.

.
.
**
**

Monday, 7 December 2009

Changes to DVA Cards

All Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Repatriation Health Cards (DVA Cards) are due to expire during 2010.
From March 2010 DVA will begin reissuing all cards. As part of this reissue there will be some improvements made to DVA cards. All eligible veterans, war widows/widowers and dependants will be issued with a new card.

Changes to DVA Cards will not reduce or change current eligibility to hold a DVA Card.

The changes being made to the cards are to increase:
-veteran access to services;
-provider satisfaction; and
-security of the cards.

Veteran Access to Services
The magnetic stripe on the cards will contain the following information:
-full name;
-file number;
-card type; and
-expiry date.

This change is expected to improve provider satisfaction, as this will enable providers to swipe DVA cards in the same way Medicare or Private Health Fund Cards are currently utilised. By improving the claiming experience for the providers it increases the likely hood of providers accepting DVA cards.

All eligible clients living overseas will, for the first time, be issued with a DVA card. This will remove the need for veterans to contact DVA to receive a “letter of authority” when receiving medical treatment within Australia.

Entitlement to treatment overseas is limited to veterans that have an accepted disability/disabilities and DVA funds treatment of those accepted disabilities only. This process for receiving treatment while overseas will not change.

Security Upgrade
All DVA cards will have microprinting and a DVA registered hologram added as security features. The microprinting and hologram are added security features to ensure non entitled persons cannot reproduce a card.

Expected Arrival Date
The reissue of all cards is due to commence in March 2010, this process is expected to take 6 weeks to complete.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


The Right Mix website has a new look, new tools and updated information to help the veteran community manage and better understand their use of alcohol.

The revised website includes an interactive drink measure designed to show how much a standard drink is for a range of beverages. There is also an alcohol consumption calculator and a survey to assess drinking levels.

The Right Mix fact sheets provide a summary of many alcohol-related topics, such as alcohol and the body, mental health, medications, sleep and many more issues. The website also has links to supporting resources for veterans and health professionals.



Thursday, 19 November 2009

Statements of Principles Updates

At the meeting of 14 October 2009, the RMA

determined Statements of Principles (SoPs) for:
- panic disorder (68 & 69 of 2009)
- malignant neoplasm of the ovary (70 & 71 of 2009)
- scrub typhus (72 & 73 of 2009)
These SoPs revoke the SoPs previously determined for these conditions.

determined SoPs for the following new conditions:
- adrenal insufficiency (74 & 75 of 2009)
- hypopituitarism (76 & 77 of 2009)
All of the above SoPs will take effect from 11 November 2009.

N.B. – This concludes the previously advertised investigations into:

» panic disorder
» malignant neoplasm of the ovary
» scrub typhus
» Addison’s disease (now known as adrenal insufficiency)
» hypopituitarism

decided to advertise the following investigations:
- acute articular cartilage tear
- fibrosing interstitial lung disease
- Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism (focussed review)
- ischaemic heart disease (focussed review)
- vascular dementia (focussed review)
- pulmonary thromboembolism

The Investigation Notices for these investigations appeared in the Government Notices Gazette of 4 November, 2009.

Friday, 11 September 2009

OPERATION LIFE

Suicide Prevention Workshops

What is Operation Life?
Operation Life is the name given to the strategy aimed at preventing suicide and promoting mental health and resilience across the veteran community. Its major components include a choice of suicide prevention programs and services for the veteran community.

Operation Life workshops
Operation Life workshops are offered through VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service centres across Australia. The workshops' emphasis is on suicide prevention - they aim to help members of the veteran community to recognise someone who might be having thoughts of suicide and to link them in with appropriate help. These workshops are not treatment programs.

There are three workshops:

safeTALK: suicide alertness for everyone - a half day presentation
ASIST: applied suicide intervention skills training - two-day skills training
ASIST Tune Up - a half day refresher workshop.

To obtain more information about Operation Life workshops including upcoming program dates and locations please visit the VVCS Operation Life web page.

