The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication intended only as a guide to social security payments. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

4.3.5.30 Overview of DVA compensation payments

Summary

This topic provides information about the following:

DVA Acts

DVA administers compensation payments under the VEA, the DRCA and the MRCA.

DVA Disability Compensation Payments paid under the VEA

DVA Disability Compensation Payments, formerly known as 'disability pensions', are a form of non-economic loss compensation for effects of injuries and diseases directly caused or aggravated by service in the armed forces.

DVA Disability Compensation Payments - a range of payment rates

The DVA Disability Compensation Payments encompass a range of different payment rates that vary depending on the degree of the effects of the injury. DVA Disability Compensation Payments are most commonly paid at the general rate (between 10% and 100% of a statutory rate), but can also be 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 under the VEA section 27.

DVA Disability Compensation Payment: general rate

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

DVA Disability Compensation Payment: extreme disablement adjustment

The extreme disablement adjustment is an increase in the rate of Disability Compensation Payment. 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 payment.

DVA Disability Compensation Payment: intermediate rate

The intermediate rate is a higher level of Disability Compensation Payment paid to a person who is only able to perform part-time paid work due to accepted war caused disabilities. The purpose of the intermediate rate is to provide a rate of pension to bridge the gap between the general rate and the special rate for ex-service personnel capable of part-time work only.

DVA Disability Compensation Payment: special rate

The special rate is the highest level of Disability Compensation Payment and is paid to a person who is unable to engage in paid 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 Disability Compensation Payment (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 Compensation Payment 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 Compensation Payments 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

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, however offsetting of dual entitlements under both Acts may occur.

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

MRCA

The MRCA commenced on 1 July 2004. This Act is administered by DVA to meet the needs of all Australian Defence Force members and their families in the event of injury or death that occurs post 1 July 2004.

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 veteran 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 Compensation Payment 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.

People receiving MRCA payments who do not receive income support under the VEA 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

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