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2018–19 Budget delivers for veterans and their families

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On 8 May 2018, the Turnbull Government announced $100 million in additional funding for veterans and their families in the 2018–19 Budget (on top of the ongoing funding of $11.2 billion).

The announcement came a week after the new Veteran Payment and additional services and support for families came online, on 1 May, and a few weeks before two other major DVA initiatives came into effect.

The Veteran Payment provides interim income for ex-service men and women who face mental health challenges. The payment helps fill the gap if their condition means they cannot work while waiting for their claim to be processed (see Interim payment now available for details).

From mid-2018, all eligible personnel will receive a DVA White Card when they leave the Australian Defence Force (ADF), making it easier to access free mental health treatment. White Cards and Gold Cards are now available digitally, too (see White Cards for all eligible personnel exiting ADF for more information).

Veterans suffering from one of 20 common injuries or conditions may be eligible to participate in the Provisional Access to Medical Treatment trial (see Treatment for twenty conditions available while claim considered). DVA will pay for treatment for these conditions while their claim is being processed during the trial period.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the additional $100 million in the Budget would help fund the continuing reform process underway at DVA.

‘The Government is working hard to make sure veterans and their families can access the services they rely on more easily and faster,’ Mr Chester said.

‘DVA’s transformation is about not only upgrading outdated computer systems but also looking at improving our service delivery to ensure the best possible outcome for veterans and their families.’

Included in the new funding is $4 million for the ongoing implementation of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program and $4.3 million to provide veterans with additional services to assist them to secure appropriate employment.

The Government is also investing $10.8 million to remove the reduction in the amount of incapacity payments when eligible veterans are undertaking approved full-time study as part of their rehabilitation plan.

The Budget also makes DVA’s free mental health treatment program available to Reservists with domestic or international disaster relief or border protection service and those who have been involved in a serious service-related training accident.

It extends eligibility for the Long Tan Bursary to the grandchildren of Vietnam veterans, too.

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