Where to get Help
If you require immediate crisis assistance
In an emergency call 000
For immediate counselling assistance contact:
Veterans Line: 1800 011 046
Lifeline: 13 11 14

Friday, 4 September 2009

Pension Reform

The Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable pension reforms are the most significant and widespread in more than 20 years. They will affect all members of the veteran and ex-service community currently receiving income support payments from the government.
- There will be an increase to the income support pension rate.
- A new Pension Supplement will replace four allowances with an increase for singles and couples.
- New indexation arrangements for the base pension will better reflect changes in pensioners’ living costs.
- A Work Bonus will be introduced for pensioners who are of pension age and choose to continue working.
- Changes to the income test will affect how income support is calculated.

During September, DVA will write to you explaining how these changes will affect you. Please read your letter so you understand the impact on your pension.

Additional information is available on the DVA website    click here

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Statements of Principles Updates

At the meeting of 4 August 2009, the RMA

determined Statements of Principles (SoPs) for:
- trigeminal neuralgia (54 & 55 of 2009)
- migraine (56 & 57 of 2009)
- influenza (58 & 59 of 2009)
- malaria (60 & 61 of 2009)

These SoPs revoke the SoPs previously determined for these conditions.


determined SoPs for the following new conditions:
- bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia (62 & 63 of 2009)
- systemic sclerosis (64 & 65 of 2009)
- localised sclerosis (66 & 67 of 2009)

All of the above SoPs will take effect from 2 September 2009.

N.B. – This concludes the previously advertised investigations into:
» bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia
» trigeminal neuralgia
» migraine
» influenza
» malaria
» scleroderma (now known as systemic sclerosis and localised sclerosis)


decided to advertise the following investigations:
- iliotibial band syndrome
- Dupuytren's contracture

The Investigation Notices for these investigations appeared in the Government Notices Gazette of 26 August, 2009.


decided to publish declarations concerning focussed investigations into "anxiety spectrum disorders" with respect to the following conditions:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- polymyalgia rheumatica
- inflammatory bowel disease
- diabetes mellitus
- cerebrovascular accident

N.B. – The publication of these declarations finalises the focussed investigations previously advertised and confirms no change to the existing SoPs.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Volunteers required for Memory Loss research

A new study at UniSA’s Nutritional Physiology Research Centre will test the benefits of fish oil on memory and mood in older people.

UniSA researcher Dr Natalie Sinn is looking for volunteers aged 65 or over who are experiencing some memory loss, but do not have dementia, to participate in the study.

Dr Sinn is looking for adults aged over 65 who have been noticing signs of memory loss but who do not have dementia. They can’t currently be taking any fish oil supplements or eat fish more than once a week. For further information phone Dr Sinn on 8302 1757 or Catherine Milte on 8302 1452.

For additional information click here

This study has been endorsed by Dr Simon Spedding, Medical Adviser DVA.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Tribunal Advocacy Course

05-11 September 2009

Potential applicants must complete the application form which includes an endorsement from their authorising ex-service organisation.

Applications will be prioritised by the TIP Chair should there be multiple applications from any State.

TIP Chairs will recommend nominations.

Applications close on Friday 31 July 2009.

Successful applicants will be advised by Friday 7 August 2009.

Application form availaible here

Monday, 6 July 2009

Pension Increases

In line with the July Statutory Increase, certain pensions and allowances will change with effect from 1 July 2009. These changes will be implemented for the payday of 16 July 2009.

The following types of payments and rates will be affected:

-income and assets limits before pension reduces
-income and assets cut-off limits
-gold card income and assets cut-off limits
-deeming thresholds
-MRCA and Defence Act compensation rates


DVA Factsheets containing rates have been updated

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Statements of Principles Updates

At its meeting of 2 June 2009, the RMA -

Determined Statements of Principles for:
- toxic maculopathy (39 & 40 of 2009)


Determined Amendment Statements of Principles for:
- systemic lupus erythematosus (41 & 42 of 2009)
- ischaemic heart disease (43 & 44 of 2009)
- deep vein thrombosis (45 & 46 of 2009)
- eating disorder (47 & 48 of 2009)
- personality disorder (49 & 50 of 2009)
- acquired cataract (51 & 52 of 2009)
- motor neurone disease (53 of 2009)

