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Friday, 20 July 2018

Supporting Younger Veterans Grants


Grants are available to assist organisations help younger veterans to transition into civilian life.

Applications are now open for DVA’s Supporting Younger Veterans Grants program.

For further information about the grants and to apply, visit  www.communitygrants.gov.au/grants/supporting-younger-veterans


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

VVCS Group Programs Update


VVCS group programs calendar has been updated across both metro and regional Australia.

Group programs provide veterans and their families the opportunity to better understand and address mental health conditions such as depression, relationship issues, anxiety and sleeping disorders.

To find out more and register your interest, call 1800 011 046 (during business hours) or visit bit.ly/2gPiVwL


Thursday, 12 July 2018

ATDP nomination and application process


The process for applying to undertaking ATDP training or RPL is a multi-part process requiring input from a number of parties.
In order for the process to progress each party needs to ensure that they take the action necessary for the application to proceed to the next step. Much of this relies on automated emails be sent by the ATDP system.
The main issues which can cause a hiccup in this process are:

  • Incorrect email addresses being entered into the system.
    Check and double check that the email address that you are entering is correct.
    ``
  • Automated emails going to Junk Mail folder
    Emails sent by the automated system can sometimes end up in your Junk Mail folder. Check this folder regularly to ensure that you have not missed any of these emails

Monday, 9 July 2018

Will ATDP Training affect my Incapacity Payments?


The  ATDP has been provided with the following advice from the DVA policy area in relation to concerns raised in regard to the possible impact on DVA clients undertaking ATDP Training on their Incapability Payments:

The policy under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act (DRCA) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) in relation to volunteer work has not changed.  DVA recognises that engaging in voluntary work can have significant medical and social rehabilitation advantages for a person. A training course in order to undertake volunteer work, such as those offered by the  Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP), is considered volunteer work. If a person does not have capacity for employment, and is not participating in a return to work rehabilitation plan, volunteer work WILL NOT affect their eligibility for payment nor impact the rate of payment.

Undertaking voluntary work (including the ATDP) alone does not indicate a person could return to employment. A person’s payments may change only if their capacity for employment has changed (as indicated by the person’s treating doctor) and subsequently a rehabilitation plan assists the person to return to paid employment.

Therefore participating in volunteer work alone, including a volunteer training course, will not affect a person’s incapacity or SRDP payments.


Friday, 6 July 2018

Statements of Principles Updates


At the meeting of 6 June 2018 the RMA:

Determined Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:
Condition
SOPs
53/2018
54/2018
55/2018
56/2018
57/2018
58/2018
59/2018
60/2018
61/2018
62/2018

These SOPs revoke the SOPs previously determined for these conditions.

Determined New Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:
Condition
SOPs
63/2018
64/2018
65/2018
66/2018

Determined Amendment Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:
Condition
SOPs
67/2018
68/2018
69/2018
70/2018
The above SOPs take effect from 23 July 2018.

Summary of Changes

Completed Investigations
The above determinations conclude the previously advertised investigations into:
New Investigations
Decided to advertise the following investigations:
  • migraine (focussed review - head trauma)
  • acute stress disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • adjustment disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • alcohol use disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • anxiety disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • cardiomyopathy (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • cerebrovascular accident (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • chronic multisymptom illness (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • depressive disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • eating disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • female sexual dysfunction (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • gingivitis (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • inflammatory bowel disease (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • ischaemic heart disease (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • multiple sclerosis (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • personality disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (focussed review - expanding current review Gazetted 9 January 2018 - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • psoriasis (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • schizophrenia (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • substance use disorder (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
  • suicide and attempted suicide (focussed review - concerning terms 'eye witness' and 'corpse' and 'casualty' in the plural in the definition of "category 1B stressor")
The above investigation notices appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 3 July 2018.


Friday, 22 June 2018

AVCAT - Applications for 2019 Scholarships Opening Soon


The Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT) is a national independent charity helping the children and grandchildren of ex-service men and women to a better future through tertiary education.
AVCAT provides up to 90 scholarships a year through the generous support of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, ex-service organisations, corporate sponsors and private donors, they provide scholarships which assist recipients to obtain the tertiary qualification they need for their chosen career.

