A member has written and is looking for comment about a problem which might affect other older members of the Association. The problem, yes you guessed it is with WINZ and Veterans Affairs.
The member writes ‘Recently my father, an ex Naval and Vietnam Veteran who is in his 95th year had to go into the Rest Home after the death of his daughter who was living and looking after him. As a result of this the family applied for the subsidy for Rest Home Care which is at present being handled by the family solicitor pending the sale of the family home. One of the problems encountered is that when listing a person’s financial status (i.e. bank accounts, pensions assets etc.) WINZ have decided that not only do they take into consideration his normal National Pension but also his WAR Pension as they have decided to consider the War pension as a “private pension”. We have no problems about WINZ taking the normal National Pension off my father (which is apparently normal) as we understand that it goes towards offsetting the costs of being in the home, to which he is given back ‘an allowance’ for sundry items. However, we are currently disputing this attitude over the War Pension and the matter is currently with the family solicitor. I believe Veterans Affairs are now involved and we are currently awaiting a formal reply back from Veterans Affairs on their interpretation.
It would appear that there is a ‘disagreement’ going on between the two government departments (WINZ and Veterans Affairs) over what is considered to be ‘private pension’. As all of us know from the day we all joined the Armed Services back in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and even the 70’s , we ALL had to pay a percentage of our pay into a Super fund. This WAS compulsory – you had no choice! So therefore by no stretch of one’s imagination can this be called ‘a private pension’- it was not a voluntary scheme. This I believe was the same with other government departments such as the Police.
My question, to which I suspect a few of the older members of the Association would be interested in having answered is, – how many other older members are being or have been incorrectly assessed by WINZ as having a ‘private pension scheme’ (Armed services/ War pension) when in fact , that scheme was a compulsory government scheme of which none of us could opt out of? If there are members out there that have had a similar problem with members of their family, I would be interested in hearing from them.
I cannot understand how one Government Department can decide or apply a different interpretation on something that we had always believed/understood was sacrosanct – that a Serviceman/woman’s War Pension was untouchable, especially when the Veterans Affairs seem to be agreeing with us and our solicitor on our interpretation.
I hope that others may be able to provide some information/feedback on this, or just become aware of this ‘problem’ should they have something similar happen to them in the future.
Well there you have it.. WINZ versus Veterans Affairs. If you have experienced anything like this member please feel free to provide any feedback and please leave a comment to this posting.