SAA Queensland Inc.

DVA Fact Sheets

  • 28 Mar 2014 08:32 | Deleted user
    DVA Factsheet IS65
    Qualifying Service
    Service on certain submarine special operations, 1978 - 1992

     
    Overview
    This Factsheet provides information to members and former members of the Australian Defence Force who served on certain submarine special operations between 1978 and 1992 on their entitlements under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).
     
    Between 1978 and 1992, a number of Royal Australian Navy submarines were fitted with specialised intelligence-gathering equipment and deployed regularly in areas to the north and west of Australia.
     
    As of 1 July 2010, service on certain submarine special operations is classified as operational and qualifying service under the VEA, extending entitlement to a variety of benefits under the Act.
     
    Are all submarine special operations between 1978 and 1992 eligible?
    No.  Only operations for which the Australian Service Medal (ASM) with Clasp Special Ops was awarded will be considered operational and qualifying service under the VEA.
     
    What if I served on more than one submarine special operation?
    Each submarine special operation for which you were awarded the ASM with clasp Special Ops, or would have been awarded the clasp had you not already received one, during the period 1978-92 is operational and qualifying service.
     
    How will the reclassification of submarine service affect me?
    As a result of the reclassification of certain submarine special operations as operational service, eligible veterans will gain access to disability pension under the VEA and will be able to receive healthcare services for their accepted disabilities.  Disability pension claims relating to relevant submarine special operations service will also be determined using the more generous ‘reasonable hypothesis’ standard of proof.
     
    The extension of qualifying service provisions means that eligible veterans will qualify for a Gold Card at age 70, and they and their partners will gain access to service pension, subject to the relevant income and assets tests.
     

    Will I also have access to compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA)?
    If you already have a claim accepted and have been paid compensation under the SRCA these entitlements will remain.
     
    However, no further claims under the SRCA can be made from 1 July 2010.  All claims after this date must be made under the VEA.
     
    Will compensation I have received under the SRCA be taken into account?
    Yes.  Any compensation you have already received under the provisions of the SRCA will be offset against compensation paid under the VEA for the same incapacity.
     
    What sort of evidence do I need to provide to show that I participated in a submarine special operation?
    Since eligibility for benefits under the VEA is to be determined according to eligibility for the ASM with Clasp Special Ops, you will need to provide evidence that you have been awarded this medal, or are eligible for this medal.  DVA will then confirm your eligibility with the Department of Defence.
     
    What if I am eligible for the ASM with Clasp Special Ops, but the award has not been issued?
    You only need to be eligible for the award of the ASM with Clasp Special Ops to have entitlements under the VEA.  Having actually been issued the medal is not required.
     
    However, if you would like to apply for your medal to be issued, please contact
Defence Honours and Awards on their Medals Inquiry Line: 1800 111 321  http://www.defence.gov.au/medals/
     
    Disclaimer
    The information contained in this factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position, e.g. retirement, on the basis of information contained in this factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.
     

    Other Factsheets
    Other Factsheets related to this topic include:
    ·        DP 18 Making a Claim/Applying for an Increase in Disability Pension
    ·        DP 82 Disability Pension and Compensation Offsetting
    ·        IS 01 Service Pension Overview
    ·        IS 02 How to Claim Service Pension
    ·        IS 15 Health Care Eligibility for Service Pensioners
    ·        IS 56 Qualifying Service Overview
     
    More information
    All DVA Factsheets are available from DVA offices, and on the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au.
     
    You can phone DVA on 133 254 or free call 1800 555 254 if you are outside a major city.
     
    Note: *  Use a normal landline phone if you can.  Mobile phone calls may cost you more.
     
    You can send an email to DVA at:  GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au.
  • 28 Mar 2014 08:30 | Deleted user

    DVA Factsheet IS62
    Qualifying Service
    Commonwealth and Allied Post World War 2 Veterans
     

    Overview
    This Factsheet explains qualifying service for Commonwealth and allied veterans who served post World War 2.
     
    A Commonwealth or allied veteran with qualifying service may be eligible for a service pension and other associated benefits.
     
    What is qualifying service?
    Qualifying service is defined in the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and is one of the criteria used to determine whether you are eligible for a service pension.
     
