The family of an army veteran who killed himself believes the rejection of his compensation claim by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) pushed him to take his own life.

Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan has told 7.30 he has now ordered the Defence Department and DVA to review their handling of the case.

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Jesse Bird, 32, took his own life last month, just weeks after losing a claim for permanent impairment he had been pursuing for almost two years.

The decision came despite DVA accepting initial liability, in August 2016, for Mr Bird’s post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and alcohol abuse.



  1. Roger Wood OAM says

    Jesse served his country in two ways – as a front-line veteran and now with his death he has opened the can of worms that is the DVA and the Army a little more.

    My family lost one of our sons – David Wood, my grandson – in similar circumstances. David returned from Afghanistan plagued with PTSD in February 2013 and took his own life on May the 22nd, 2013.

    If we knew then what we know now about PTSD, we would still have David.

    David’s death has been recognised by Defence as having been caused by combat. He is the forty second soldier on the Afghanistan Wall at the Australian War Museum. So to should Jesse and the thousands of other Australian veterans of war and PTSD. Lest we forget.

  2. How many more times is this going to happen because of D V As inability to make the right decision ? I am having major problems with them myself and have thought about doing the same thing .

  3. Triskele Rey says

    The DVA is perpetuating a well established approach to claims. My then father-in-law suffered terribly after Korea, Borneo and 2 tours of Vietnam. He couldn’t function normally at all. Just driving was debilitating. He would get to his destination and be shaking like a leaf, hardly able to walk. It would take hours to recover enough to drive back. Noise strung him out. Groups of more than half a dozen people created an oppressive atmosphere for him. His physical problems were ongoing and his alcoholism began while he was enlisted. He did not EVER drink and drive but drank at home effecting his family.
    His DVA file reads like an English farce. His piles, for example, were apparently caused by pregnancy. Review comments on one page contradicted those on another.
    Every year his health would deteriorate as the anniversary of the death of his mate in Vietnam approached. They were standing together when a surprise attack came. He turned to his mate to say ‘That was close!’ and, quite literally, half of his mate was missing. He died just before that anniversary. Wasted away.
    The DVA is REQUIRED to restrain it’s expenses. This then requires them to contain the number of claims it approves. This then means that it will not accept all legitimate claims and actively searches for a loophole to justify a mandated decision. The organisation is not designed to HELP our veterans. It is designed to submit begrudgingly to providing for those lucky enough to push through the system and receive what they deserve. Thank goodness for the wonderful advocates who support our vets through the countless, demoralising hearings and processes that must be endured.

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