As Australians commemorate ANZAC Day, the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Federation of Australia has called on the Government to recognise and address a glaring inequity in compensation payments to defence force veterans who are left unable to work or provide for their families as a result of their service.
TPI veterans – including WWII veterans now in their 90s, as well as disabled veterans from a range of other conflicts – are only receiving 63 per cent of the gross minimum wage as compensation for not being able to work, due to their service-related incapacities.
The TPI payment is made up of two compensation components – pain and suffering, and economic loss.
While the pain and suffering component has remained stable, the economic loss compensation component has eroded to such an extent that it only rates at approximately 63 per cent of the gross minimum wage.
TPI Federation president Pat McCabe met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this year to discuss economic loss compensation, but could not get a commitment from the prime minister to restore payments to at least match the gross minimum wage.
The government did announce on Wednesday that it will exempt veterans who are totally and permanently incapacitated from a new limit of 12 sessions with allied health providers such as physiotherapists.
Ms McCabe, however, said that the TPIs have proudly served their country, paid a massive price for that service and deserved to be on the same footing as those on the barest minimum standard of living.
“TPI veterans have been left permanently disabled as a result of their service for Australia, yet by no fault of their own, they find themselves receiving well below the minimum wage for their economic loss compensation while trying to live a normal life for themselves and their families,” Ms McCabe said.
“The TPI Federation not only welcomes a recognition of the service that veterans have rendered, but concrete actions that support the restoration of the ‘economic loss’ compensation for our most disabled veterans – thereby providing a basic community recognised benchmark for a TPI’s ‘economic loss’ that is commensurate to that of the gross minimum wage.”
Ms McCabe said this erosion and shortfall was very difficult for veterans who had served their country, and suffered as a result, along with the burden equally shared by their supportive families.
“TPI veterans and their families should not have to bear the financial burden of years of Government mismanagement and failures,” Ms McCabe said.
“The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the Department of Finance are required to maintain the value of the veteran’s compensation. They failed!
“The nation’s 28,000 TPIs urgently require a restoration in compensation to restore a veterans’ minimum standard of living. That is only fair and is the right thing to do.”
Do you think veterans with service-related disabilities should at least be earning the gross minimum wage? Is treatment of our war veterans unfair?