    For a person who served as a member of a defence force established by a Commonwealth country, qualifying service is service during a period of hostilities either:
    ·       in an area and at a time when you incurred danger from hostile forces of the enemy outside the country in whose defence force you served; or
    ·       within the country of enlistment for which you received, or were eligible to receive, a campaign medal.
     
    Note:               A Commonwealth country is a country (other than Australia) that is, or was at the time of service, part of the British Commonwealth.
     
    For an allied veteran, qualifying service is service during a period of hostilities within or outside the country of enlistment when danger was incurred from hostile forces of the enemy.
     
    In each case, the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Australia must have been engaged in those war or war-like operations (see below: "What are the periods of hostilities?").
     
    What is incurred danger?
    A Commonwealth or allied post World War 2 veteran incurs danger when he or she is at risk or in peril of actual bodily harm from hostile forces.  Danger is not incurred by merely perceiving or fearing danger.  It is an objective test of facts.
     

    Who is a Commonwealth veteran?
    A Commonwealth veteran is a person who has continuous full-time service as a member of:
    ·       the naval, military or air forces;
    ·       the nursing or auxiliary services of the naval, military or air forces; or
    ·       the women’s branch of the naval, military or air forces
    of a country (other than Australia) that is, or was at the time of service, part of the British Commonwealth.
     
    Who is an allied veteran?
    An allied veteran is a person:
    ·       who has been appointed or enlisted as a member of the defence force of an allied country; and
    ·       who has rendered continuous full-time service as such a member during a period of hostilities.
     
    When am I not eligible?
    You are not eligible if you have ever served:
    ·       in the forces of a country, or its allies, that was at war with Australia at that particular time; or
    ·       in any forces that were engaged in hostile operations against Australia at that particular time.
     
    What are the defence forces of allied countries?
    The defence force established by an allied country or Government in exile includes:
    ·       the regular naval, military or air forces; and
    ·       the nursing or auxiliary services of the regular naval, military or air forces; and
    ·       the women’s branch of the regular naval, military or air forces.
     
    What are the periods of hostilities?
    Periods of hostilities for a Commonwealth or allied post World War 2 veteran are as follows:
    1)      Korea – 27 June 1950 to 19 April 1956
    2)      Malaya – 29 June 1950 to 31 August 1957
    3)      Warlike operations in operational areas from 31 July 1962 to 11 January 1973.  This includes:
    -          Sabah & Sarawak (now part of Malaysia) & Brunei – 8 December 1962 to 16 August 1964
    -          Malay – Thai border – 31 July 1962 to 16 August 1964
    -          Malaysia, Brunei & Singapore – 17 August 1964 to 30 September 1967
    -          Vietnam – 31 July 1962 to 11 January 1973
     
    Note:               There are no dates past 11 January 1973 which give VEA entitlements to Commonwealth or allied veterans.

    How do I confirm qualifying service?
    If you believe you have qualifying service as a Commonwealth or an allied veteran for periods of hostilities post World War 2, you may lodge a Form D2673 Application to Determine Qualifying Service by a Veteran or Mariner which is available from any DVA Office or can be downloaded from the DVA website at
http://www.dva.gov.au/dvaforms.
     
    You can have your qualifying service determined at any time even if you are not going to immediately apply for any related benefits such as a service pension.
     
    What supporting documents are required?
    With your application you should send in certified copies of any documents that support your claim, such as a discharge certificate.
     
    What is a certified copy?
    A certified copy is a copy of an original document that has been signed and dated by a Justice of the Peace, medical practitioner, person in charge of a Post Office or other authorised person.  You can also have copies certified at any DVA office.
     
    Disclaimer
    The information contained in this factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position, e.g. retirement, on the basis of information contained in this factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.
     
    Other Factsheets
    Other Factsheets related to this topic include:
    ·       IS 01 Service Pension Overview
    ·       IS 56 Qualifying Service Overview.
     

    More information
    All DVA Factsheets are available from DVA offices, and on the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au.
     
    You can phone DVA on 133 254 or free call 1800 555 254 if you are outside a major city.
     
    Note: *  Use a normal landline phone if you can.  Mobile phone calls may cost you more.
     
