I am a local veteran soldier from Wodonga who has done 3 tours of various areas and after my hard work I was medically discharged with a couple of injuries. I have been out for approx. 15 months and in the first 12 months I had to have two knee surgeries to help fix my knees. I have also gone through a few jobs due to these problems and trying to find a permanent position to work in with my injuries. During this time I have provided DVA Victoria with the necessary paperwork required in either medical certificates or pay slips I used all the avenues open to me eg: by fax, phone, or the DVA VAN office Wodonga.
I then received a letter From DVA stating that I had incurred and over payment of $10,202.37 had occurred although I had notified them of the information of when I was working or when I was off due to knee operations, In the letter from DVA it stated although you notified the Department of Defence that you commenced employment on 19/05/2013 your payment were not ceased, and therefore for the period 17/05/2013 to 22/07/2013 you were receiving incapacity payment when you did not have an entitlement.
After further investigation on my behalf I was informed that at this time DVA had a change over of staff and the staff in where not fully experienced in these arrears due to the reshuffle of staff and due to this I received the overpayments.
My wife and I saw one lot of payments come in and informed DVA that we were not receiving the payments anymore and I had returned to work after the operation and this was done through the Wodonga DVA branch, they said they would follow it up to make sure the payments had ceased, however next fortnight another payment came in again I rang and informed them of this they apologies and once again said this would be followed up, My wife and I then knew we were over paid 2 times and was prepared for a small amount of around $3000 and knew it would need to be paid back even thought none of this was our fault.
But my shock was opening up a letter informing me that I had been over paid the amount above was horrible and upsetting and not to mention we have now had to inform Centrelink of this over payment by increasing our yearly income by $10,000 there reducing my payment from them by $68 to $1.00 and even thought we are expected to pay this money back there will be no way I can get back the money form Centrelink ? I would love an opportunity to discuses this with you in person.
What I would like to suggest is to place a clause in the legislation if DVA admits their were wrong and the Digger has done everything within their power to provide the correct information to receive the payments they are entitled to and DVA admits they were incorrect then the Digger is should be excluded in paying back the over payment.
I know I am not the only Digger in this position however if we are doing everything in our power to try and live and settle back into the community and provide all the correct information to the best of our ability then if DVA admits they were at fault then we should not be penalised for the incompetency of DVA.
I hope you can get in contact with me to discus my small but big idea and keep DVA centres and government more accountable.ThanksBrett NewmanVeteran
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