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Program 1.3: Assistance to Defence Widow/ers and Dependants


Program 1.3 delivers war widow/ers and defence pensions, allowances and special purpose assistance to the dependants of veterans under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and related legislation.


In 2012-13:

  • 2402 war widow/ers pension claims were finalised, with an acceptance rate of 56 per cent
  • the mean time taken to process widow/ers pension claims was 50 days, within the target of 75 days.

The forecast reduction in the number of war widow/ers continued this year with a drop of 17.1 per cent from 104 760 at 30 June 2009 to 86 865 at 30 June 2013. Over the same five-year period there has been a 37.2 per cent reduction in claims for war widow/ers pension received from 3720 in 2008-09 to 2335 in 2012-13.


Numbers of war and defence widow/ers are expected to show an increasing rate of decline over the forward years. Expenses are expected to reduce as the war and defence widow/er population reduces in size.

  2012–13 PBS1 ($ million) Estimated actual2 2012–13 ($ million) Outcome 2012–13 ($ million)
Administered 1838.9 1842.8 1838.9
Departmental 11.6 11.6 12.4
Total resources 1850.5 1854.4 1851.3

1. PBS in performance reporting tables means Portfolio Budget Statements.

2. Estimated actual means the estimated expense or total for 2012–13 provided in the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements. As the Budget is released in May each year but the financial year does not close off until 30 June, the current year numbers in the Budget can only be estimates.


The Department processes claims and pays pensions, allowances and provides other support to war and defence widow/ers under the VEA and related legislation.

  2012–13 PBS Estimated actual 2012–13 Outcome 2012–13
Quantity: Number of war and defence widow/er pensioners 87 500 87 100 86 865

Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators
  2012–13 PBS Estimated actual 2012–13 Outcome 2012–13
Timeliness: Mean number of days to process a primary claim 75 (target) 75 50
Timeliness: Mean number of days to prepare s.31 review 40 (target) 40 13
Price: Cost per war widow/er pensioner $122 $122 $128
Quality: Critical errors <5%(target) <5% 2.1%

Report on performance

There were 2335 claims for war widow/ers pension received in 2012-13 compared with 2777 claims in 2011-12, a decrease of 16 per cent.

The number of war widow/er pension claims finalised in 2012-13 totalled 2402 compared with 2772 in 2011-12. Of the finalised claims this year, 56 per cent were accepted compared with 54 per cent in 2011.-12. There was a reduction in the number of cases on hand, down by 19 per cent from 354 at 30.June.2012 to 287 at 30 June 2013.

Figure 11 shows the declining trend in claims over the past five years.

War widow/ers pension claims 2008-09 to 2012-13 claims: intake, disposal and outstanding.

Figure 11: War widow/ers pension claims 2008-09 to 2012-13

Time taken to process

The mean time to process war widow/er pension claims in 2012-13 was 50 days compared with 43 days in 2011-12. These processing times were within the target of 75 days.

The mean time to process section 31 reviews was 13 days compared with 15 days in 2011-12, within the target of 40 days. See Program 1.2 for further information on section 31 reviews.


The administration cost (program staff and administration expenses) per war widow/er in 2012-13 was $128 compared with $130 in 2011-12. The number of war widow/ers declined, resulting in the cost per client increasing slightly.


The performance standard applied to assess the quality of decision-making is a critical error rate of less than five per cent. Sampling conducted on war widow/er pension claims during the year returned a 2.1 per cent critical error rate.

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