    You can send an email to DVA at:  GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au.
  • 28 Mar 2014 08:16 | Deleted user

    DVA Factsheet IS58
    Qualifying Service
    Australian Post World War 2 Veterans

     
    Overview
    This Factsheet explains qualifying service for Australian veterans who served 
post World War 2 covered by the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).
     
    An Australian veteran with qualifying service may be eligible for an Australian service pension.
     
    What is qualifying service?
    Qualifying service is defined in the VEA and is one of the criteria used to determine if you are eligible for a service pension.
     
    For an Australian post World War 2 veteran, qualifying service is:
    ·        limited service in minesweeping and bomb-disposal operations; or
    ·        allotment to and service in the operational area as described in Schedule 2 of the VEA during the specified period; or
    ·        having rendered warlike service; or
    ·        service on certain submarine special operations during the period 1978-92.
     
    Please refer to the section "What are qualifying service periods" below for details on dates and places of allotments and warlike service.
     
    What is allotment?
    Allotment is a formal process administered by the Department of Defence.  It is written confirmation by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that an ADF member has service in a particular area for a specified period.  It can be on an individual basis or as a member of a unit that is allotted.
     
    Who determines warlike service?
    This term is used by the ADF to categorise the type of service undertaken on a particular operation.  A written Instrument by the Minister for Defence determines warlike service.
     

    What are the qualifying service periods?

    Location Start date End date Operation
    Afghanistan 11 October 2001 ongoing Slipper
    18 April 2003 30 June 2004 Palate
    27 June 2005 ongoing Palate II

    Cambodia 20 October 1991 7 October 1993
     
    East Timor 16 September 1999 23 February 2000 Faber & Stabilise
    16 September 1999 10 April 2000 Warden
    20 February 2000 19 May 2002 Tanager
    20 May 2002 17 August 2003 Citadel

    Gulf War of ‘90/’91 2 August 1990 9 June 1991
     
    Iraq 13 January 1993 19 January 1993 Damask VI 
    18 March 2003 22 July 2003 Falconer
    30 June 1991 12 January 2003 Jural
    11 August 1991 15 December 1996 Provide Comfort
    31 August 1992 12 January 2003 Southern Watch & Bolton
    1 January 1997 12 January 2003 Northern Watch
    21 July 2008 ongoing Riverbank
    16 July 2003 31 July 2009 Catalyst
    1 January 2009 ongoing Kruger

    Korea 27 June 1950 19 April 1956
     
    Kuwait & Iraq 23 February 1991 9 June 1991
     
    Lebanon 12 July 2006 14 August 2006 Paladin 

    Libya 31 March 2011 31 October 2011
     
    Malaya 29 June 1950 31 August 1957
     
    Malaya and Singapore 1 September 1957 31 July 1960
     
    Malay-Thai border 1 August 1960 16 August 1964
     
    Malaysia – Brunei & Singapore 17 August 1964 30 September 1967
     
    Namibia 18 February 1989 10 April 1990
     
    North East Thailand 31 May 1962 27 July 1962 Ubon only
    25 June 1965 31 August 1968 including Ubon

    Red Sea 13 January 1993 19 January 1993
     
    Rwanda 25 July 1994 16 January 1996 Tamar

    Sabah & Sarawak & Brunei 8 December 1962 16 August 1964
     
    Sierra Leone 15 January 2001 28 February 2003 Husky

    Somalia 20 October 1992 30 November 1994
     
    Vietnam 31 July 1962 11 January 1973
      12 January 1973 29 April 1975
    Australian Embassy Guards and RAAF evacuation personnel in Vietnam

    Yugoslavia 12 January 1992 24 January 1997
     
     

    How do I confirm qualifying service?

    You need to lodge a Form D2673 Application to Determine Qualifying Service by a Veteran or Mariner which is available from your local DVA Office or can be downloaded from the DVA website at http://www.dva.gov.au/dvaforms.
     
    You can have your qualifying service determined at any time even if you are not going to immediately apply for any related benefits such as a service pension.
     
    What supporting documents are required?
    With your application you should send in certified copies of any documents that support your claim, such as a discharge certificate.  The Department of Defence will provide us with your service documents.
     
    What is a certified copy?
    A certified copy is a copy of an original document that has been signed and dated by a Justice of the Peace, medical practitioner, person in charge of a Post Office or other authorised person.  You can also have copies certified at any DVA office.
     
