Clarke Review

The Government made a commitment to further consider the recommendations of the Clarke Review that were not acted upon by the previous Government.  The Clarke Review examined perceived anomalies in access to veterans’ entitlements and the level of benefits and support for recipients of Veterans’ Affairs disability pensions.

The Government announced a response to the revisitation of the Clarke Review on 14 May 2010. Of the 45 recommendations that were revisited 3 have been accepted and already acted upon, 4 have been accepted, 4 deferred for further consideration, 22 referred to the review of Military Compensation Arrangements and 12 recommendations have been rejected. The 4 measures accepted form part of the 2010/2011 Budget for the Veterans’ Affairs Portfolio.

These measures include providing access under Part IV of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) for ex-defence force British Nuclear Test participants, which will provide access to disability, war widow/er pension and health care treatment under the more generous ‘reasonable hypothesis’ standard of proof and additional allowances and benefits. More information can be found here.

Certain submarine special operations between 1978 and 1992 have been reclassified as both qualifying and operational service under the VEA. This will provide a range of benefits to eligible submariners, including disability and war widow/er pension under the more generous ‘reasonable hypothesis’ standard of proof for operational service and access to Service Pension and automatic Gold Card at age 70 for qualifying service.

The domicile age of choice has been lowered from 21 to 18 which will affect a handful of British Commonwealth and Allied Force veterans of the Second World War who would otherwise have met the domicile tests to be considered Australian veterans but were between the ages of 18 and 21 at enlistment.

Widow/ers of veterans who enter into a de facto relationship with another person prior to claiming the war widow/er’s pension will be treated equally to those who marry or remarry, that is, they will not be able to claim the pension. No current pensions will be removed by this measure.

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