4.3.5.70 About DVA Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA)

Summary

This topic provides information on the following:

  • description of DFISA,
  • no need for claim,
  • person must qualify for a social security pension or benefit,
  • calculation of DFISA rate,
  • people with a nil rate of social security pension or benefit due to the income test,
  • appeals and reviews of DFISA, AND
  • governing legislation.

Description of DFISA

DFISA is paid by the DVA on the DVA payday (i.e. each second Thursday). It commenced with effect from 20 September 2004.

DFISA is payable to a person whose social security pension or benefit is reduced (including to nil) because of the inclusion of DVA ADP as income in the assessment of that pension or benefit. This is the case whether the ADP is paid to the person or the person's partner. ADP is defined in VEA section 118NA and includes the following:

  • general rate disability pensions (10%-100%), extreme disablement adjustment, intermediate rate, special rate and payments made under VEA section 27,
  • temporary incapacity allowance,
  • special rate disability pension and permanent impairment payment (under Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004), AND
  • saved dependant pension.

DFISA is not payable to a person in relation to a social security pension or benefit if the financial hardship provisions of the SSAct apply to the person in relation to that pension or benefit. Nor is it payable to a person on the ground that the person's parent is receiving ADP.

No need for claim

A person seeking access to DFISA needs to claim and qualify for a social security pension or benefit. There is no claim for DFISA that is separate from the claim for the social security pension or benefit in respect of which DFISA may be paid. In most cases, DFISA is automatically payable to a person who qualifies for a social security pension or benefit and whose rate of that pension or benefit is reduced, including to nil, by the inclusion of ADP in the assessment.

Person must qualify for a social security pension or benefit

Any social security pension or benefit, the rate of payment of which is reduced as a result of the inclusion of an amount of ADP in income under the social security income test, will attract DFISA. Such social security pensions or benefits currently may include the following payment types:

Payment Type under the SSAct SS Guide reference
Age pension 3.4.1.10 Qualification for Age
Austudy 3.3.3.10 Qualification for Austudy
Bereavement allowance 3.4.9.10 Qualification for BVA
Carer payment 3.6.4.10 Qualification for CP
Disability support pension

3.6.1.10 Qualification for DSP - 30 Hour Rule

3.6.1.12 Qualification for DSP - 15 Hour Rule

Newstart allowance 3.2.1.10 Qualification for NSA
Parenting payment 3.5.1 PP - Qualification & Payability
Partner allowance 3.3.1.10 Qualification for PA
Sickness allowance 3.6.5.10 Qualification for SA
Special benefit 3.7.1.10 Qualification for SpB
Special needs pension 3.4.6.10 Qualification for SpNP
Widow allowance 3.4.3.10 Qualification for WA
Widow B pension 3.4.4.10 Qualification for WidB
Wife pension (Age) 3.4.2.10 Qualification for WP
Wife pension (DSP) 3.4.2.10 Qualification for WP
Youth allowance 3.2.3.10 Qualification for YA

Calculation of DFISA rate

A person's rate of DFISA is equal to the difference between the rate of social security pension or benefit the person actually receives under the social security law and the rate they would receive if ADP:

  • was excluded from income in the assessment of the person's actual rate, but
  • included in the calculation of rent assistance.

Details of the method statements used to calculate the rate of DFISA are contained in VEA section 118NC.

People with a nil rate of social security pension or benefit due to the income test

Some people:

  • will qualify for a social security pension or benefit (the primary payment), AND
  • will have a nil rate of payment of that pension or benefit because of the application of the income test, AND
  • would have a rate, greater than nil, of that pension or benefit if ADP was not included in the assessment of their payment but included in the calculation of their RA entitlement.

Such people are commonly referred to as DFISA-only recipients. They are taken to be receiving the particular pension or benefit for which they qualify and they remain subject to the obligations associated with that pension or benefit. When seeking access to any supplementary payments and non-financial benefits (commonly referred to as add-ons) available to recipients of the pension or benefit for which they qualify, they automatically satisfy any requirement that they be receiving that particular supporting pension or benefit. Such supplementary payments and non-financial benefits may include one or more of the following:

  • approved program of work supplement,
  • concession cards,
  • education entry payment,
  • fares allowance,
  • language literacy and numeracy supplement,
  • mobility allowance,
  • pensioner education supplement,
  • remote area allowance,
  • telephone allowance, and/or
  • carer supplement.

DFISA-only recipients are also taken, under the family assistance law, to be receiving the social security pension or benefit which their DFISA supplements. They will therefore be exempt from the FTB Part A income test.

Act reference: FAAct Schedule 1 clause 38L Application of income test to pension and benefit recipients and their partners

Election not to receive DFISA

A person to whom an amount of DFISA is payable by DVA may, under VEA section 118NB(2), elect not to receive that amount. If the person does make such an election, the person is still taken to be receiving the underlying social security pension or benefit, which the DFISA would have supplemented had it been paid. This may enable the person to access supplementary payments and non-financial benefits under the social security or family assistance law that are dependent upon the person being in receipt of the supporting social security pension or benefit.

Appeals & reviews of DFISA

A review of the social security pension or benefit which DFISA supplements may lead to a reassessment of the person's rate of DFISA.

Governing legislation

DFISA was introduced with the passage of the Veterans' Entitlements (Clarke Review) Act 2004. Schedule 2 of that Act inserted Part VIIAB on DFISA into the VEA. It also made consequential amendments to the FAAct, the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and the SSAct.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1D) If, on a day that is on or after 20 September 2004…

FAAct section 3(1)-'receiving', refer to paragraph (a)

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.5.71 DVA DFISA & the PLS, 4.3.5.72 DFISA Bonus & DFISA Bonus Bereavement Payment & the PBS, 4.3.5.73 DVA DFISA & Bereavement Payments

FA Guide 1.1.D.65 Defence Force Income Support Allowance, 1.1.R.05 Receiving income support

Last reviewed: 20 September 2018