Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,
I seek ^under administrative access^ information (so not an FOI request) about what programs, if any, the DVA have explicitly for homeless veterans.
How does DVA deal with compensation and liability claims from veterans of no fixed abode? What measures or adjustments does the DVA make for homeless veterans in regards to its usual processes?
Before a recent senate inquiry it was said 1 in 4 homeless in Australia are veterans, which is a rather large number considering how small the number of veterans are compared to the overall population. That would suggest the DVA would have or should have specific programs for this subgroup of veterans.
Acknowledgement of Administrative Access Request – LEX 25117
I refer to your request to access information held by our Department under
Administrative Access. The Department received your request on 15 October
If you have any questions about your matter, please contact us using the
Post: Legal Services & Assurance, Department of Veterans’ Affairs
GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601
Facsimile: (02) 6289 6337
Email: [email address]
In all communications please quote reference LEX 25117.
Information Law Team
Information Law Branch | Legal, Assurance & Governance Division
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Gnabra House – 21 Genge Street Canberra City ACT 2601|GPO Box 9998
Canberra ACT 2601
E: [email address]
Good afternoon Julie,
Further to your administrative access request received by the Department
of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA on 15 October 2018, we now provide some
information in response regarding homeless veterans.
Your request stated:
“…I seek ^under administrative access^ information (so not an FOI request)
about what programs, if any, the DVA have explicitly for homeless
How does DVA deal with compensation and liability claims from veterans of
no fixed abode? What measures or adjustments does the DVA make for
homeless veterans in regards to its usual processes?
Before a recent senate inquiry it was said 1 in 4 homeless in Australia
are veterans, which is a rather large number considering how small the
number of veterans are compared to the overall population. That would
suggest the DVA would have or should have specific programs for this
subgroup of veterans…”
The Department recognises the need to improve our understanding of veteran
homelessness and the risk factors that lead to housing vulnerability and
homelessness. The Department does not have data on the incidence of
homelessness among the veteran community. Consequently, the Department has
commissioned the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)
to undertake research to develop a more accurate understanding of the
number of people who have served in the Australian Defence Force who are
accessing homeless services, the factors that cause homelessness and the
experiences of homeless veterans and their families. It is expected the
results of this research will become available in 2019.
The Department has no legislative authority or appropriation to provide
housing services to its clients, except for residential aged care. The
Department of Social Services has policy responsibility for housing and
homelessness at the federal level. Veteran homelessness is a challenge
that requires a coordinated national approach to ensure the provision of
appropriate assistance to all former members of the ADF and their
families. State and territory governments provide a range of services
directly or through homelessness services providers. Links and contact
information to homelessness services in all states and territories can be
found on the Department website. The Department website also provides fact
sheets and information for veterans and their families experiencing or at
risk of homelessness.
Homelessness is a complex policy issue and a range of factors impact on
individuals which may make them vulnerable to experiencing homelessness.
These factors include mental and physical ill health, social isolation,
relationship breakdowns and financial insecurity.
If a client is homeless or at risk of homelessness, with his or her
permission DVA can:
· ensure he or she is receiving all benefits and entitlements from
DVA that they are entitled to;
· refer the client to Centrelink who will check eligibility for
benefits such as Newstart Allowance or Disability Support Pension.
Centrelink also has Social Workers and Financial Planning Counsellors
available to provide support; and
· refer the client to the Veterans and Veterans Families
Counselling Service (VVCS) and/or to local Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs)
who might be able to help.
More information, including fact sheets can be found on the Department
. Further, a previous media release relating to the AHURI research can be
found at http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_release...
The Department has several procedures in place to manage contact and
claims made by clients where the address is unknown etc. These various
documents have been attached for your information and include:
· Claims Management Guidelines procedural manual - 2.6.6
Communicating with clients where addresses are unknown.
· Rehabilitation and Compensation Claims Registration Process -
1.6 Registering clients where addresses are unknown.
o If a client is homeless, claims are still registered and a default
address is utilised to enable the registration of the claim.
· Claims Management Guidelines procedural manual - 1A Social
worker psychosocial assessment of initial liability claims.
· Businessline - 14-02-2018 - Tools to support the identification
of and staff interactions with at risk clients.
· At risk flags
o Tools for CB Division staff for identifying clients whom are
vulnerable and “at risk” including homelessness.
· Businessline - 09-11-2016 - Social Worker Psychosocial
o All claims for liability with service post 1990 are contacted by a
Social worker whom conduct an assessment of the client’s needs and offer
assistance and referral to counselling or other assistance.
· Businessline - 05-05-2015 - DVA support for Homeless/Vulnerable
o VAN staff and Department Case Coordinators and the Veterans and
Veterans Families Counselling Service can provide assistance and support
to clients whom are homeless.
· Claims Management Procedural guidelines - 2.6.8 Referral to Case
· Claims Management Guidelines procedural manual - 2.6.7
Communication and system tools to identify at risk clients.
o It is a delegates responsibility to identify if a client’s wellbeing
is at risk and to refer the client to case coordination if they feel that
the client may require extra assistance negotiating their claims process.
· Businessline - 18-03-2016 - Coordinated Client Support.
We hope the above is of some assistance and adequately responds to the
issues raised in your request.
Leia (Position Number 62210022)
Information Law Section | Legal Services and Assurance Branch
Legal Assurance and Governance Division
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [email address] | W: www.dva.gov.au
Dear Leia of INFORMATION.LAW,
Now why can’t the Department produce decisions like this.
I am confronted with the fact that when the Department wants to, it can readily put together a proper informative response, like it has here. Which begs the question as to why so often it behaves - unconstructively and often in bad faith - otherwise.
Goes to show it isn’t hard - let’s see more of this please. It’s how the system is supposed to work.