Veterans Support Centre Belconnen ACT (02) 6255 1599
Latest News

21/1/2022

Informaiton from: Vicki Rundle PSM Acting Secretary

Dear Members

There has been concerns reported last week by veterans and their families via social media relating to payment changes with the recent cessation of the Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA). 

I am writing to provide further information that will assist you in answering any questions you may receive from concerned veterans.

Information in relation to the changes was provided via an email from the DVA Secretary in early December 2021 regarding the passage of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Exempting Disability Payments from Income Testing and Other Measures) Act 2021.

From 1 January 2022, the Disability Compensation Payment (formerly known as Disability Pension) became exempt from the income test under the Social Security Act 1991.  Centrelink payments such as the Age Pension will increase as a result, removing the need for DFISA.  In addition, Rent Assistance became available or increased for some veterans.

Those who had previously received DFISA found that on the first payday of 2022, 13 January, part of the DFISA payment was reduced.  On payday 27 January, there will be no DFISA paid.  However, social security payments from Centrelink will increase accordingly.  

The part payment on 13 January is because the effective date of 1 January falls in the middle of a pay period.  As Centrelink paydays differ for each person, they do not align with DVA veteran paydays.  Veterans can check pay day amounts in their Centrelink online account and their DVA MyService account. 

Veterans and their partners do not need to do anything, as the payments will be made automatically.  

Unfortunately, some of the letters advising of the changes to veterans were delayed, meaning some veterans did not receive a personal explanation as to why their DFISA payment had been reduced prior to 13 January.

We are sorry for any distress this has caused veterans and their families.

Further information can be found on the DFISA page of the DVA website under “What’s New”.

Warm regards

12/1/2022

Ministerial Release – Commemoration of 50th Anniversary of end of Vietnam War

Information from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Andrew Gee, regarding planning for a range of significant events around the country to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War in 2023.

25/11/2021

For the attention of, 

Returned Veterans & Peacekeepers & those covered by the ADF Firefighter Scheme

Did you know the DVA provides a free 12-month health and fitness program that can be delivered to returned Veterans and peacekeepers with operational service and those covered by the ADF firefighter scheme anywhere in the country.  The program is flexible and able to accommodate participants living in metropolitan areas, regional or remote areas, those still working or retired, studying or with other time constraints. Run on behalf of the DVA by Corporate Health Management the program aims to help you increase your physical health and wellbeing through practical exercise support and 12 months of health coaching and advice on healthy lifestyle choices provided by one of our team of highly qualified allied health professionals.

Am I eligible?

Started 20 years ago for those returned from Vietnam, the Heart Health Program is free and now open to all returned veterans and peacekeepers with operational service and those covered by the ADF Firefighter Scheme who have not previously done the Heart Health Program before. To check your eligibility visit http://www.veteranshearthealth.com.au/eligibility/

Individual Heart Health Program – How it works

Each participant receives 12 months of healthy lifestyle coaching from a highly qualified and dedicated allied health professional via fortnightly health coaching calls with information and advice tailored to each individuals health and fitness goals.  The health coach will use their extensive knowledge along with health surveys and food diaries to guide you through the program. The program covers a range of topics including:

·         setting healthy goals

·         nutrition and diet advice 

·         advice on lowering alcohol consumption 

·         developing better sleep patterns 

·         stress management 

·         managing diabetes

·         taking care of your body 

·         managing your weight

·         and maintaining a healthy heart

Program Exercise Resource – Exercise how you like to

The program can provide an exercise resource to help participants to exercise the way they like to or provide an opportunity to try something that’s different than the usual. Resources can take the form of: 

  • Assistance with the cost of a gym or pool membership or
  • Provide a piece of exercise equipment for use at home or
  • Provide assistance with accessing new exercise or training gear 

Registering Your Interest 

Registering your interest or checking eligibility is easy. Simply visit http://www.veteranshearthealth.com.au/eligibility/ and follow the steps. Or please call the program phone number 1300 246 262 at any time to speak to one of our team. 

Kind regards

Heart Health Team – DVA Heart Health Program

Program proudly delivered on behalf of the DVA by:

CHM Corporate Health Management Pty Ltd

Toorak Place, 521 – 529 Toorak Road, Toorak VIC 3142

Direct: 1300 246 262

Email: hearthealth@chm.com.au

Web: http://www.veteranshearthealth.com.au

24/11/2021

The ladies craft group met last Friday and under Joy’s guidance proceeded to make these Christmas figures.

They enjoyed their time together in conversation, sewing and afternoon tea.

22/11/2021

Information from ComSuper for Veterans regarding change to the treatment of military invalidity benefits as a result of Federal Court decisions.

