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)

18 January 2018 - ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY.  On Thursday 30 November 2017 the Government announced that it would establish a Royal Commission into alleged misconduct by the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in Australia. The Government stated that the Inquiry ‘would consider the conduct of banks, insurers, financial services providers and superannuation funds'. When the Terms of Reference for the Commission were dually issued there was singularly only one major financial services entity in the Australia seemingly excluded from any scrutiny, namely the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC). 

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) calls on the Government by way of a Joint Media Statement to amend the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference to include an examination of the military superannuation funds administered by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.  (Note also that on 13 December 17 DFWA also issued a Media Release, available here.)

CSC administers military and other superannuation funds for over 700,000 people, including 230,000 serving and former servicemen and women. Given the magnitude of the CSC influence on the wellbeing of former servicemen and women the RSL and ADSO members consider this represents a compelling reason to include CSC within the Terms of Reference. The voices of 230,000 serving and former servicemen and women should be heard, not be silenced. Members who have experienced issues with CSC should be encouraged to provide feedback comments via email to either info@veteranclawback.com.au or ComSuper-Military Entitlements at pb250571@gmail.com.

 

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.

 

 

 

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