Richard Usher, President, Defence Force Welfare Association (WA Branch) Inc
Those reports are inaccurate.
The facts are that the War Widows pension is not means tested and is not affected by changes to the assets test which came into effect on 1 January 2017. It is therefore not possible for a widow to lose their War Widows pension because of the recent changes. (Please also note that the changes to asset testing is a Government initiative, not DVA).
However DFWA understands that some War Widows may have been affected by the changes, specifically those widows in receipt of a supplementary pension, which may have been affected as a result of the changes to the assets test.
– By way of explanation, some widows were offered and elected to receive a lump sum compensation payment instead of an ongoing War Widows pension (this being dependent upon which Parliamentary Act was involved at the time of application). Such widows then do not receive a War Widows pension, although are still classified as War Widow (and have a DVA Gold Card). This is because the War Widows pension is classified as compensation and one cannot be compensated twice (because of having received a lump sum). However – and this is where the confusion lies – they may still qualify for a supplementary pension. Some widows mistakenly view that supplementary pension as being their “War Widows pension” – it is not, and unlike the full War Widows pension, is subject to asset testing. Thus, the recent changes to asset testing mean that some widows may had had their supplementary pension affected (but retain their Gold Card).
All widows should be reassured that any widow who is affected by the recent changes to asset testing will have received a letter from DVA some time ago explaining their personal circumstances.
Should you have any questions on this matter or your pension and entitlement payments, please contact the DVA and/or Centrelink, depending on your personal circumstances, noting that our advice is just that – advice, albeit given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge and understanding