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Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Vietnam vet misses out on changes to pension

Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Changes to war pension rules made yesterday by the Government will not help injured Vietnam veteran Bill Framheim, who is unable to draw his pension if he returns to his Cook Islands home, the Government has confirmed.

The new $12 million-a-year veterans' support package adopts, in full or in part, 132 of the 170 recommendations by the Law Commission in its review of the War Pensions Act 1954.

"It provides new funding of $60 million over the next five years to implement these changes," Veterans Affairs Minister Nathan Guy said.

However, a spokesman for Mr Guy confirmed the package does not address the issue of pension portability, which would allow veterans to more easily draw their pensions if they lived overseas.

Mr Framheim lives in Porirua but after serving in the New Zealand army and paying taxes here for 26 years, he wants to return to the Cook Islands, where his wife and family live.

However, under the act Mr Framheim cannot receive Government money in another country because he has not lived here for five consecutive years since turning 50.

A spokesman for Mr Guy said the situation for Mr Framheim would not change in the new package "because the Law Commission did not look at the portability of pensions".

Mr Framheim would get a 5 per cent increase in the War Disablement Pension.

Other aspects of the new package include the new Veterans' Weekly Income Compensation, for those below the retirement age but unable to work.

It will be paid at 80 per cent of the average wage.

Those who access that benefit for more than 10 years until retirement will receive a lump sum of $25,000 in recognition of their circumstances resulting from service.

The package also creates two separate schemes, for current and future veterans.

- NZ Herald

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