An important update for veterans who receive an invalidity pension

CSC WEBSITE UPDATED MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER  Tax-Changes-to-Invalidity-Pensions

CSC has made the decision to immediately start work on implementing a number of changes that will adjust or maintain fortnightly invalidity pension payments, with the aim of having these changes implemented by the next pension payment run on 18 November. At the start of September we alerted veteran customers that the planned changes to invalidity pensions were being delayed. At that time CSC was instructed to halt implementing the changes following a number of Federal Government politicians expressing their concern that some veterans would be receiving less ‘in-the-hand’ each fortnight.

To date CSC hasn’t received any formal direction or guidance in regard to a resolution. However, we are very aware of the stress and anxiety that this issue has caused many veterans and we know that our veteran customers want some certainty about their fortnightly income, especially leading into the holiday period. 

What happens now and when will it happen?

A video and further information can be found on the CSC website here.

Please contact the CSC dedicated team with any questions regarding this matter – invaliditytaxation@csc.gov.au or by calling 1300 006 727.

———-

16/11/2021

Food Van Events for 2021/2022

Hi Members and Families,

This is the list of upcoming food van Events.

Wednesday 8th December 2021 – Defence Systems, Russell.

Sunday 12th December 2021 – Family Fun Day, VSC.

Sunday 23rd January 2022 – Canberra Hot Rod Show, Queanbeyan Park.

Saturday 12th February 2022 – Defence Welcome, Weston Park.

Sunday 6th March 2022 – National Rolls Royce Spectacular at Brad Haddin Oval, Queanbeyan. 

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – Tuff Day Out, EPIC. 

Saturday 8th May 2022 – Rugby Union, Gungahlin enclosed oval. 

These events my be changed or cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Regards

VSC

15/11/2021

Information from Defence and Veteran Legal Service

I write to let you know about the new independent legal service to support participants in the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

The Defence and Veterans Legal Service (DAVLS) is a free national service that will provide independent information and legal advice to support Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans, as well as their families, carers and supporters, to safely share their experiences with the Royal Commission.

We are independent and separate from the Royal Commission, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. We are taxpayer funded through the Federal Attorney-General’s department and accountable to:

  • Provide legal advice and information to members of the public and to assist Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans, and their families, carers and supporters to access and engage with the Royal Commission.  
  • Provide a trauma-informed, culturally safe and accessible service nationally, including referral to counselling and other supports.
  • Provide community outreach and liaison, and community information and education sessions.
  • Operate for the duration of the Royal Commission.

This service will operate from Monday 1st November and will take inquiries on 1800 33 1800 (Freecall).  

We will have a web site from Monday at https://defenceveteranslegalservice.org.au/ and I would encourage you to log on for more information, access to resources and referrals. You can also subscribe to our mailing list to stay informed of upcoming events and latest news.

Please see attached service brochure.

We are excited to get our offer of free assistance out to the veteran community and to work with your organisation in making our service and the Royal Commission responsive to the needs of veterans and their families and friends. To this end, could you share this email among your networks please?

We are very keen to hear from our stakeholders in the veteran community on all topics of interest or concern regarding the Royal Commission. For this, could you reply to this email, with the name of the best person for me to contact in your organisation and their contact details please?

I look forward to working with you to make the Royal Commission a success for ADF members, veterans and their families.

Best Regards,

Nicholas Warren

Community Engagement Officer (Mon – Wed)
Defence and Veterans Legal Service

12/11/2021

Dear Veterans and families,

The Department has recently been advised of the establishment of the Defence & Veterans Legal Service.

This nationwide service will provide free and independent information and legal support to assist Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans, as well as their families, carers and supporters, to safely share their experiences with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. The service commences from 1 November 2021. For your convenience, please see attached further information about the service, including contact details.

Further detail about these services can also be found at: Defence Legal Services

Regards

Liz

Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

12/11/2021

Subject: Fundraising through Grill’d Belconnen

Hello Veterans, members and families,

When you eat at Grill’d you receive a bottle cap for each order plus extras for other items.

You put the cap in the relevant jar – OURS – and at the end of the month the most caps receives $300.

We would be grateful if members and families are able to support this fund raising activity.

Brochure information can be found by clicking this link.

Cheers 

Cheryl

12/11/2021

From the Secretary DVA

In the lead up to Remembrance Day 2021, I write to you all to extend my personal thanks to those who have served and their families, and to honour the sacrifice of those Australian service personnel who have suffered and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations for more than a century.

