The Veterans' Review Board (VRB) is an independent tribunal that exists to review:
- decisions made by the Repatriation Commission under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth) on:
- claims for acceptance of injury or disease as war-caused or defence-caused;
- claims for war widows', war widowers' and orphans' pensions;
- assessment of pension rate for incapacity from war-caused or defence-caused injury or disease; and
- claims for the grant, or assessment of, attendant allowance; and
- determinations under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (Cth) made by:
- the Military Rehabilitation & Compensation Commission; and
- the Service Chiefs of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Australian Air Force
The VRB reviews decisions made by officers of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) who have been given power under the VEA by the Repatriation Commission to decide claims for pension and applications for increase in pension. These officers are called ‘delegates’ of the Repatriation Commission.
The VRB’s role was extended in 2004 to review determinations under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). It is concerned with rehabilitation, and compensation for members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families for injury, disease or death related to service rendered on or after 1 July 2004.
In conducting a review, the VRB is not bound by the rules of evidence or any of the findings within the decision it is reviewing.
In 2015, the VRB conducted a trial of modern and effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. The trial applied to new applications lodged in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on or after 1 January 2015. The trial was extended in NSW and ACT for all new applications lodged on or after 1 January 2016, while an independent review of the trial was undertaken.
The review has been completed. It concluded that the VRB’s ADR program was a resounding success and that ADR was an essential element to allow the VRB to achieve its statutory objective of a providing a mechanism of review that is fair, just, economical, informal and quick. The ADR program will be progressively rolled out nationally to form a permanent part of the VRB’s case management procedures. As such, all new applications lodged in NSW and the ACT will continue to be referred to the ADR program. In addition, all new applications lodged in Victoria and Tasmania on or after 30 September 2016 will also be referred to the ADR program.
ADR program information sessions will be available for advocates in Victoria and Tasmania. Please contact the VRB’s ADR Registrar, Jane Warmoll on (02) 9213 8613 for further details.
Limited ADR in the form of case appraisals and neutral evaluation is open to all applicants outside of ADR program areas.
For more information, please refer to the VRB’s general practice direction.