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Monday, 14 October 1985
Page: 1203

(Question No. 484)

Senator Watson asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 22 August 1985:

Will it be impossible for a veteran over 65 years to be granted a totally and permanently incapacity pension, under the terms of section 24 of the draft Veterans' Entitlements Bill 1985; if so, does this policy discriminate against the more aged and seriously disabled veteran.

Senator Gietzelt —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

It is possible for a veteran over 65 years of age to be granted a pension at the totally and permanently incapacitated (T&I) rate under clause 24 of the Veterans' Entitlements Bill (VEB). However, it is unlikely that many veterans over 65 years of age would meet the criteria for payment of T&I pension. The T&I criteria relate to a veteran who is prevented from continuing to undertake remunerative work by reason of war-caused disabilities and thereby suffers a loss of earnings. Most Australians over the age of 65 years are not undertaking remunerative activity. Pensions already granted at the T&I rate are not affected. The only express reference made in the T&I provisions to the age of 65 years is in respect of a veteran who is unemployed. Where an unemployed veteran who is under 65 years of age satisfies a repatriation determining authority that he or she is genuinely seeking to engage in remunerative work and that the veteran's service related disabilities are the substantial cause of the inability to obtain work, the veteran may be eligible for a pension at the special rate. The T&I criteria under the VEB have not been framed with the intention of discrimination against aged and disabled veterans. Rather, the purpose is to clarify the basis on which it was originally intended that a T&I pension would be payable.