    Disclaimer
    The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position, e.g. retirement, on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.
     
    Other Factsheets
    Other Factsheets related to this topic include:
    ·        IS 01 Service Pension Overview
    ·        IS 56 Qualifying Service Overview
    ·        IS 65 Service on certain submarine special operations, 1978 – 1992
     

    More information
    All DVA Factsheets are available from DVA offices, and on the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au.
     
    You can phone DVA on 133 254 or free call 1800 555 254 if you are outside a major city.
     
    Note: *  Use a normal landline phone if you can.  Mobile phone calls may cost you more.
     
    You can send an email to DVA at:  GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au.
  • 28 Mar 2014 08:13 | Deleted user

    DVA Factsheet IS56
    Qualifying Service
    Qualifying Service Overview

     
    Overview
    This Factsheet is about qualifying service under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).  It outlines the criteria for qualifying service in varying circumstances.
     
    What is qualifying service?
    Qualifying service is defined in the VEA and is one of the criteria used to determine if you are eligible for a service pension.  Qualifying service for a service pension is different from operational service for a disability pension.  You may be eligible for a disability pension but not be eligible for a service pension.
     
    As a member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), you may have qualifying service if you:
    ·         rendered service during World War 1 or World War 2 and incurred danger from a hostile force (this criterion also applies to Australian mariners); or
    ·         served in an operational area after WW 2 and were allotted for duty, or were a member of a unit that was allotted for duty in that operational area; or
    ·         have warlike service; or
    ·         served on certain submarine special operations between 1978 and 1992 and were awarded, or were eligible to be awarded,  the Australian Service Medal with the Special Operations Clasp; or
    ·         have been awarded, or were eligible to be awarded, a medal/clasp listed in the ‘Bomb Clearance or Minesweeping Clasp’ paragraph below.
     
    Commonwealth or allied veterans may have qualifying service if they served prior to 12 January 1973 and incurred danger from a hostile force.  If a Commonwealth veteran was awarded, or was eligible to be awarded, a campaign medal they may also have qualifying service.
     
    Under certain conditions, some civilians who served during World War I or World War 2 may have qualifying service.
     
    Allied mariners may have qualifying service if they were detained by the enemy, or were awarded, or were eligible to be awarded, a campaign medal and incurred danger from hostile forces.
     
    What is incurred danger?
    A veteran incurs danger when he or she is at risk or in peril of actual bodily harm from hostile forces.  Danger is not incurred by merely perceiving or fearing danger.  It is an objective test of facts.
     
    What if I was awarded a Bomb Clearance and Minesweeping Clasp?
    You may have qualifying service if you were awarded, or were eligible to be awarded, the Naval General Service Medal or the General Service Medal (Army and Royal Air Force) with:
    ·         the Minesweeping 1945-51 Clasp
    ·         the Bomb-Mine Clearance 1945-53 Clasp
    ·         the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-49 Clasp; or
    ·         the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-56 Clasp.
    However you must be a ‘veteran’ and not simply possess the clasp.
     
    What are allotted for duty and assigned for duty?
    For certain conflicts after World War 2, qualifying service is:
    ·         being allotted to and serving in an area described in Schedule 2 of the VEA, during the specified period; or
    ·         being assigned for duty and serving in an area (or on an operation) determined to be warlike.
     
    Allotment is a formal process administered by the Department of Defence.  It is written confirmation that an ADF member has service in a particular area for a specified period.  It can be on an individual basis or as a member of a unit that is allotted.
     
    Being assigned for duty is assignment of an ADF member, by the ADF, to the operational commander.
     
    For service to be recognised as qualifying service you must not only have been allotted or force assigned for service in the area, but you must have served in the area to which you were allotted or force assigned.
     
    What is warlike service?
    This term is currently used by the ADF to categorise the type of service undertaken on a particular operation.  A written Instrument by the Minister for Defence determines warlike service.
     
    How do I confirm qualifying service?
    You need to lodge a Form D2673 Application to Determine Qualifying Service by a Veteran or Mariner.  DVA forms can be obtained by contacting your nearest DVA office or through the DVA website at http://www.dva.gov.au/dvaforms.
     