N.B. – This concludes the previously advertised investigations into:
- toxic maculopathy
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- ischaemic heart disease
- deep vein thrombosis
- eating disorder
- personality disorder
- acquired cataract
- motor neurone disease


Decided to advertise the following investigations:
- diabetes mellitus
- endometriosis
- hypopituitarism
- anxiety disorder – (focussed review)
- depressive disorder – (focussed review)
- Reiter’s syndrome
- symptomatic Epstein-Barr virus infection
- psoriatic arthropathy
- renal artery atherosclerotic disease
- aortic aneurysm
- non-aneurysmal aortic atherosclerotic disease
- varicose veins of the lower limb
- angle-closure glaucoma
- open-angle glaucoma
- adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder
- cluster headache syndrome
- polycythaemia vera

The Investigation Notices for these investigations will appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 24 June, 2009.

Friday, 26 June 2009

DVA Website Upgrade

The DVA website has been upgraded and is live as of today.  www.dva.gov.au

This has resulted in some links in both The Orderly Room and the Kit Bag to no longer work. I will correct these as soon as possible.
If you come across a link that is no longer working, please email me with the details.  phil.boys@dva.gov.au

Monday, 1 June 2009

VVCS Heart Health Program

Want to improve your fitness and meet new people?

The VVCS Heart Health Program can give you the support you need to make healthy living part of your everyday routine.

The 12 month course will give you skills to:

Enjoy regular exercise
Eat healthy foods
Manage your stress
Maintain a healthier and happier lifestyle

The Heart Health Group Program is facilitated by qualified and experienced health professionals. Participants undertake a structured and supervised fitness schedule, twice a week at a gym under the supervision of a qualified Physical Trainer.

The Northern suburbs and Western suburbs programs currently have vacancies for participants wanting to commence a program.
The programs are provided at no cost and are available to all veterans and peacekeepers who meet the medical screening requirements.

So join up now and don't miss out.

For further information contact Geoff Watson at the VVCS on 7422 4500

Friday, 29 May 2009

Outreach Forums in June

The Outreach program in South Australia provides information on Department of Veterans' Affairs benefits and entitlements to assist the veteran community in accessing health and other community services. The aim of the program is to promote and maintain self-sufficiency, well-being and quality of life amongst members of the veteran community.
Outreach will be conducting the following forums in June:

June 22, Waikerie RSL
10:15am- Information session: Planning Ahead
from 1:00pm- Individual booked appointments

June 23, Barmera RSL
from 11:30am- Individual booked appointments
2:00pm- Information session: Planning Ahead

June 24, Berri RSL
10:00am- Information session: Home Services
from 1:30pm- Individual booked appointments

June 25, Loxton RSL
10:00am- Information session: Planning Ahead
from 1:00pm- Individual booked appointments

June 26, Renmark RSL
10:00am- Information session: Home Services
from 11:30am- Individual booked appointments


Bookings are essential for individual appointments and information sessions.
Please phone Cathy Key or Margie Gutteridge on 1800 555 254

For further information on Outreach, click on this link

Monday, 11 May 2009

Statements of Principles Updates

At its meeting of 8 April 2009, the RMA -

Determined Statements of Principles for:
- macular degeneration (13 & 14 of 2009)
- schizophrenia (15 & 16 of 2009)
- bronchiectasis (17 & 18 of 2009)
- cerebral meningioma (19 & 20 of 2009)
- malignant neoplasm of the cerebral meningies (21 & 22 of 2009)
- frostbite (23 & 24 of 2009)
- immersion foot (25 & 26 of 2009)
- bipolar disorder (27 & 28 of 2009)
- trigeminal neuropathy (29 & 30 of 2009)
- electrical injury (31 & 32 of 2009)
- Cushing's syndrome (33 & 34 of 2009)
- fibrosing interstitial lung disease (35 & 36 of 2009)

