Chapter 11 - Your rights
Your right to receive quality service
The DVA Service Charter outlines our commitment to providing quality service to the veteran community. We hope that you will let us know when we get it wrong. Our aim is to continually improve our service and we welcome feedback that may assist us in the process.
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Your right to have our decisions reviewed
You may ask to have a decision reviewed by a Review Officer if you are dissatisfied with a decision:
- cancelling or suspending your service pension or income support supplement;
- reducing or increasing the rate of your service pension or income support supplement;
- refusing your request for an increase in the rate of your service pension or income support supplement;
- relating to a claim you have made that you are suffering financial hardship;
- relating to an advance payment of service pension or income support supplement;
- relating to your claim for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card; or
- relating to your claim for a Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange Card).
Your request for a review:
- must be made within 3 months of notification of the decision;
- must be in writing (there is no special form); and
- must set out your reasons for seeking the review.
If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by a Review Officer you will be notified if you have a further right of appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Your appeal to the AAT must be in writing and lodged with the AAT within 3 months of the date you receive the Review Officer's decision
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Social security age pensioners (paid by DVA)
If you have applied for or are receiving a social security age pension (paid by DVA) and you are dissatisfied with a decision about a claim or your rate of pension you can contact your nearest DVA office and talk about the decision. If you are still dissatisfied, a Review Officer will look at your case and change the decision if it is incorrect. If you still disagree you can appeal to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) with a further right of review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
For more information on the review process contact your nearest DVA office.
Your right to have other decisions reviewed by the Veterans' Review Board (VRB)
The VRB does not have the authority to review income support payments such as service pension, income support supplement and age pension.
You may ask the VRB to review a decision made under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 that you are dissatisfied with concerning:
- Disability pension eligibility and assessment;
- War widow(er)’s pensions; and
- Attendant allowance.
You can also ask the VRB to review a decision made under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 concerning:
- Rehabilitation, compensation and other benefits.
Your request for a review by the VRB:
- should be made within 3 months of notification of the decision; and
- must be in writing.
Your right to apply for an increase in pension
If you are receiving a reduced rate of service pension, social security age pension (paid by DVA) or income support supplement, and your income or assets change, you should let us know.
In most cases, if you ring us, you will not have to confirm the details in writing. Pension increases are only effective from the day you tell us or the day of the change, whichever is the later. If you prefer to write to us, remember to quote your file number and the date the change occurred. There is no special form to complete.
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Your right to obtain information about yourself
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives you the right to obtain information about yourself.
You need to apply in writing and fees and charges may apply.
Your right to privacy
As an Australian Government department we are bound by the Privacy Act 1988. This Act obliges us to protect you from unwanted or unnecessary intrusion into your private life and to follow certain standards in requesting and managing the information we receive.
For more information about freedom of information and privacy, contact the Freedom of Information section in your nearest DVA office.
This fact sheet 'Confidentiality' outlines the obligations staff have for the handling of personal information relevant to the payment of social security age pension (paid by DVA) to Australian veterans.
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Your right to expect that your tax dollar is being used properly
We have safeguards in place to ensure that pensions are paid properly in accordance with legislation. These safeguards include:
If you receive the maximum rate of pension and have income and assets unlikely to affect the pension rate, you may be asked to provide information less frequently than if those income or assets were likely to affect your pension.
We compare information we have collected from you with information collected by other government departments. The procedure is overseen by the Privacy Commissioner. (While we do compare information with other agencies you are still required to notify DVA of any changes that may affect your pension.)
If you are paid more pension than you are entitled to receive, those monies will be recovered. For example if you tell us about a change that results in a reduction or cancellation more than 14 days after the change happened, the reduction or cancellation will usually result in an overpayment of pension. We will recalculate your pension and let you know about repayment arrangements. (There are circumstances where you have more than 14 days to tell us of a change. For more information see Chapter 2 - Your obligations).
Even if you tell us about a change within the 14 days we may not be able to adjust your pension in time for your next payday. We would still recover any money that you have received over and above what you were entitled to.
Any money you have received that you were not entitled to would be recovered by making deductions from your fortnightly pension until the full amount is recovered. Other methods of recovery include repaying the money in a lump sum. This is subject to your capacity to repay.
We look for unusual things or inconsistencies in our information.
If investigation reveals that money has been improperly obtained, or breaches of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 or the social security law have occurred involving the defrauding or attempted defrauding of the Australian Government, we can give the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.
Telling us about fraud
If you are aware that another person has obtained a pension fraudulently or failed to declare information which would affect their pension, you can give the information to DVA . You can phone us, write to us or visit us in person or on our web site. You can provide the information anonymously.
DVA is required to investigate all reports made. To help us investigate these matters successfully, include details that assist in identifying the nature of the fraud and the person being reported. We do not trace the origin of an anonymous report of an allegation of fraud. However, if you are willing to be contacted by a DVA investigator, our policy is to keep your identity confidential. Because of privacy considerations, DVA cannot give you any information about the progress or outcome of the investigation.
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