Applications for the 2019 Long Tan Bursary and sponsored scholarships managed by AVCAT open on August 18.

To be eligible students must be:

  • A child, step-child, foster child or grandchild of an ex-serving Australian Veteran
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Enrolled, or planning to enrol in 2019, in a full-time course at an Australian University, TAFE College or Registered Training Organisation
  • Receiving, or eligible to receive, Centrelink Youth Allowance or an equivalent means-tested educational payment.


Expressions of interest can be registered here to receive an application form in July.


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Volunteer Recognition


The 2018 Southern Cross Television Tasmanian Volunteering Awards were held on Monday 21 May at Government House.  The prize giving ceremony and celebration was hosted by Volunteering Tasmania Patron, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania.

The winner of the CatholicCare Tasmania Volunteer Program of the Year Award was the
RSL Launceston sub branch Australian Defence Force Welfare Team.

The ADF Welfare team was created to support Australian Defence force members and their families who may be experiencing crisis in their lives. Supported by a team of 7 Volunteers, last year the Welfare team provided advocacy and support to 55 members to access information or services across a range of issues such as housing support, Financial assistance, mental health or relationship matters. Originating in Launceston, the welfare team is completely self-funded and has extended its support to ADF members and their families state wide.

From Left: Mr Tim Gourlay, CatholicCare Chief Executive Officer; Ms Nadia Titley, representing the RSL Launceston sub branch Australian Defence Force Welfare Team; with Her Excellency, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, Governor of Tasmania.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

VVCS Webinar: Transitioning from the Military - A Stepped Approach

Transitioning from the military can be a challenge.

This VVCS community webinar discusses - the latest research on what helps people transition, as well as practical tips to help individuals and the people supporting them to get through the process successfully.

If you missed it, it’s now available for viewing!

Check it out at bit.ly/VVCS_TransitioningWebinarYT


Friday, 1 June 2018

DVA Media Release- Veterans' Advocacy Study Discussion Paper Release

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
31 May 2018

Veterans’ Advocacy Study Discussion Paper Released

PUBLIC submissions are being sought to inform a major study which has commenced to improve advocacy services for veterans and their families.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the independent study being led by Robert Cornall AO will aim to provide nationally consistent service where the support for veterans is at least equal to those provided in comparable sectors.
“Currently, the majority of advocacy services to veterans are delivered by ex-service organisations and their volunteers,” Mr Chester said.
“This study will help inform how we can provide a sustainable service in the future and set the quality standards for advocacy services to veterans and their families in accessing their entitlements."
The study is also seeking the views of relevant policy and other stakeholders in Australia, including the Veterans’ Review Board, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and representatives from the legal, community, health and disability sectors.
The study will also consider comparable overseas advocacy services for veterans.
A series of public consultations will be undertaken with dates and locations to be announced soon. 
Veterans, ex-service and Defence communities, younger veterans, female veterans and their families are all encouraged to make submissions. 
To read the discussion paper, please visit www.dva.gov.au/advocacystudy


Thursday, 24 May 2018

DVA Media Release- Expanding essential services for veterans and families

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
24 May 2018
VA037

Expanding essential services for veterans and their families

VETERANS and their families will have greater access to essential services with Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester introducing the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-Centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018 (VCR Bill) today.
“The measures introduced today will continue to ensure veterans and their families get the services and support they need,” Mr Chester said.
“As a government we are determined to put veterans and their families first.
“Mental health continues to be a big issue in communities throughout the country and we provide free mental health care to anyone who has served for one day in the Australian Defence Force. We will be establishing a new Veteran Suicide Prevention Pilot to deliver intensive and assertive management services to veterans following an attempted suicide or to those at significant risk of suicide. 