    You can have your qualifying service determined at any time, even if you are not going to immediately apply for any related benefits such as a service pension. 
     

    What documents are required?
    With your application you should send in certified copies of any documents that support your claim, such as a discharge certificate.
     
    What is a certified copy?
    A certified copy is a copy of an original document that has been signed and dated by a Justice of the Peace, medical practitioner, person in charge of a Post Office or other authorised person.  You can also have copies certified at any Department of Veterans’ Affairs office.
     
    Disclaimer
    The information contained in this factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position, e.g. retirement, on the basis of information contained in this factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.
     
    Other Factsheets
    Other Factsheets related to this topic include:
    ·         IS 57 Australian, Commonwealth and Allied World War 2 Veterans
    ·         IS 61 Australian Mariners
    ·         IS 64 Allied Mariners
    ·         IS 58 Australian Post World War 2 Veterans
    ·         IS 62 Commonwealth and Allied Post World War 2 Veterans
    ·         IS 65 Service on certain submarine special operations, 1978 – 1992.
     
    More Information
    All DVA Factsheets are available from DVA offices, and on the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au.
     
    You can phone DVA on 133 254 or free call 1800 555 254 if you are outside a major city.
     
    Note: *  Use a normal landline phone if you can.  Mobile phone calls may cost you more.
     
    You can send an email to DVA at:  GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au.
  • 28 Mar 2014 07:30 | Deleted user

    DVA Factsheet IS01
    Service Pension and Income Support Supplement
    Service Pension Overview

     
    Purpose
    This Factsheet explains what a service pension is, what the eligibility criteria are, and provides information on associated benefits.  For more information on specific topics contact DVA.
     
    What is a service pension?
    A service pension provides a regular income for people with limited means.  A service pension can be paid to veterans on the grounds of age or invalidity, and to eligible partners, widows and widowers.  It is subject to income and assets tests.
     
    The age service pension paid to veterans who have qualifying service and the partner service pension paid to eligible partners, widows and widowers, are paid earlier than the age pension paid by Centrelink.  This is in recognition of the intangible effects of war that may result in premature ageing of the veteran and/or loss of earning power.  Invalidity service pension may be granted at any age up to the age pension age.
     
    The service pension is paid fortnightly, based on daily entitlements.  The rate of service pension is adjusted twice-yearly, in March and September, in line with movements in the cost of living and/or average wages.
     
    Who is eligible?
    A service pension is payable to eligible veterans, their partners and widows and widowers.  For service pension purposes, a veteran is a person who has qualifying service (refer to the next section ‘Eligibility for veterans’).
     
    Eligible veterans include:
    ·   Australian Veterans
    ·   Commonwealth Veterans
    ·   Allied Veterans
    ·   Australian Mariners
    ·   Allied Mariners
    ·   Members, Former Members, Declared Members covered under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).
     

    Eligibility for veterans
    You are eligible for the service pension if you are a veteran who:
    ·   has qualifying service undefined generally, that is, has served in operations against the enemy while in danger from hostile forces of the enemy; and
    ·   meets the residency requirements undefined that is, is a resident of Australia and is present in Australia at the time of lodging the claim for service pension (additionally, Commonwealth Veterans and allied Veterans and Mariners must have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years, although there can be some exemptions);
     
    And you are either:
    ·   of service pension age (see the section titled ‘What is pension age?’ in this Factsheet); or
    ·   permanently incapacitated for work (for more information refer to Factsheet IS44 Age and Invalidity Service Pension).
     
    A service pension may not be payable because of your income and assets, even if you are eligible (refer to the section titled ‘Income and assets tests’ in this Factsheet).
     
    Eligibility for current partners
    Partner service pension may be paid to partners who are:
    ·   legally married to and living with a veteran; or
    ·   living in a de facto relationship with a veteran;
    and in both cases above, the veteran is receiving or is eligible to receive the service pension.
     
    Partners are eligible if:
    ·   they are qualifying age (refer to the section titled ‘What is pension age?’ in this Factsheet); or
    ·   they have dependent children; or
    ·   the veteran receives the special rate (Totally and Permanently Incapacitated) disability pension; or
    ·   the veteran is receiving, or eligible to receive, a Special Rate Disability Pension under the MRCA; or
    ·   they are 50 years of age or over and the veteran receives an above general rate (AGR) disability pension.
     
