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
  • VEA disability pensions: intermediate rate disability pension
  • VEA disability pensions: special rate disability pension
  • payments under the VEA section 27
  • VEA loss of earnings allowance
  • VEA allowances
  • Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA), and
  • Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

DVA Acts

DVA administers the VEA, the DRCA 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.

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. Disability pensions are most commonly paid at the general rate (between 10% and 100% of a statutory rate), but can also paid at an above general rate, which includes:

  • extreme disablement adjustment
  • intermediate rate, and
  • special rate.

People with certain specific disabilities may also be eligible for a higher rate of pension the VEA section 27.

VEA disability pensions: general rate disability pension

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.

VEA disability pensions: intermediate rate disability pension

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 disability pension

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.

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.

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 care services payments paid by Comcare under section 29 of the SRCA, and by DVA under section 29 of the DRCA, 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 and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA)

The DRCA is a bespoke version of the Commonwealth's workers' compensation legislation, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA).

DRCA compensation payments include incapacity payments for economic loss, permanent impairment payments for non-economic loss, attendant care payments, household services, treatment via a veteran card and other benefits.

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

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

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general, 8(11) An amount received by a person is an exempt lump sum if …

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

Military Rehabilitation and 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, attendant care services, household care services, treatment via a veterans card and a Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP) safety net payment. The SRDP is a periodic payment that is equivalent to the VEA Special Rate of Disability Pension but is reduced by superannuation and permanent impairment payments. 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 service.

People receiving MRCA payments who do not have qualifying 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(11) An amount received by a person is an exempt lump sum if …, section 8(12) Special rate disability pension reduction amount

Social Security (Exempt Lump Sums-Payments Compensatory in Nature for Non-Economic Loss) Determination 2017

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004

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

Last reviewed: 9 August 2021