This year as we mark 103 years since the Armistice of 1918, I am drawn to reflect on that important moment in history, and how our Australian men and women serving overseas must have felt when they heard the news.

Our records, the personal histories and diaries from the time show that it was a moment of jubilation, tinged with the sadness of knowing that so many would not be returning to their loved ones. So many families had suffered, the number of Australians killed and wounded meant that hardly anyone remained untouched by the war and its devastating cost.

Perhaps more than anyone, those who have served and their families understand the importance of Remembrance Day in our history. It is a time when we gather to honour those of our service family who have suffered and fallen in the line of duty.

Here at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs one of the important roles that we proudly undertake is sharing the history of our service men and women, to help future generations of Australians remember and understand the sacrifices made. Our Remembrance Day resources mail-out provided a range of information to ex-service organisations, community groups and schools acknowledge Remembrance Day. It is our hope that this information helps younger Australians to understand the tradition of remembrance and to embrace this tradition within their own lives and families.

If you would like to share the department’s resources with your members and their families, they are all available online through our Anzac Portal

Finally, I know that Remembrance Day can be a difficult time for many in our ex-service community. Please remember that our services are available to all veterans and their families – Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 011 046 is open 24/7 and there to support you and your members. Please reach out if you need support, and share this with your members.

On this Remembrance Day, and every day, we honour the service of all Australian service men and women. Lest We Forget.

Regards

Liz

Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

14/10/2021

Information for Veterans regarding the Gold Card

Good afternoon.

I have been informed that members have been contacted and advised that their Gold Card has been downgraded to a White Card due to a reassessment of assets.

DVA has further advised that a lot of letters have gone out as a result of a computer glitch and apologised to the members affected. 

If you receive any such letter then please ignore it. The Gold Card is not asset tested!

If this event causes you any problems please contact me.

Keep well

Ward

Ward Gainey JP

President

VSC

14/10/2021

Information for Veterans and Members

The Secretary Ms Liz Cossen email the follow information to ESO’s

Dear ESORT members, 

I am thrilled to advise that DVA has launched its newest communication channel to provide updated information, support and recognition to the Defence and veteran community.

DVA TV will publish a wide variety of video content to a YouTube Channel dedicated to veterans and their families, about DVA’s services and the support that is available to them.

Content on DVA TV will range from guides to accessing support, such as how to use MyService, to capturing and sharing commemorative services, showcasing individual stories of service and posting important announcements from the department. 

DVA TV will provide overviews and insights into the services available to the veteran community, including support for families, mental health programs, financial assistance and claims support, transition stories and messages of hope such as the positive impact programs such as the Psychiatric Assistance Dogs Program is having on veterans’ lives.

We are keen to ensure that DVA TV provides informative videos on what you want to know more about in the ex-service community and I welcome your suggestions for future content.  Please either contact the ESORT Secretariat with your ideas or feel free to email suggestions to the Communications Branch at communications@dva.gov.au.

We hope DVA TV will have a positive impact and help to empower veterans and their families to be the best they can be.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to be notified of new content!

Regards, Liz

Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

27/9/2021

Information for Veterans from DVA

DVA has become aware of emails circulating within the veteran community that contain inaccurate information related to the Veterans Home Care (VHC) Program.

The VHC Program provides access to low level services to assist eligible Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) clients to remain independent in their homes. Eligible DVA clients under the Veteran’s Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) that hold a Veteran Gold Card, or Veteran White Card for an accepted service-related injury or condition, are eligible for an assessment to receive services under the VHC Program, such as domestic help, personal care, respite care, and safety-related home and garden maintenance.

The emails incorrectly state that the VHC Program ‘may be discontinued due to lack of participation’.

DVA is not considering the discontinuation of the VHC Program for any reason. The VHC Program continues to be a well utilised and popular program, helping clients remain independent in their own homes. In 2020-21, the VHC Program provided services to over 36,000 clients.

The phone number provide in the email is also incorrect. Eligible DVA clients should contact their VHC Assessment Agency on1300 550 450 to have an assessment for services. Information on the VHC Program is also available via our website:dva.gov.au/vhc.

Please share this information with your members and colleagues.

Regards,

Victoria 

Victoria Benz

Deputy Commissioner, NSW & ACT

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

14/9/2021

From the ACT Office for Seniors and Veterans 

A new Check In CBR card is being introduced for those people who don’t own a smartphone or are unable to download or use the Check In CBR app.

The card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at all businesses and venues across the ACT that currently accept the Check In CBR app.

Checking in will be faster, easier and with private as there is no need for venue staff to manually enter a customer’s details.

For more information on the Check In CBR card, visit the; 

http://ACT Government COVID-19 website