Opinion – SUPER WAR HEATING UP

There are many issues that have the wider defence community considering how they might vote in the coming federal election.
High on the list is military superannuation, particularly those who were compulsorily subscribed to what ultimately became the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme (DFRDB).

Disgruntled veterans are not stupid, so by comparing multiple responses know their grievances are not being reasonably considered, despite carefully crafted submissions based on new compelling evidence.
They may not riot, but have pencils and will vote.

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Veterans accuse Federal Government of ‘ripping off’ thousands from retirement benefits

A Federal Coalition backbencher is lobbying the Government to investigate how much money he believes it owes some older Australian military veterans.

Veterans, including some who served in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam, signed up for compulsory superannuation called the Defence Force Retirement Benefits (DFRDB) scheme between 1948 and 1972.

Upon retirement, those who served more than 20 years could take a commutation, or advance payment, of part of their pension and repay the money with fortnightly deductions based on their life expectancy or actuarial age.

The veterans believed that once they reached age 72, for example, they would have repaid all money owed and their pension payments would immediately return to the full amount.

However they have continued to receive the reduced pension, which has been a bone of contention for them ever since.

A ‘disgusting and abhorrent’ situation

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Federal Member for the Queensland electorate of Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, recently wrote a strongly worded letter to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs to address the issue.

Mr O’Brien described the situation as “disgusting and abhorrent”. He said he believes the Australian Government will “continue to profit significantly from the underpayments and must make restitution”.

Mr O’Brien did not hide his distaste for the response from the Minister and decided to go public.

“I’ve asked the Minister to do costings on how we can remedy this, what the cost to Government would be to right what is a fundamental wrong, and what the evidence that I’ve seen tells me is an un-Australian type of an act,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said the Minister had so far dismissed all his approaches.

Mr Chester’s office has not responded to interview requests from the ABC about this story.

‘The Government owes me’: veteran

Lieutenant Colonel Smith elected to “commute” $10,000 of his superannuation so he could buy a house.

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He understood his pension would be reduced as he paid back the money but believed once he reached 72 and the “advance” was repaid his fortnightly income would return to the full amount without any deductions.

More than a decade later and the now ages almost 86 he continues to receive the reduced pension because it did not return to the higher amount.

“For 14 years I have been living without that money, so the Government owes me in round figures around $5,000,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.

“We paid back a loan and we should have reverted to the original amount and there’s no argument about it.

“I expect the original superannuation payments to revert to their full amount and further that when I die, if I die before my wife, that my widow will get her percentage of my superannuation to which she’s entitled until she dies.”

Read the full ABC article here

DFRDB e-Petition to the Government – Commutation Anomaly

This petition goes directly to the Parliament.  All servicemen,servicewomen, their spouses widows/widowers, who contributed to the DFRDB scheme are affected by this anomaly, Even our partners will be paying this impost until they die if we predecease them.

 This  is an opportunity for you and your partner to have your say and help correct this anomaly. And if it doesn’t affect you then please help those who are affected by signing the petition

PLEASE SIGN & VERIFY THE PETITION NOW  

THE PETITION
Defence Veterans of Australia, as Commutation recipients of the DFRDB Scheme administered by Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, petition the House of Representatives to  instate the National Life Expectancy data  point of each affected veteran as the point where full reinstatement of their Commutation obligation is fulfilled: and, to reimburse to each DFRDB veteran, all over-subscribed payments forfeited by direct debit by them, once their original lump sum was repaid in full.

The DFRDB Authority failed to disclose to veterans the whole-of-life impost of a Lump Sum Commutation   on superannuation payments reduced by a factor, based on redundant Notional Life Expectancy  data and an individual’s Service data. Limited disclosure of the whole-of-life deductions was made by DFRDB,  37 years after the Scheme was launched, but never to members so affected.
Direct debit by DFRDB has been incremented and escalated over time, to a level where the original lump sum has been reimbursed multiple times. This effectively means that veterans are subsidising their own benefits.
There was no definition of the term ‘commutation’ within the legislation or in any document provided by DFRDB to superannuants, until its disclosure advised above. The direct debits were shown in the legislation and the DFRDB’s Administrative Manual to be a finite amount, not an escalating continuum .
On advice from DFRDB Administration all superannuants understood Commutation as an advance of Benefits to be reimbursed to DFRDB by fortnightly debits over a finite period and at a finite rate. How deluded Veterans were through DFRDB’s failure to disclose their interpretation of the Legislation, before the fact, thereby committing Veterans to an ever increasing, spiraling, life-term DEBT-SENTENCE.