DFRDB Commutation -Ombudsman investigation

On 25 March 2019 the Minister for Veterans Affairs announced an Independent Inquiry into the Administration of the DFRDB scheme to be undertaken by the Ombudsman.

On 25 May 2019 the Ombudsman announced its “own motion’ or internal investigation limited to the accuracy of information provided to DFRDB scheme members by scheme administrators, particularly in relation to commutation. The Ombudsman must be guided by what is in the legislation only. The Ombudsman has since then called for submissions from scheme members in relation to commutation – remember this is the limit of its investigation. 

 The scope of the investigation is limited to the accuracy of information provided by scheme administrators and relevant departments to DFRDB scheme members in relation to commutation.
The Ombudsman is accepting submissions from members of the DFRDB scheme about the information they were provided about commutation. You or your organisation are invited to provide a submission. The form for you to do so, is available electronically here on our website at ombudsman.gov.au/dfrdb

Specific details about the investigation, including information about making a submission, can be found at ombudsman.gov.au/dfrdb.

If you want to speak with a member of the DFRDB Investigation Team please contact the team by email [email protected] and a member of the team will contact you. Please let the team know if you would like to meet with us in as part of this investigation, and we will be in contact to find a suitable time.

Note that the closing date for submissions is 30 June 2019. 

ADSO encourages scheme members to respond to the Ombudsman’s Questionnaire. Do not be dissuaded by the limited space on the form but make a separate submission if necessary. Be constructive and considered in your responses.

ADSO Comment. Somewhat perplexing is that, contrary to the Minister’s statement that the ESO community will be consulted about the inquiry’s Terms of Reference, no such consultation has eventuated. Also perplexing is that, while the Ombudsman doesn’t say so in his letters, the Ombudsman’s website states under the Overview that:

“We are undertaking an own motion investigation into the administration of the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme, specifically the issue of commutation.”

Perhaps the ‘own motion investigation’ needs clarification because it certainly does not fit the original plan to conduct the DFRDB inquiry under the guidance of Terms of Reference. 

In the meantime, ADSO through DFWA has written to the Ombudsman seeking clarification of the extent of its investigation and are developing draft Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the Independent Inquiry that will be put to the Minister at the earliest opportunity.

Comments

  1. Desley King says

    So scared this will be swept under the mat and nothing will become of it. As the carer of my husband this is not only taking a toll on him but myself as well and all we want is to be heard and repaid what we are owed. If we had known that our pension wouldn’t be adjusted after the 10 year payment was finalised then we would never have taken it out. So very worried, so very tired.

  2. Sean OConnor says

    I was never provided with information regards commutation when leaving the Military in 2006.

  3. Peter Nicholas Kane says

    I retired in 1994 after 20+ years service. At the time it was recommended that I commute the maximum part of my DFRDB contributions and that after 10 years my full pension would be reinstated. The logic as I best recall was that it was agreed that the DFRDB management since inception, was never invested but simply put into Central Revenue which was allegedly under active investigation at the time. As we all know this never occurred and no readjustment or revue was ever carried out, only talked about during Federal Election times. If I was a Public Servant and had a union this most likely would have been actioned appropriately. Remember DFRDB was a compulsory contribution by members whereas other schemes were legislated as employer contributions. Hopefully someone will eventually listen to the plight of our pension theft.

  4. Alfred Arthy says

    Q1. are you a member of DFRDB……………………………………………….yes
    Q2. have you commuted a portion of your DFRDB pension………….yes
    Q3. when you were a serving member did you receive advice or information about DFRDB…………………………………………………………yes
    Q4. what information did you receive about your option to commute a portion of you pension……………………………I was informed I could commute 4 years of pension into a lump sum payment and my annual pension would be reduced by equal fortnightly repayments until I attained the age of 73 which occurs next month, July 2019.
    Q5. how did you receive this information…………………….a group briefing held for all intending/pending discharge.
    Q6. when did you receive that information……………………around March 1988.
    Q7..who gave this this information…………………………I believe it was from a member from the DFRDB.
    Q8 what did you understand to be the effect of commutation. on what basis did you reach this understanding……………………..I understood that I could take 4 years worth of pension as a lump sum , and that would be REPAID over the following years until I turned 73 and then the repayments would stop. I reached this understanding by asking the presenter ” what happens after I turn 73, the reply was IT STOPS ”
    Q9 do you believe that reliance on this information caused you detriment………………………………………………….not as yet, I turn 73 next month.
    Q10 did you seek financial advice about commuting that portion of your pension from someone outside of the ADF or DFRDB………..no
    Q11 how much time passed between you receiving the information and commuting part of your pension……………………………..about 6m0nths.
    Q12.is there any other information you wish to provide relevant to our investigation…………………………………………………………………………no

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