Pensions for Australian Veterans

Service Pensions for Australian Veterans

By Christine Hopper

Veterans who actively served in roles where they were exposed to danger from the enemy in World War II or later conflicts, can apply to the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) for a Service Pension.

The Service Pension is of equivalent amount and subject to the same financial means testing as the Age Pension available from Centrelink.  But the Service Pension entitlement age is generally 5 years lower than the Age Pension Age.

Thus a male veteran with ‘qualifying service’ could become entitled to a Service Pension when he attains age 60 years rather than wait until he is 65 years old.  The earlier entitlement age is a recognition of the hardships endured and the consequent impact on the veteran’s general health.

Qualifying service includes service with the Australian Defence Force (or with a Commonwealth or Allied Force or as a mariner) that involved incurring danger from the enemy in World War II, or having rendered certain operational service in later conflicts.

If you have served in any role which might be considered to have been ‘qualifying service’ you may ask DVA to assess your claim for ‘qualifying service’.  You can ask for an assessment of ‘qualifying service’ at any time; you do not need to wait until you attain the minimum age for a Service Pension.

Disability Pensions for Veterans

Veterans who suffer from medical conditions directly related to their service with the Australian Defence Forces could be eligible for the Disability Pension.  The rate of Disability Pension payable depends on the assessed level of disability attributable to your service with the Australian Defence Forces.

Sadly some veterans returned to Australia with significant injuries and are clearly suffering from disabilities resulting from their ‘qualifying service’.  These veterans are readily assessed for the Disability Pension.

Many veterans have later discovered health issues that would not have occurred if they had not been involved in their ‘qualifying service’.  The assessment process for the Disability Pension is more complex for these veterans as medical evidence is required to demonstrate the link between the medical condition and the service with the relevant defence forces.

The Disability Pension is a form of compensation for physical impairments incurred  and thus the amount of the Disability Pension is not subject to any financial means testing.

War Widow Pensions

The surviving spouse of a veteran who died as a consequence of medical condition that was attributable to his ‘qualifying service’ becomes entitled to a War Widow Pension.  The War Widow Pension is a form of compensation benefit and is not subject to any financial means testing.

The surviving spouses of DVA Disability Pensioners may apply for the War Widow Pension based on the medical evidence previously provided by the veteran.

Income Support Supplement

A means tested Income Support Supplement (“ISS”) is available to recipients of the War Widow Pension or Disability Pension from DVA.  The financial means test for the ISS results in the ISS only being payable to DVA Pensioners who would otherwise be eligible for some Age Pension under the Centrelink Income and Asset Tests.

Help with Health Care Costs

DVA assists veterans and War Widows with their health care costs.  DVA pays directly for some medical expenses particularly hospital in patient care.  A reasonable level of costs may be reimbursed for some other health care needs.

The DVA White Repatriation Health Card covers the cost of treatments for that veteran’s specified medical conditions only.  The DVA Gold Repatriation Health Card covers the cost of treatments for a wide range of medical conditions.

Recipients of the DVA War Widow Pension are also eligible for the DVA Gold Repatriation Health Card.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about DVA, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper (03) 9808 0338 or email

Financial Care Services your independent financial adviser

Financial Care Services is an independent financial adviser focused on the needs of seniors in transition. Our clients are considering the potential for accessing Age Pensions on retirement. Our advice is valuable when seniors are moving into retirement lifestyle village communities or residential aged care.

Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations to help you check your financial position against the Centrelink financial means tests for a DVA Service Pension or an Age Pension, DSP or a Carer Payment.

To prepare for your Age Pension Short Consultation email email now for the Financial Care Services Age Pension Data form. You will also receive the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide including the Financial Care Services Privacy Policy.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, estimating how much Pension you could expect to receive and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign. Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.

Financial Care Services core value in financial advice is to assist with your money plan in the responsible management of your assets to generate the cash flow needed for your lifetime planning. Christine at Financial Care Services understands both the DVA and Centrelink Pensions systems and the Commonwealth aged care fee arrangements.

To book an appointment for confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth regulated residential aged care, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper 03 9808 0338 or email your enquiry.

Financial Care Services – call (03) 9808 0338
Disclaimer. These Insights are a general over view based on our understanding of the Centrelink and DVA Pension arrangements. Individual entitlements to Centrelink and DVA benefits are determined based on your actual situation as documented to Centrelink or DVA.  The information contained in this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations. © 2012 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
To make an appointment for professional advice, call Financial Care Services (03) 9808 0338