    For detailed information regarding qualifying age and eligibility for partner service pension, refer to Factsheet IS45 Partner Service Pension.
     
    Eligibility for former partners
    Partner service pension may be paid to former partners who are legally married to, but separated from a veteran.
     
    Former partners are eligible if they meet the age or exemption criteria and the veteran is receiving, or is eligible to receive, the service pension.

    Partner service pension can only be paid to a separated spouse for 12 months from the date of separation unless:
    ·   they have reached social security age pension age before they had been separated for 12 months; or
    ·   special domestic circumstances apply.
     
    Special domestic circumstances are where the veteran has a psychological or mental health condition recognised by DVA and there was an unsafe or abusive domestic environment in respect of the partner or the partner’s family prior to separation.
     
    A former partner is not eligible to receive partner service pension if they enter into a de facto relationship with another person.  Eligibility also ceases if the former partner and the veteran divorce.
     
    For detailed information regarding eligibility for former partners, please refer to 
Factsheet IS45 Partner Service Pension.
     
    Eligibility for widows and widowers
    If the widow or widower of a veteran was receiving partner service pension immediately before the veteran's death, he or she continues to be eligible for that pension.
     
    There are a number of other circumstances in which a widow or widower of a veteran who has rendered qualifying service is eligible for partner service pension.  For more information refer to Factsheet IS45 Partner Service Pension.
     
    What is pension age?
    The pension age for a male veteran who has qualifying service and the qualifying age for a male partner is 60.
     
    Pension age for a female veteran who has qualifying service and qualifying age for a female partner is being raised by six months every two years, so that by 1 January 2014, female and male pension and qualifying ages will be the same.  The table below shows when females qualify.
     
    Female
    Date of Birth
    Pension/Qualifying Age
    Before 1 July 1952
    59
    1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953
    59.5
    1 January 1954 and later
    60
     
    From 1 July 2017 age pension age (non-veteran) will increase by six months every two years until it reaches 67 on 1 July 2023.  This will not affect people born before 1 July 1952.

    Service pension and age pension
    You cannot receive a service pension from DVA as well as an age pension or any other social security pension or benefit (except Family Tax Benefit).
     
    How do you claim service pension?
    To claim for a service pension you need to:
    ·   complete the Form D0503 Claim for Service Pension Part A – Eligibility, or Form D0504 Claim for Service Pension by a Partner, a former partner or Widow or Widower Part A – Eligibility; and
    ·   complete any other forms in relation to your personal, residential and financial circumstances; and
    ·   provide us with sufficient documentation to prove your identity.  Refer to Factsheet DVA06 Proving your identity to DVA – Proof of Identity (POI); and
    ·   provide us with your tax file number.
     
    To apply for the service pension, contact DVA, where an application form will be tailored to suit your circumstances.  Application forms are also available from some ex-service organisations, such as the RSL.  For more information on claiming service pension please refer to the Form D0503/4B About Claiming Service Pension.
     
    Rates of service pension
    There are two different rates of service pension:
    ·   a singles rate undefined payable to single pensioners, widows, widowers and former partners who are legally married to a veteran but are separated (not divorced)
    ·   a couples rate undefined payable to each member of a couple who are living together, whether legally married or living in a de facto relationship.
     
    If only one member of a couple receives a service pension, the couples rate of pension is paid.  If a couple separate because of ill-health or during a period of respite care, each member of the couple may be paid at the singles rate, however the couples rate of ordinary income free area and assets value limit applies.
     
    If you are a veteran and you also receive a war widow(er)’s pension, the maximum amount of service pension you are entitled to is limited to $241.50 per fortnight.
     
    Income and assets tests
    The amount of service pension you receive depends on your income and assets.  The pension is calculated under two separate tests, the income test and the assets test.  The test paying the lower rate of pension is the one that is applied.
     
    You can have a certain amount of income and assets, and still receive the maximum rate of pension.  These limits are known as the ordinary income free area and the assets value limit.

    There are two ordinary income free areas:
    ·   the singles income free area
    ·   the couples income free area.
     