“This pilot is about linking non-government and government support services to support vulnerable veterans’ and their families and will be offered at nine public and private hospitals in Brisbane.
“We want to encourage and support those studying with a view to getting them back into the workforce. This is why we will remove the reduction in the amount of incapacity payment which normally occurs after 45 weeks for those undertaking approved full-time study as part of their rehabilitation plan. This will mean veterans can focus on their study without having to worry about changes to their financial situation.”
The Bill will also enable the grandchildren of Vietnam veterans to be eligible to receive financial support to further their education through the Long Tan Bursary Scheme.
“We will continue to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served our country in Vietnam by extending this support to their grandchildren,” Mr Chester said.
“Families who have suffered the tragic loss of a partner and who are wholly dependent partners of veterans will have two years to decide how to receive the compensation in periodic payments or as a lump sum, which is an increase from the current six months.
“The loss of a loved one is life changing and an incredible challenging time for any family, this change will remove the pressure to make an immediate decision so that they can make the best choice for their needs.
“This legislation re-affirms the Turnbull Government’s commitment to put veterans and their families at the centre of everything that we do.”
Other measures in the Bill will include allowing claims for compensation under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) to be made orally as well as in writing. This Bill will allow for some of the measures announced in the 2018-19 Budget to be implemented.

DVA’s 1800 freecall number now accessible nationally



DVA’s general enquiries freecall telephone number, 1800 555 254, is now accessible to all callers nationwide.

For several years, the freecall number has been available to callers residing in regional Australia, allowing country callers to contact DVA without incurring call charges when dialling from a landline telephone.

As part of a project to improve access options for its clients, DVA has now also made the freecall number accessible to callers in metropolitan areas.

When calling DVA on 1800 555 254 from any landline telephone in Australia, your call will be free of charge.
If using a mobile telephone, the cost of the call will be determined by your mobile phone carrier and the terms of your mobile phone plan.

If you are residing or travelling overseas, you can now also access the DVA general enquiries line from most countries by dialling the international direct dialling prefix and +61 1800 555 254.
Call charges vary by country and you may need to query call costs with your overseas telephone service provider.

The telephone number that has traditionally been advertised for DVA general enquiries, 133 254, has not yet been withdrawn. Clients who dial 133 254 will still successfully reach DVA and will be able to speak with a client service officer.

Nationwide access to freecall 1800 telephone numbers is now also available for:

DVA’s health provider enquiry line (1800 550 457)
Transport booking line (1800 550 455)
Pharmaceutical advisory centre (1800 552 580)

DVA will soon be making further changes to its telephone numbers that will enable veterans and their families to access the services that they require more easily and quickly.

For the most up-to-date list of telephone numbers for DVA, visit the Contact page on the DVA website.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

DVA Media Release- Veterans Health Week funding applications open

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
23 May 2018

Funding applications open for Veterans’ Health Week 2018

NUTRITION will be the theme for this year’s Veterans’ Health week with funding for applications to support events highlighting the week now open for ex-service organisations (ESOs) and community groups.
Mr Chester said Veterans’ Health Week in September was a fantastic opportunity for ESOs and community groups to positively engage with veterans in their communities and promote the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.
“Nutrition plays a big part in being healthy and we know that it leads to improved wellbeing and is a part of achieving better lifestyle outcomes,” Mr Chester said.
“Funding is available to support the development and delivery of Veterans’ Health Week events and can include great initiatives like information sessions with dieticians and nutritionists, supermarket and grocery tours or learning more about food labels.”
Mr Chester said organisations that provide ongoing support, engagement and information to the veteran and ex-service community are vital to the success of Veterans’ Health Week.
“Any ESO or community group with a link to the broader veteran community is eligible to apply and encouraged to partner with other organisations that promote healthy, active and engaged lifestyles,” Mr Chester said.
“Think outside the square and get creative, activities like cooking and sharing a meal are also a great way to learn new skills, meet people, share recipes and try fresh and healthy food options.”
This year, Veterans’ Health Week runs from Saturday 22 September to Sunday 30 September 2018. Applications for funding close on 29 June 2018.
The Veterans’ Health Week funding application form, resource guide and other documentation to assist event organisers are now available on the DVA website: dva.gov.au/veterans-health-week


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Trojan's Trek - Open for Applications









Trojan’s Trek is a program which was first run in the North Flinders Ranges of SA in the late 1990s to assist troubled Vietnam veterans return to a normal life.

The objectives of the trek are to develop in the participants through joint and individual challenge:
•    an understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviour
•    exposure to various strategies which will bring about positive change
•    suggested individual responses which are effective in achieving the aim, and
•    enhance self esteem

Trojan’s trek is a circuit breaker program in nature. Participants figuratively undertake a journey, which facilitates new ways of viewing themselves, their colleagues and partners in a remote location while investigating ways to facilitate change. Some of the past trekkers have denoted this as a ‘stocktake of life, feelings and behaviour.’

