Welcome to DFWA

Welcome to the
Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA)

OUR PURPOSE

We exist simply to foster the best interests and welfare of all members of the Australian Defence Force and their families in any matter likely to affect them during or after their period of service.

Read more about us at ABOUT / BACKGROUND

We are also a member of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO), which comprises many of Australia's major military ex service organisations (ESO). The Alliance represents a significant number of members of Australia's Defence Family on national advocacy and representative matters to the Australian Parliament and all political parties. Its aim is to promote and protect the conditions and well-being of the Defence Family that embraces over three million people.

CURRENT NEWS

(as a current news item becomes stale, it is transferred either to "archived issues" or one of the "current issues" on the left side of the home page)

23 December 2017 - DVA TO FIX INCORRECT  OFFSET APPLIED TO DVA INCAPACITY PAYMENTS TO VETERANS AFFECTED BY FAMILY COURT SPLITTING ORDERS.  Some Christmas Good News !

Who does it Effect?  A wounded or ill Veteran who is medically discharged can receive payments from two sources:

  1. An Invalidity Benefit paid from MSBS, DFRDB or ADF Super by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC)
  2. Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Incapacity Payment for those conditions attributed to ADF service.

When both payments are received, the Incapacity Payments are reduced by an amount calculated by DVA, based on advice of CSC. The reduction is known as the “offset”.If the Veteran ends up in the Family Court, the Invalidity Benefit is subject to Family Court asset splitting.  The former spouse is usually awarded a proportion of the Invalidity Benefit

Incorrect Calculations.  In early 2017, DVA found an error in their method of calculating the reduction in Incapacity Payments involving Veterans with Family Court splitting orders on their superannuation Invalidity Benefit Payments.  

  • The DVA Incapacity Payment had been reduced by the military superannuation Invalidity Benefit amount the Veteran received plus the amount awarded to the former spouse.
  • DVA discovered that, legally, the Incapacity Payment should have only been offset by the Invalidity Benefit amount the Veteran actually received.

Unfortunately, the Instruction DVA issued to correct the situation, only allowed backdating of the correction to 15 Dec 2016 and not to the date the mistake was originally made. If an affected veteran wanted the correct backdating, it required him or her to appeal the decision. The instruction also did provide for proactive notification of veterans.

Representation. Earlier this year, following advice from Veteran Clawback (VCB), members of the Australian Veterans Alliance (AVA), DFWA made representation to DVA to fix this up, seeking:

  • DVA to automatically apply the correct backdating without need to appeal.
  • DVA adopting a proactive stance to seek, identify and notify affected veterans

At the same time, representations and/or complaints were made to the Defence Ombudsman by DFWA and veterans associated with Veteran Clawback. Individual appeals to DVA were supported with the advice from VCB and Facebook Groups.

Result of Collaborative EffortDVA advise they will be issuing a new instruction as soon as possible addressing all the issues raised, including refunds of incorrect payments and will liaise with the Australian Tax Office and Family Court as necessary to ensure there will be no detriment to affected Veterans.

DFWA welcomes this advice from DVA and will continue to monitor the situation when DVA issues a new instruction and implements corrective action.  In the meantime, any veteran or Advocate who has put in an appeal to DVA on this should not withdraw it until official advice is received from DVA.

Any veteran contemplating an appeal is advised to hold fire until the new year as any effort in this area is likely to be nugatory.  Affected Veterans are advised to monitor this site for updates.  DFWA will post new information as soon as it is received.

14 December 2017 - ADF CHARGES: WE LOOKED AND HERE IS WHAT WE FOUND !  On 9 December 2017, the DFWA announced that it will be closely watching the Annual Defence Review of housing contributions and allowances. The DFWA has reviewed the now released Defence Determinations 2017/41 and 2017/42, released on 14 December 2017, which details the changes that will be reflected in ADF members’ pay on 8th Feb 2018.  Read the full story, including the Defence response, at our Conditions of Service page.

13 December 2017 - WHY ISNT THE CSC BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE ROYAL COMMISSION ??  The Defence Force Welfare Association calls on the Government to clarify the Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission into Banking and Superannuation. By defining a financial service entity to be the subject of inquiry as one 'other than a Commonwealth entity or company’, they appear to exclude the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) from the inquiry. DFWA cannot agree that CSC should be excluded. It would be the only superannuation entity in Australia not examined with the others. The voices of the many thousands of current and former members of the ADF whose superannuation is administered by the CSC should be heard, along with those members of industry and other funds. The CSC administers military superannuation funds. It often appears as non-compliant with the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act, and is seen by the veterans’ community to be regularly misreporting to both the Australian Taxation Office and to the Family Court the nature of Invalidity Benefits paid to ADF members who have been discharged for medical reasons.  Read our Media Release here. .

 

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