Welcome to the May issue of DVA e-news, featuring information on the 2018-19 Budget and extended family support that became available on 1 May 2018. Also in this issue:
• French President honours Australian veterans
• How working smoke alarms save lives
• Details on the Veterans’ Advocacy and Support Services Model Scoping Study
• Another DVA rehabilitation success story
• Call for entries for veterans’ art prize!
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Extended support for families
The Family Support Package for veterans and families covered under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 commenced on 1 May 2018. The package provides childcare funding, home help and counselling support for immediate family members of eligible veterans, in specific circumstances.
To receive this additional funding you will need to meet all eligibility requirements, including having an identified requirement for childcare services or counselling.
Further information about the new support package is available on the DVA website. Specific information for widow(er)s is also available.
Veterans’ Advocacy and Support Services Model Scoping Study
A major study to improve advocacy services for veterans and their families is currently underway, led by Mr Robert Cornall AO, former Chair of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce. The study will examine challenges to veterans and their families in accessing support services for entitlements, as well as models for creating an essential, modern and sustainable advocacy service into the future.
Veterans’ advocacy is going through a period of change, driven by demographic shifts and client expectations, such as younger veterans seeking a more professionalised, client centric service. Two recent parliamentary reports (including The Constant Battle: Veteran Suicide) recommended changes to the current advocacy system, including a review of representation at the Veterans’ Review Board.
The aim of the study is to recommend the most suitable advocacy model for Australian veterans and their families which:
• is efficient, effective and at a minimum, is comparable in quality and value with those available to Australian civilians in accessing government entitlements
• is based on veterans’ individual needs and protects their interests
• is sustainable, consistent and scalable to meet fluctuations in demand, and
• provides personalised advice when claims are unsuccessful, and options for appeals.
The veteran, ex-service and Defence communities are being consulted as part of the study, including specific groups such as younger veterans, female veterans and veterans’ families. The study is also seeking the views of relevant policy and technical stakeholders in Australia and overseas, including the Veterans’ Review Board, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and representatives from the legal, community, health and disability sectors.
A discussion paper will be available soon and submissions to the study will be welcome. For more information, please visit the DVA website.