The following has been provided by DVA to address the issues of Veterans who are being asked for additional funds over and above the DVA subsidy.  This should NOT occur.  A Veteran should never have to pay for their own hearing aids.  If you have any concerns contact your local TPI Association or contact the Federation at federation@tpifed.org.au

Program Management, Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Did you know that as a veteran with hearing loss, under the Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program you can exercise choice? This means that you are allowed to choose your hearing service provider, and if not happy, seek a second opinion.  The provider should also be offering you a range of free devices training, and ongoing support for your hearing needs. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer commission warns about a range of business practices in the hearing services industry, including people being asked to pay higher prices for hearing devices (or upselling) than are actually necessary.  It is important that you know the cost of a device is not an indication of quality, so be careful when visiting a hearing provider. For example some may ask you to purchase hearing devices which are only ‘partially subsidised’.  These can have extra ‘bells and whistles’ which are not essential to managing your hearing loss, and have a cost which is not covered by DVA. 

All your hearing needs should be able to be covered by the ‘fully subsidised’ range – which is what you should be offered in the first instance. However some veterans have hearing needs which are clinically more complex.  If your hearing is in this category, and the devices that are free to you do not meet your hearing needs, your hearing service provider should be approaching DVA to request prior approval for partially subsidised devices.  However DVA do need to assess the prior-approval request before agreeing to the purchase, as they will not pay a retrospective claim.

If you feel that you have not been shown all of your options (there’s over 160 devices that are free, as well as assistive listening devices), or if you want some further information about what you are eligible for, you can contact DVA on 1800 555 254 or GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

You can also contact the ACCC to discuss your hearing services if you have concerns. The ACCC can provide you information about your consumer rights and obligations and suggest possible steps you can take to resolve a problem.  You can reach the ACCC by email to hearingaids@accc.gov.au or by telephoning 1300 302 502.