N.B. - This concludes the previously advertised investigations into:
- macular degeneration
- schizophrenia
- bronchietasis
- cerebral meningioma
- malignant neoplasm of the cerebral meninges
- frostbite
- immersion foot
- bipolar disorder
- trgeminal neuropathy
- effects of lightning [now known as 'electrical injury']
- non fatal effects of electric shock and death from electrcution [now known as 'electrical injury']
- Cushing's syndrome
- idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis [ now known as 'fibrosing interstitial lung disease']

Determined Amendment Statements of Principles:
- epileptic seizure (37 &38/2009)

Decided to advertise the following investigations:
- motor neurone disease (focussed review)
- acquired cataract (focussed review)
- deep vein thrombosis (focussed review)
- rheumatoid arthritis (focussed review)
- polymyalgia rheumatica (focussed review)
- inflammatory bowel disease (focussed review)
- diabetes mellitus (focussed review)
- cerebrovascular accident (focussed review)
- lumbar spondylosis (focussed review)
- invertebral disc prolapse (focussed review)
- chondromalacia patellae

The Investigations Notices for these investigations appeared in the Government Notices Gazette of 6 May, 2009.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

VVCS Heart Health Program

Want to improve your fitness and meet new people?

The VVCS Heart Health Program can give you the support you need to make healthy living part of your everyday routine.

The 12 month course will give you skills to:

Enjoy regular exercise
Eat healthy foods
Manage your stress
Maintain a healthier and happier lifestyle

The Heart Health Group Program is facilitated by qualified and experienced health professionals. Participants undertake a structured and supervised fitness schedule, twice a week at a gym under the supervision of a qualified Physical Trainer.

The Lonsdale program currently has vacancies for participants wanting to commence a program.
The programs are provided at no cost and are available to all veterans and peacekeepers who meet the medical screening requirements.

So join up now and don't miss out.

For further information contact  Geoff Watson at the VVCS on 7422 4511

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Outreach Forums

The Outreach program in South Australia provides information on Department of Veterans' Affairs benefits and entitlements to assit the veteran community in accessing health and other community services. The aim of the program is to promote and maintain self-sufficiency, well-being and quality of life amongst members of the veteran community.
Outreach will be conducting the following forums in April:

April 15, Murray Bridge RSL      flyer
10am to 11:30am- Information Session: Home But Not Alone
1:30pm to 4:30pm- Individual Booked Appointments

April 21, Clare RSL     flyer
10am to 12 noon- Information Session: Home Services
2pm onwards- Individual Booked Appointments

April 28/29, Port Pirie RSL    flyer    
28th & 29th- Individual Booked Appointments
29th  10am to 12 noon- Information Session: Home Services

April 30/May 01, Port Augusta RSL     flyer    
30th 10am to 12 noon- Information Session: Home Services
30th & 1st- Individual Booked Appointments

Bookings are essential for individual appointments & information sessions.
Please phone Judy Shrimpton on 1800 555 254

For further information on Outreach, click on this link

Monday, 16 March 2009

DVA 1300 Access Line for TIP Practitioners

DVA are introducing a 1300 access number for authorised TIP trained practitioners assisting with claims for compensation and income support.

The number is   1300 363 475

The 1300 number has been established so that when dialled, the caller is prompted to enter the five digit extension of the Claims Assessor / Delegate who is investigating / determining the relevant claim. You will then be connected directly to that person.
If no extension is entered, the call is directed automatically to the National TIP Coordinator (Gail Zanetti) who be able to supply you with the extension number.

The Access Line is only to be used by authorised ESO officers and is not intended for general use by the Veteran community

Friday, 13 February 2009

Mil Comp Basic Course

As a result of a withdrawal, we now have a position available on the Mil Comp- Basic course being run next Tuesday (17 Feb).
If you are interested in attending, please contact the TIP office asap.
8290 0449 or tipsa@dva.gov.au

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

DVA Voluntary Work Policy

DVA regards voluntary work in the same way for all three Acts it administers, the VEA, the SRCA and the MRCA.

