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New funding for Hawkesbury Veterans

May 24, 2023

Veterans in the Hawkesbury will benefit from a tripling of the Veterans’ Access Payment (VAP) that was announced in the recent Federal Budget. The Federal government is also working to clear a backlog of 45,00 veterans claims.

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said the new funding is a game changer for Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury veterans.

 

The VAP is an incentive payment GPs receive, in addition to the rebate that the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for the service when treating veterans who hold a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold or White Card.

The 2023-24 Budget made a $33.3 million commitment over the next four years to triple the VAP for certain face-to-face and telehealth consultations.

Together with Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh, Templeman visited General Practitioners (GPs) at the Winmalee Medical Centre May 18.

“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring our veteran community is provided with the best possible services and supports. Our $33.3 million investment to triple the Veterans’ Access Payment from 1 November of this year will make it easier for veterans to see a GP,” Keogh said.

“The tripling of this payment will make sure veterans aren’t out of pocket while supporting GPs to treat veterans and balance their budgets,” he said.

Keogh also said that the government has begin work to reduce the 42,000 outstanding veterans claims it found when coming to office a year ago.

“That crept up and continued to go up to over 45,000 by September. We’ve now got that down to 36,000 as we’ve been bringing on the additional staff into the Department. Obviously there’s a lag. You’ve got to hire those people and you’ve got to train them,” he told 2GB radio.

“But we’re now starting to see the dividends to pay off for that effort and we’re continuing to hire, we’re continuing to train people so that we can get that down as fast as we possibly can, but we’re now seeing that it’s heading in the right direction. That’s really important,” he said.

Keogh explained that there are two parts to claims. The first part is known as initial liability, which is what makes sure that a veteran gets access to all the health care support that they need . The second part is getting a compensation pay out.

“So you have to do the first part before you can do the second part, Keogh said. “The first part, I’m hoping to get that resolved by the end of this year. The second part will take a bit longer. This all comes from the complicated nature of the legislation that supports the three different schemes for veterans’ entitlements.

“And we’re going through a process at the moment where we’ve got a proposal we’ve been consulting on to move to just having one single scheme going forward to make it simpler for veterans, their advocates, and the Department so we can process claims even faster as we move forward,” he said.

By Michael Sainsbury

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