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.
Amendments to the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, which impact on the VRB came into effect on 28 July 2014. The amendments were contained in the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Mental Health and other Measures) Bill 2014. The changes will allow the VRB to make significant improvements to service and will enhance the operation of the VRB. The changes include the use of modern and effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes and improved case management powers, administrative and business procedures.
A trial using the new legislative framework for ADR will commence in NSW only, from 1 January 2015. The VRB will continue to offer ADR as outlined in the ADR guidelines for all states other than NSW. For more information about the trial and on ADR generally, please see ADR trial.
The general practice direction and ADR guidelines have been updated to include the procedures for the ADR trial. Two new practice directions regarding oral reasons and the composition of VRB panels have also been issued. Templates are also available on the ADR trial page.