    There are four assets value limits:
    ·   singles who own their home
    ·   singles who do not own their home
    ·   couples who own their home
    ·   couples who do not own their home.
     
    Income or assets above the ordinary income free area or assets value limit reduces the amount of service pension payable.  The service pension ceases to be paid when income or assets exceed certain cut-off limits.
     
    If you are a member of a couple, you are both treated as if you each receive half your combined income and you each own half your combined assets, regardless of who actually receives the income or owns the assets.  Therefore, you are both paid the same rate of pension.
     
    Note:   For pension purposes, superannuation products are not counted as income producing or an asset until the person who owns the superannuation reaches pension age or makes a withdrawal from the investment.  For more information about the assessment of superannuation, refer to Factsheet IS91 Managed Investments.
     
    If you are considered to be blind, the service pension is paid free of the income and assets tests and at the maximum rate.  For more information refer to Factsheet IS147 Blind Pensioners.
     
    What is the work bonus?
    The work bonus is an incentive to encourage older pensioners who are able, to continue working.  Under the work bonus rules, the first $250 of employment income earned per fortnight is excluded from the income test.
     
    Example:        A work bonus eligible pensioner receives wages of $600 per fortnight. When their income is calculated for the income test, the first $250 is disregarded, so the assessable wages income is $350.
     
    Additionally a work bonus bank has been introduced to enable eligible pensioners to accrue any unused amounts of the $250 fortnightly exemption to a maximum of $6,500.  Any credit in this ‘bank’ can then be used to offset employment income that would otherwise be assessable in the future.
     
    To be eligible you must be over qualifying age/pension age (refer to the section titled ‘What is pension age?’ in this Factsheet).  For more information on Work Bonus refer to Factsheet IS99 Work Bonus.
     
    Giving away assets or income
    You can give away assets up to:
    ·   $10,000 each financial year; or
    ·   $30,000 over a rolling five-year period.
     
    These limits apply to singles and couples.  If you give away more than either limit, the excess amount will be counted as an asset under the assets test, and will be deemed to be earning income under the income test for 5 years from when the assets were given away.
     
    If you give away assets above the limits in the 5 years before your service pension is granted, the excess amount will be counted as an asset and will be deemed to be earning income for up to 5 years from when the assets were given away.
     
    These rules apply when:
    ·   you give away money or property
    ·   you transfer money or property to, for example, a family member.
     
    However, these rules do not apply to the sale or use of assets to meet ordinary or extraordinary expenses such as ongoing living expenses, unusual medical expenses, a holiday, home improvements or a new car.
     
    If you choose not to receive income (for instance, you choose not to receive a foreign pension to which you are entitled) in order to obtain:
    ·   a pension; or
    ·   a higher rate of pension;
    then we will still count that income as if you were actually receiving it.
     
    What if you have too much income or too many assets?
    If you have a high level of income or assets that prevents you from receiving the service pension under either the income or the assets test, you may be able to receive service pension through the Pension Loans Scheme.  For more information refer to Factsheet IS116 Pension Loans Scheme.
     
    If your income is within the limits that would allow you to receive payment of the service pension, but your assets exceed the cut-off limit, you may qualify under the hardship provisions.  For more information refer to Factsheet IS117 Financial Hardship.

    What if you have too much income or too many assets? continued
    If your income is within the limits that would allow you to receive payment of the service pension, but your assets exceed the cut–off limit, you may be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.  For more information refer to Factsheet IS126 Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
     
    Tax file number
    You need to provide your tax file number to DVA.  If you do not have a tax file number and are not eligible for an exemption you will need to apply for a tax file number through the Australian Taxation Office.
     
    Pension Supplement & Allowances
    There are a number of allowances payable to eligible pensioners:
    ·   pension supplement  undefined payable to all service pensioners, to help with the cost of prescriptions, rates, telephone and internet connections, energy, water and sewerage
    ·   rent assistance undefined payable to service pensioners who pay private rent for their accommodation, subject to minimum rent limits
    ·   remote area allowance undefined payable to service pensioners who live in designated remote areas of Australia
    ·   clean energy supplement undefined payable to service pensioners to help with the cost of living impact of the carbon price.
     
    Note:   DVA does not pay Family Tax Benefit.  If you have dependent children you should contact the Family Assistance Office for any enquires about the payment of Family Tax Benefit.
     
