Payment for injured veterans 'inadequate'

Advocates for veterans left incapacitated say compensation payments are totally inadequate
Advocates for veterans left incapacitated say compensation payments are totally inadequate

Compensation payments to Australian veterans who were injured and incapacitated during service have become so eroded they are now glaringly inadequate, according to a veterans advocacy group.

As Australians prepare to commemorate those who have served, through Anzac Day tributes, a veterans welfare advocacy group has called on the government and opposition to remember 28,000 servicemen and women who have been left struggling with daily life due to their service.

Defence force veterans who have been left unable to work receive inadequate compensation payments that fail the community's basic minimum wage benchmark, The Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Federation of Australia says.

The TPI payment is made up of two parts - pain and suffering and economic loss.

In a statement released ahead of Anzac Day, the TPI Federation says the pain and suffering component has remained stable but economic loss compensation has been eroded and only rates at approximately 63 per cent of the country's minimum wage.

The TPI Federation has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of failing to act during the 2019 budget, despite a meeting with veterans in March where he acknowledged they had a compelling case for the restoration of economic loss compensation.

Instead, Mr Morrison has agreed to a review of the TPI Federation request, president Pat McCabe says.

It will be the fifth review within the last seven years and "the facts, as they have been presented repeatedly, are yet to be altered and are yet to be refuted," Ms McCabe said.

Former army corporal Ian Swan, who lives with his wife and two children in Adelaide, says the government has only paid lip service to veterans.

"They say one thing and do another, when it comes down to reality they stonewall you," he said.

The 54-year-old was deployed to Rwanda following the genocide in the mid 90s where he worked out of a hospital to help survivors.

While he escaped physical disability, the mental scars and post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered were crippling.

"It's pretty heavy going," he told AAP.

Now, he relies on service dog Charlie to keep him distracted and intercept "when things get a bit rough," he says.

He tried working for a few years as a bus driver, but Mr Swan said he relied on compensation and had to be frugal in daily life.

"You tend to do without yourself to provide for your children," he said.

He has joined the TPI Federation's call for increased compensation, saying the government needed to look after veterans properly.

The federal government has been contacted for comment.

Australian Associated Press