Sunday, September 27, 2009

War widow not so broke...

Breeanna Till, war widow mentioned in this blog recently apparently won't be so broke.

While it's very sad that she's lost her husband and has three kids and another on the way to raise without the support of her husband, it appears that she will not be left destitute:

War widows review a lump sum payment of about $122,000. They can then either choose to be paid a further one-off payment of about $507,000 or receive an indexed pension of about $335 a week. The pension is uncapped and not taxed.

Dependants receive approximately $73,000 as a lump sum, an $81-a-week payment while they are dependants, and education support. Widows and dependants also receive a gold card, which entitles the holder to departmental funding for all healthcare services. Opposition veterans affairs spokeswoman Louise Markus said the case highlighted the need for urgent reform of the compensation system for veterans and their families, and called on the government to step in and fix the system. (From The Australian, link.)
So financially I don't think they'll suffer.

Was Mrs Till complaining, or was her murmur picked up by the Telegraph to bash the government? That's the theory of one blogger.

Found at Leon Bertrand's blog, link to Cosmicjester's blog.


Skeeter said...

My lump sum benefit after 7½ years' service in the RAAF was £438. I quickly frittered that away on a wife and two kids.
Haven't done any calculations but a balanced investment of the widow's total lump sum ($629,000) would be worth considering.
TV news said that war widows get the same rate as the dole. Dunno what that is — the latest rate for a single age-pensioner is $335.95/week.
The widows' Gold Card, dependant's allowance and other benefits could be a big help. They can also get a lot of help from Legacy.
My stepmother has lived comfortably on the war widows' pension since Dad died in 1979.

Margo's Maid said...

The media coverage I saw didn't mention any of those details, kae - sounds like they may have blown it out of proportion.

Not that I begrudge anyone in that situation all those entitlements.

kae said...

Hi Skeets
I'm pretty sure that she gets the pension from defence or whatever and she can also get the same amount as the dole/single parent benefit, the service pension is seperate.. and because the service pension is not taxed it's not counted as income... not sure about that.
I think it works the same as the pension any service member gets after their qualifying service - I know a few service retirees and they receive about $200/week or something pension from the RAAF. This is not taxed and I don't think it's counted as income. But I'm not sure.
If she opts to take the 1/2 million lump sum she will not get the pension. Not sure if they can still get it if they remarry, either.

Hi Margos, I was interested to see it on Leon's blog, and followed a link to Cosmicjester. He thinks it's a beat up by the Tele.

cosmicjester said...

I was expecting to cop a bit of critcism about that post, because anything with war widows is usually pretty emotive.

It could be that although her financial support is adaquate, perhaps the defence force should be providing other forms of support. Given the small number of casualties we have (until recently) perhaps the defence force is not equipped to provide the emotional support that families need when they lose a loved one?