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Veteran’s Pension to be extended

Hon Michael Woodhouse
Veterans’ Affairs Minister

14 May 2014

Veteran’s Pension to be extended

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse has today introduced an amendment to extend eligibility for the Veteran’s Pension to all veterans over the age of 65.

“Discussions with Hon Peter Dunne and an approach from the RNZRSA accorded with my own thinking about how we could further improve the Veterans’ Support Bill to better recognise the service of veterans,’’ Mr Woodhouse says.

“After working closely with Mr Dunne, I am today introducing an amendment that will extend eligibility for the Veteran’s Pension to all those with qualifying service aged over 65.’’

The Bill is central to the $60 million package announced by the Government in response to the 2010 Law Commission review of the War Pensions Act 1954.

"One of the few Law Commission recommendations that was not progressed at the time was to remove the impairment threshold required for veterans to be eligible for the Veteran’s Pension.’’

The entitlements for those newly eligible will be:
• Veteran’s Pension to be paid at the same rate, but instead of, New Zealand Superannuation
• Payments will never be abated for extended hospitalisation
• A Community Services Card

The amendment will increase the number of New Zealanders eligible for the Veteran’s Pension from 3200 to around 19,900.

“Importantly, this means that thousands more veterans will benefit from any future changes provided to those on a Veteran’s Pension.”

Mr Woodhouse says the lump sum payments on death will continue to be paid to all those who meet the current threshold.

“Veterans need to know how mealy-mouthed Labour is being on this issue. Phil Goff is arguing today to increase lump sum payments paid to veterans on their death, by taking away entitlements from veterans who are still alive and deserve support.

“Mr Goff has tried to hide the fact that Labour’s veterans policy will increase the age for the Veteran’s Pension from 65 to 67, which will remove support for thousands of aging New Zealanders.

“I thank Mr Dunne and ACT for their support in securing what is a significant step forward for veterans.’’

ENDS

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