4.3.5.30 About DVA Disability Pensions

Summary

This topic provides information about the following:

  • DVA Acts,
  • disability pensions paid under the VEA,
  • VEA disability pensions: a range of different payments,
  • VEA disability pensions: general rate disability pension,
  • VEA disability pensions: extreme disablement adjustment,
  • payments under the VEA section 27,
  • VEA disability pensions: intermediate rate disability pension,
  • VEA disability pensions: special rate disability pension,
  • VEA loss of earnings allowance,
  • VEA allowances,
  • Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA), and
  • Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

DVA Acts

DVA administers the VEA, the SRCA and the MRCA.

Disability pensions paid under the VEA

Disability pension is a form of compensation for effects or injuries directly caused or aggravated by service in the armed forces. Additional disability pension paid to the partner (1.1.P.85) continues if a couple (1.1.M.120) separate or if the recipient dies, but it ceases if a couple divorce.

Additional payments may in some cases be paid to a recipient's partner and dependent children (1.1.D.70). Since June 1985 there have been no new grants of disability pensions to a person's partner or children.

VEA disability pensions: a range of different payments

The term 'disability pension' encompasses a range of different payments that vary depending on the degree of the injury. Some are paid separately and some are paid in addition to other disability pensions. There are 5 categories of disability pension which are the:

  • general rate,
  • extreme disablement adjustment,
  • payments under the VEA section 27,
  • intermediate rate, and
  • special rate.

VEA disability pensions: general rate

A percentage system is used for general rate disability pensions on a scale from 10% to 100%. This scale reflects the degree of incapacity.

VEA disability pensions: extreme disablement adjustment

The extreme disablement adjustment is an increase in the rate of disability pension. It is:

  • payable to people who have reached 65 years of age and who are severely disabled due to their service, and
  • not payable to people who are receiving an intermediate or special rate pension.

Payments under the VEA section 27

Payment under the VEA section 27 is an allowance paid in addition to the VEA disability pension (except when the special rate is received). It is payable to people who have:

  • had arms and/or legs or portions of those limbs amputated, and/or
  • suffered loss of vision in an eye.

People with these disabilities receive their disability pension rate, plus the section 27 amount according to the type of disability. These cases are rare and as the rates vary so much it will be necessary to consult DVA to be certain of the exact rate.

This payment was previously called the fifth schedule disability pension.

VEA disability pensions: intermediate rate

The intermediate rate is a higher rate of disability pension paid to a person who is only able to perform restricted or part-time work due to accepted war caused disabilities.

VEA disability pensions: special rate

The special rate is the highest rate of disability pension and is paid to a person who is only able to perform highly restricted or part-time work due to accepted war caused disabilities.

This payment was previously known as the totally and permanently incapacitated pension.

VEA loss of earnings allowance

The loss of earnings allowance is made to a veteran who suffers a loss of income because of a temporary incapacity that can be attributed to accepted war caused disability.

Allowances from DVA

Excluded as income for social security purposes are a number of allowances paid to veterans under the VEA. These allowances supplement disability pensions and vary according to the:

  • type or severity of the disablement, and
  • special needs of the veteran.

The following table provides a brief description of the purpose of each allowance.

This allowance… Is paid to…
Attendant assist an eligible veteran (who has certain specified war-caused or defence-caused injuries or diseases) with the cost of the services of an attendant.
Clothing cover excess wear and tear, or damage to clothing, caused by a disability such as an artificial limb.
Decoration holders of various military awards for bravery.
Recreation transport severely handicapped veterans to offset the cost of travel for recreational purposes.
Vehicle assistance severely incapacitated veterans who have been provided with a vehicle and assisted with registration, insurance and running costs under the scheme.
Victoria Cross holders of a Victoria Cross medal.

Note: Attendant payments paid by Comcare under SRCA section 29, are income for social security purposes.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8)(y) Excluded amounts-general

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.5.10 How Income from DVA is Assessed

Safety, Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA)

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme (SRCS) is the Commonwealth's workers' compensation legislation that applied to all employees of the Commonwealth until 30 June 2004. This included members and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Reserves, Cadets and Cadet Instructors and certain other persons who hold honorary rank in the ADF as well as members of certain philanthropic organisations that provide services to the ADF.

SRCA compensation payments include incapacity payments for economic loss, permanent impairment payments for non-economic loss, attendant care payments, reimbursement for medical costs and other benefits.

People who receive compensation under the SRCA may also be able to claim compensation under the VEA.

For information about the SRCA and how SRCA payments are assessed under the SSAct, see 4.3.5.60.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

Military Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA)

The Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme (MRCS) commenced on 1 July 2004. This scheme is administered through DVA to meet the needs of all ADF members and their families in the event of injury or death.

MRCA compensation payments include incapacity payments for economic loss, permanent impairment payments for non-economic loss and a Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP) Safety Net payment. The SRDP is a periodic payment that is equivalent to the VEA Special Rate Disability Pension. Other benefits and allowances are also available.

People who receive compensation under the MRCA may also be eligible to receive income support paid under the VEA if they have qualifying (warlike) service.

People receiving MRCA payments who do not have qualifying (warlike) service may be eligible to receive income support payments under the SSAct.

For information about the MRCA, the effects of MRCA on the VEA and how MRCA payments are assessed under the SSAct, see 4.3.5.60.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general, section 8(12) Special rate disability pension reduction amount

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 Schedule 3 items 38 and 39

Last reviewed: 7 November 2016