chronic diseases, resulting in improved quality of life.

Around 17,000 veterans, war widows and widowers from the older veteran population are expected to benefit by 2014. Veterans should talk to their GP about becoming involved.

For more information visit the CVC website.


Veterans encouraged to participate in world-first research

Some 27,500 Vietnam veterans, their peers and family members have received a questionnaire as part of the Vietnam Veterans' Family Study – investigating the long-term impacts of wartime service on families of deployed personnel from the Vietnam era. Those who received the questionnaire are encouraged to complete and return it by early November.

There are some very personal questions about physical, mental and family health included in the questionnaire. The Study is entirely voluntary and participants can skip any questions which make them feel uncomfortable or distressed. The questionnaire provides details of support services available to those who may need them.

The Timor-Leste Family Study is researching the impacts of service on the families of deployed personnel from the Timor-Leste era. Questionnaires were sent to registered participants in May. Those who have not yet returned their completed questionnaire should do so as soon as possible.

Both studies will help DVA to better understand the health of Vietnam and Timor-Leste veterans and their families for future planning. The factors that make some individuals and families more resilient are of special interest.

For those who haven't registered to participate – it's not too late. Call 1800 502 302, email healthstudy@dva.gov.au or visit the Family Study Program website. Participants in the Timor-Leste Study are also encouraged to provide their partner’s details so they can be invited too.


Prisoner of War Recognition Supplement

A new payment of $500 per fortnight will be made to former Australian prisoners of war (POWs) in October. Eligibility for the payment commenced on 20 September, with the first full payments to begin on 6 October 2011.

The payment is tax-free, does not affect any Commonwealth payments and will be indexed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index.

The payment will be paid automatically to those former POWs DVA is already aware of, or those in receipt of ongoing DVA payments.

Any person who believes they should be receiving the payment but who has not been in contact with DVA recently should get in contact to clarify their eligibility for the payment.

More information is available at DVA Factsheet POW02.

For more details call DVA on 133 254 or for regional callers 1800 026 185.




Changes to loss of earning arrangements

Temporary Incapacity Allowance (TIA) was removed from the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) from 20 September 2011. From this date, any veteran or ADF member with coverage under the VEA who suffers a temporary period of incapacity due to treatment of a war or defence caused condition must claim Loss of Earnings (LOE) allowance instead of TIA.

In order to receive the LOE allowance, the veteran or member must have experienced some loss of earnings. Veterans or members who do not suffer a loss of earnings are not eligible to receive the LOE allowance.

More information is available at DVA Factsheet DP75.




Maintaining graves of our bravest

The graves of recipients of Australia’s highest honours for bravery will be protected under a new maintenance program. The program will cover the Victoria Cross (VC), its equivalent civil award, the Cross of Valour, and the predecessor of the Cross of Valour, the George Cross.

The new program of maintenance will be delivered by DVA, through the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG), and will provide for the maintenance in perpetuity of the graves of all Australian Victoria Cross, Cross of Valour and George Cross recipients, wherever they lie, at home or overseas.

Victoria Cross recipients have always been commemorated: many in war cemeteries overseas, others at home at the grave site or in a crematorium niche, and many in a Garden of Remembrance.

Veterans entitled to official commemoration may only be commemorated in one place, and as a result, the graves of veterans whose families have chosen commemoration in the Garden of Remembrance were left in the care of families. These graves, as well as 18 British and one New Zealand VC graves here in Australia will also be covered in the new program.

For more information see the media release.


DSHI expands customer services

Defence Service Homes Insurance is further improving its customer experience by releasing a pay-by-the month option and package of new insurance products.

DSHI policyholders can now enjoy the convenience of paying premiums monthly through an automatic debit to their bank account. Policy renewal notices detail the amount payable per month and there are no extra fees for the service.

The new products are available exclusively to the veteran and service communities and include travel insurance and compulsory third party vehicle insurance in New South Wales and Queensland.

Visit the DSHI website for more information.

Publications
Men’s Health Peer Education September 2011
Vetaffairs Spring 2011
www.dva.gov.au/publications

Events
Korea in from the cold International Conference: 6-7 October 2011
Australian War Memorial, Canberra