Bravery Trust has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment “to ensure no veteran will be made worse off due to a Federal Court decision”.

The court’s decision in Commissioner of Taxation v. Douglas (the Douglas decision) had meant that invalidity pensions paid under the Military Superannuation and Benefits (MSB) and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) schemes which commenced after September 20, 2007, would be taxed as superannuation lump sums rather than superannuation income stream benefits.

The Federal Government has moved quickly to amend legislation and remove the impact on adversely affected veterans, while also preserving the better tax outcome for veterans who welcomed the Douglas decision.

Bravery Trust commended Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee, who said the Australian Government was “putting veterans first”. 

“Almost 6800 veterans would have had more tax withheld from their pension payments as a result of this court decision, meaning less money in their pockets every fortnight. In some cases this was up to $100 per fortnight, and that was unacceptable to me,” Minister Gee said.

“These veterans on invalidity pensions have given Australia their best. Having their pensions cut and then slugging them with back taxes would have been unconscionable.”

Bravery Trust Chief Executive Officer Belinda Wilson said financial matters were a key indicator for veteran wellbeing and congratulated the Minister for acting so swiftly.

“Minister Gee has recognised the importance of financial matters to veteran wellbeing and we are grateful that he has moved quickly to make sure no affected veteran will see a reduced fortnightly payment as a result of the Douglas decision” Ms Wilson said.

 Bravery Trust is a national military charity which assists serving and ex-serving Members of the Defence Force who face financial hardship, often as a result of injury sustained during service.

Ms Wilson said a Veteran Specific Financial Counselling Service trial had provided invaluable support to many veterans who had initially reported suicidal tendencies.

“Bravery Trust is able to provide immediate and practical assistance and we know the work we do saves lives,” Ms Wilson said.

“Our 18 month trial of Veteran Specific Financial Counselling reported significant benefits helping move veterans from welfare to independence; and importantly improving mental health and wellbeing.”

Bravery Trust is seeking government support to extend the trial and provide early intervention financial counselling advice to avoid crisis situations.  Ms Wilson said tackling financial literacy was a new but effective way approach to improving veteran outcomes.

Bravery Trust is a registered business name of the Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust, a nationally registered charity.