Defense chooses McKinsey to review veterans welfare system

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Charged with a growing number of suicides, the welfare application system for ex-Australian defense personnel is set to be overhauled, with McKinsey selected to undertake the critical review.

Global strategy consultancy McKinsey & Company has been selected to help overhaul the welfare claim processing system for Australian Defense Force veterans, as announced by the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Personnel from the Defense, Andrew Gee. The main goal is to reduce suicide rates among ex-soldiers, with previous delays in accessing funds and support services partly responsible for a growing number of deaths.

According to figures cited by the Australian, in April, more than two-thirds of veterans’ disability pension claims and over 40 percent of ADF widow / widower’s claims had yet to come. been finalized. Around this time, the government announced a Royal Commission on the Defense and Suicide of Veterans, but an interim report is not expected until the middle of next year. “We look forward to the Royal Commission embarking on this crucial reform,” said Gee.

“One of my main priorities is to reduce wait times for veterans and their families, and as such, I have ordered this reconstruction to take place as a matter of urgency,” the minister said. “That’s not another criticism. McKinsey will immediately look at how the department can streamline the claims process, how it currently handles claims, and identify how we can have a faster, more efficient, and more efficient system for all veterans. and their families. ”

A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare determined that nearly 1,300 members of the Australian Defense Force had committed suicide in the past 19 years, a number well above what had been expected. or previously reported, with the new study being backdated to include all full and reserve members who had served since 1985, rather than covering only the earlier 2001 data sets.

Of the total 1,273 self-inflicted deaths recorded among serving and former military personnel in the study, data showed that female veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide compared to the general population, while female veterans veteran men were about 25 percent. more likely. That figure, however, became almost three times more likely for young male veterans who had been involuntarily fired due to a health problem, arguably in need of more support.

Gee pointed to the nearly $ 100 million set aside in this year’s budget to employ hundreds of new processing officers to deal with the “unacceptably large” backlog, which he said was good news. but would be a waste if these new agents were put into an inefficient system, tangled up in bureaucracy. “For this budget increase to have the maximum effect, we need to make sure that the fundamentals of the complaints system are correct. “

McKinsey – who will be paid more than $ 1.3 million for about ten weeks of work, according to AusTender – as part of his review, will consult directly with the families of former defense personnel who have lost limbs by suicide, in order to gain “a first understanding of the impact of veteran suicide and the importance of a fast and efficient claims processing system.”

The recommendations are expected to be submitted in early December, with reforms taking place by Christmas.

Help lines

In the meantime, all Australian readers looking for immediate crisis assistance can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Soldier On Australia on 1300 620 380. Other lines Defense-specific assistance and agencies include Defense All -hours Support Line on 1 800 628 036, a confidential telephone service for ADF members and their families, and the free and confidential Open Arms Veterans & Families Counseling service on 1 800 011 046 .


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