Monday, 31 December 2012

Changes to portability rules from 1 January 2013

In the 2012-13 Federal Budget, the Government announced changes to the portability rules that apply to some DVA and Centrelink benefits.
What are portability rules? The portability rules govern how a person’s benefits are affected if they are temporarily absent from Australia. Different rules apply to different benefits.

What has changed? DVA benefits that are currently subject to a 13 week portability period prior to 1 January 2013 will be subject to a shorter portability period of six weeks from 1 January 2013.

What DVA benefits will be affected by the changes? Recipients of the following benefits who are absent from Australia for more than six weeks will have their benefits temporarily sus-pended until they return. These payments include:
• Pension supplement. This is payable with the service pension and may be paid with the income support supplement, depending on the war widow/er’s income and assets. (Note that pension supple-ment may still be paid at the basic rate).
• Seniors supplement.
• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
• Clean Energy Advance and Clean Energy Supplement.

What benefits will not be affected by the change? Benefits that are subject to a different portability period; for exam-ple, rent assistance and veterans supplement are both subject to a portability period of 26 weeks. Benefits that are not affected by a person’s absence from Australia; for example, maximum basic rate of service pension, disability pen-sion (including above General Rate and the war widow/er’s pension).

What if a person is overseas when these changes commence on 1 January 2013? If a person is temporarily outside Australia on 1 January 2013 they will continue to be subject to the 13 week portability period until their return. All subsequent overseas travel will be subject to the six week portability period. Planning to travel overseas?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Overseas travel - Gold card limitations

Planning to travel overseas?
The Gold Card limitations you need to know about!

Your DVA Gold Card provides financial coverage for clinically appropriate treatment within Australia. For card holders travelling overseas, the Department can only provide assistance for treatment related to your accepted disabilities. Gold Card holders with no war caused injuries and war widows are not covered by DVA for any treatment while travelling overseas.
It is your responsibility, as the card holder, to take out appropriate insurance while travelling abroad. This could save you thousands of dollars should you become unwell during your venture.

DVA has seen an increasing number of instances in recent months where card holders have become unwell abroad, have received treatment without travel insurance, and have been disappointed when DVA has been unable to reimburse their costs upon returning home. Gold and White Card Holders should contact the Department prior to any overseas travel, just to be sure they know what medical treatments and services DVA will reimburse.
Contact DVA on 133 254 or from regional Australia free call 1800 555 254.

Friday, 21 December 2012

DVA arrangements for the Xmas/New Year period

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and Veterans’ Affairs Network (VAN) offices will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period from Tuesday 25 December 2012 to Tuesday 1 January 2013 inclusive.
The Department will re-open for normal business on Wednesday 2 January 2013.
As in previous years, DVA services over the Christmas-New Year period will be provided through the Department’s after-hours arrangements, similar to those in place for the Easter break, public holidays and weekends.
Under these arrangements, many key DVA services will continue to be available, including:

  • crisis counselling – VVCS–Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service offers 24-hour crisis counselling through Veterans’ Line. This service is available toll free on 1800 011 046 to veterans of all conflicts and their families, including members of peace operations;
  • transport – if transport is not booked prior to the Christmas period, please pay up front and seek reimbursement from DVA laterAlternatively transport can be booked and reviewed, and travel expenses can be claimed through MyAccount, DVA’s online services module
  • hospital admissions – doctors can admit DVA patients into hospital and request admissions approval, where required, when DVA re-opens; and
  • Defence Service Homes Insurance – help with policy and claim enquiries is available 24-hours a day on 1300 552 662, and payments can be made on 1300 304 989, for the cost of a local call.
Individuals who require Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) supplies are advised to ensure they have enough supplies to last them through the Christmas and New Year period. RAP suppliers will be closed on weekends as well as 28-30 December and 1 January during the period. In case of emergency, people should contact their Local Medical Officer or health care professional.
Please note that the closure of DVA offices will not affect pension payments, pension pay day will be on Thursday 27 December.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

DVA Benefits Guide

The Benefits Guide allows existing and prospective clients to view possible compensation amounts and other entitlements.

The guide comprises a series of quick questions to provide existing and prospective clients with a summary of potential DVA benefits.

You can access the Benefits Guide from the DVA website  here

Monday, 17 December 2012

MyAccount adds more services

Veterans and their families right across Australia are registering to use DVA’s new online service, MyAccount.
Since its initial release in May, MyAccount has attracted more than 7000 clients. The services initially made available through this online tool included booking transport and lodging travel claim reimbursements. Since then, extra services have been added.
For example, you can now request pension statements and concession letters through MyAccount, and you can nominate a delivery method such as direct download, send by mail or personal collection from your local Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) office.
MyAccount makes it easier to manage your day-to-day affairs, giving you the convenience of access to your paperwork at any time of the day or night. This is especially useful for providing proof of income and for providing the necessary paperwork for conces-sion eligibility and the like.
MyAccount does not replace any of the usual ways of contacting DVA – you can still phone, fax, email or mail DVA, or visit any VAN office in person.

To learn more, visit www.myaccount.dva.gov.au or contact DVA on 133 254 or from regional Australia free call 1800 555 254.