There is no legislated definition of voluntary work in any of these Acts. However, in policy terms, voluntary work is defined as unpaid work for a recognised community or welfare organisation.

DVA encourages veterans and members of the ex-service community to volunteer to assist community or welfare groups. Many thousands of veterans provide immeasurable support to ex-service organisations and other charities. Studies have also shown that volunteering has physical, psychological and social benefits.

Undertaking voluntary work of this nature does not trigger a reassessment of incapacity payments under either the SRCA or the MRCA. It is accepted that the conditions of engagement in volunteering cannot necessarily be equated to remunerative work given the person normally works at their own pace and time and is not subject to the conditions normally applied to paid employment.

Recipients of incapacity payments should be aware of how some other unpaid work may affect their benefits. Unpaid work for family, friends or a business enterprise formed for the purposes of making a profit is not classified as voluntary work.

For example, a recipient of incapacity payments and/or certain disability pensions who works several hours in a job that aims to make a profit may be found to be able to undertake paid work, and therefore ineligible for their current rate of payment. The same person volunteering as an advocate, pension or welfare officer would not be deemed capable of paid work purely on the basis of that voluntary work alone.

Under the MRCA and the SRCA, incapacity payments are regularly reviewed. The review assesses a person’s ability to earn during the period and is based on rehabilitation and specialist medical assessments. The assessments take into account physical and mental capacities, skills and training, work history, age and so on. Voluntary work is not a trigger for the review and does not of itself imply that someone is able to undertake remunerative work. In fact, voluntary work with a community or welfare group is most often beneficial to a person’s wellbeing.

References in SRCA and MRCA legislation to “capacity for rehabilitation” or “capacity for work” do not automatically translate to mean that a person who is undertaking voluntary work has a capacity to do paid work.

If a person is concerned about their voluntary work, or their plans to undertake voluntary work, they can contact DVA for advice on 133 254

Thursday, 15 January 2009

BEST Grants

Ex-service organisations are advised that applications for the 2009-10 Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grant funding will be accepted from 15 January to 28 February 2009.
BEST is part of the government’s commitment to support the ex-service organisations’ (ESO) pensions and welfare practitioners and advocates and national ESOs that provide administrative and representational support within the veteran and service community. The BEST program provides monetary support to ESO practitioners.
The 2009-10 BEST Application Form, the Guide to Completing the Application Form and the BEST guidelines are now available

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Statements of Principles Updates

At its meeting of 9 December 2008, the RMA:

Determined Statements of Principles for:
- alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse (1 & 2 of 2009)
- drug dependence and drug abuse (3 & 4 of 2009)
- accommodation disorder (5 & 6 of 2009)
- Buerger’s disease (7 & 8 of 2009)
- chilblains (9 & 10 of 2009)
- cardiac myxoma (11 & 12 of 2009)

N.B. – This concludes the previously advertised investigations into:
» alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse
» drug dependence and drug abuse
» accommodation disorder
» Buerger’s disease (now known as: thromboangiitis obliterans)
» chilblains
» cardiac myxoma

Decided to advertise the following investigations:
- toxic maculopathy
- eating disorder (focussed review)
- personality disorder (focussed review)
- Gulf War syndrome
- atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease- carotid arterial disease

The Investigation Notices for these investigations will appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 14 January, 2009.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Enhanced Medicare Teen Dental Plan

Expanded Eligibility from 1 January 2009

The Medicare Teen Dental Plan was introduced on 1 July 2008 and delivers on the Government’s election commitment to provide financial assistance to families to encourage teenagers to care for their teeth by having annual check-ups and to maintain good oral health habits once they leave home. Under the program, Medicare Australia provides eligible teenagers (aged between 12 and 17) with a voucher for an annual preventative dental check valued at over $150 per person, per calendar year, indexed annually.

Eligibility for this program was expanded from 1 January 2009 to include teenagers aged 16 to 17 who receive assistance under the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme (VCES) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme (MRCAETS) clients.

For further information click here