During the trek, individuals will be acquainted with a number of options needed to adjust thinking, make better choices, adapt behaviors and practice new skills which will be applied in his or her domestic situation. Participants are compelled to step outside their comfort zone and take stock of their lives both individually and collectively. The program is live-in, is highly individually focused and delivered by staff that have the necessary accreditation.

Applications are open now for the August Men's and Women's Treks in QLD, and the September Men's Trek in the Flinders Ranges.

Open to serving and ex serving ADF members, Police, Fire, Ambulance and other First Responders.

For more information and contact details, please go to the website
www.trojanstrek.com

Monday, 21 May 2018

DVA Media Release- Submissions to Compensation & Rehabilitation Inquiry

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
21 May 2018

Submissions sought to inquiry into compensation and rehabilitation for veterans

SUBMISSIONS for the Productivity Commission inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans are being encouraged by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester.
Mr Chester said this is an important opportunity for veterans, the ex-service community and the broader Australian public to contribute to this independent inquiry and have their say on how services and programmes are delivered in the future.
“The inquiry is looking at not only the current system of compensation and rehabilitation for veterans but also how to ensure the system is fit for purpose in the future,” Mr Chester said.
“This is an integral part of the Government’s commitment to putting veterans and their families first by ensuring that the system that supports our veterans is the best it can be.
“I know this is an issue which many veterans, families and people within the broader ex-service community are passionate about, so I encourage them to read the issues paper and make a submission.”
The Productivity Commission has asked for initial written submissions to be lodged by 2 July 2018 with further opportunities for the public to provide feedback on the draft report following its anticipated release in December 2018. The Commission is due to report back to Government in mid-2019.
The Productivity Commission is the Government's independent research and advisory body on a range of issues affecting the welfare of Australians.
To review the terms of reference, read the issues paper or lodge a submission, visit the Productivity Commission website.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Veteran Payment - Information for Advocates



From 01 May 2018, the new Veteran Payment will provide interim financial support to eligible veterans who have lodged a claim for a mental health condition under MRCA or DRCA.

This initiative is a step forward in assisting transition and some of the issues faced by contemporary veterans and their families.

Information on the Veteran Payment can be downloaded/printed here.


The following factsheets also explain the services that might be available if eligible for the Family Support Package under MRCA.

MRC52 - Family Support Package for Veterans and their Families
MRC53 - Family Support Package for Widow(er)s


Friday, 11 May 2018

Statement of Principles Update


At the meeting of 11 April 2018 the RMA:

Determined Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

ConditionSOPs
tension-type headache37/201838/2018
herpes simplex39/201840/2018
electrical injury41/201842/2018
Cushing syndrome43/201844/2018
These SOPs revoke the SOPs previously determined for these conditions.

Determined New Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

ConditionSOPs
central serous chorioretinopathy45/201846/2018
temporomandibular disorder47/201848/2018
mesenteric panniculitis49/201850/2018

Determined Amendment Statement of Principles (SOP) for:

ConditionSOPs
malignant neoplasm of the pancreas51/2018 
The Authority also issued Instrument No. 52 of 2018 (PDF)  Veterans' Entitlements (Repeal of Expired Amendment Statements of Principles) Determination 2018, which repealed a number of redundant Amendment SOPs which had not been automatically repealed in past years as the Authority intended.
The above SOPs take effect from 28 May 2018.

Summary of Changes

  • Summary of Changes PDF 

Decided to Undertake Consultation regarding:

ConditionReasons for DecisionDate for final decision
bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumoniaIntention to remove one or more factors8 August 2018

Finalised Declaration for:

ConditionDeclarationReasons for Decision
malignant neoplasm of the pancreasPDF PDF 
The Authority declares that it does not propose to amend Statement of Principles No. 74 of 2013, by inclusion of a factor relating to exposure to DDT. The Authority proposes to amend Statement of Principles No. 73 of 2013, concerning malignant neoplasm of the pancreas, by rewording factor 6(e) concerning exposure to DDT

Completed Investigations

The above determinations and declarations conclude the previously advertised investigations into:
The above declaration and investigation notices appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 8 May 2018.