26 September 2009

Defence Chief and Veterans Affairs Minister take action in case of war widow: Military compensation to be reviewed

Today national attention has been brought to the inadequate financial circumstances of Breeanna Till whose husband, Australian Army Sergeant Brett Till, was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year when he was attempting to disarm a bomb. Till is being paid a compensation payment of $305 per week. Which is far different from her husband's $905 a week pay. Till raised the concerns during a public hearing of a review of the military compensation system. I have previously discussed the review of the system here.

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said in a statement issued a statement today that Defence policy is to provide Defence housing for the dependents of an Australian Defence Force member killed in action for six months. "Given the particular circumstance of this case, I have decided to extend this out to 18 months - to September 2010," said Houston.

Till has also been waiting for reimbursement on equipment her late husband had purchased before he was deployed to Afghanistan. But Houston said he and the Army chain-of-command had not bee aware until today that Till was waiting for reimbursement. "I was unaware of this issue, however, I give an undertaking to Mrs. Till that we will reimburse her for equipment expeditiously. Houston press statement can be found here.

The Australian Associated Press reports here that VA Minister Alan Griffin (ALP-Bruce, Vic.) has ordered his department to examine Till's case.

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