    What happens when your claim is decided?
    If you are a veteran, DVA will determine your qualifying service and other eligibility.  If you and/or your partner are eligible, DVA will work out how much service pension you will be receiving, depending on your income and assets.  When a decision has been made you will be notified by letter.  This will include the date of grant and amount of service pension you will receive.  You will also be notified of your obligations as a service pensioner.  Your Pensioner Concession Card will be issued at the same time.
     
    DVA will also tell you if you are eligible for a Gold Card for treatment (see the section ‘Health care’ of this Factsheet).  If you are eligible, the Gold Card will be posted separately 4–6 weeks later.
     

    What if you are not happy with the decision?
    If your claim for a service pension is not approved, or you are not happy with the rate of the service pension, you have the right to ask that we review the decision.  You may apply to have the decision reviewed by a Review Officer.  If you decide to apply for a review, you must do so within 3 months of receiving the letter notifying you of our decision.  Your request for a review must set out in writing your reasons for seeking the review.
     
    If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the Review Officer’s decision, you may apply in writing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of that decision.  Your application should set out the reasons for your appeal and should be lodged with the Tribunal within 3 months of the date you receive the Review Officer’s decision.
     
    Pensioner Concession Card
    All service pensioners receive a Pensioner Concession Card.  This card entitles pensioners to a range of Australian Government, State and local government benefits and concessions.  These concessions vary from State to State, and are determined by the authorities providing the concessions.  For more information refer to Factsheet IS125 Pensioner Concession Card.
     
    Note:   If a person is participating in the Pension Loan Scheme to obtain a substitute for the pension and is not otherwise entitled to a rate of pension, they are not entitled to the additional benefits associated with receipt of a pension such as a Pensioner Concession Card.
     
    Health care
    DVA issues one of three health cards to eligible veterans and war widows and widowers, providing health care at the expense of the Department:
    ·   the Gold Card undefined treatment and health services for all conditions
    ·   the White Card undefined treatment and health services for specific conditions only
    ·   the Orange Card undefined pharmaceutical benefits for eligible Commonwealth and allied veterans and mariners.
     
    Veterans who served with the Australian Defence Forces may be eligible for the Gold Card when granted the service pension if they:
    ·   receive service pension only and have income and assets within certain treatment benefit limits; or
    ·   receive any amount of service pension plus a disability pension of 50% or more of the general rate ; or
    ·   are permanently blind; or
    ·   have an impairment from one or more service related injuries or diseases that constitutes at least 30 impairment points under MRCA.
     
    Regardless of any service pension granted, persons may be eligible for the Gold Card if they are:
    ·   veterans who receive a disability pension at 100% of the general rate or higher (i.e. Extreme Disablement Adjustment, Intermediate Rate, T&PI, TTI)
    ·   veterans receiving an additional amount for a specific disability
    ·   veterans granted a disability pension for pulmonary tuberculosis before 2 November 1978
    ·   ex-prisoners of war
    ·   war widows and widowers
    ·   World War II ex-service women with Qualifying Service
    ·       World War II veterans and mariners aged 70 and over who served in the Australian Defence Forces and who have qualifying service from that conflict
    ·       veterans who have an impairment from one or more service related injuries or diseases of 60 or more permanent impairment points under MRCA
    ·   veterans eligible for the Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP) safety net payment under MRCA.
     
    Partners are not eligible for health care at the expense of the Department.
     
    For more information on eligibility for the Gold Card, refer to Factsheet HSV59 Eligibility For the Repatriation Health Card undefined For All Conditions (Gold).
     
    For more information on using the Gold Card, refer to Factsheet HSV60 Using the Repatriation Health Card undefined For All Conditions (Gold).
     
    For more information on the White Card, refer to Factsheet HSV61 Repatriation Health Card – for Specific Conditions (White).
     
    For more information on the Orange Card, refer to Factsheet HSV69 Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange).
     
    Is your service pension taxable?
    Most service pensions are considered income for taxation purposes and are therefore taxable.  However, a service pension granted on the grounds of invalidity is not a taxable pension until the person reaches social security age pension age.  The partner service pension, received by the partner of an invalidity service pensioner, is also non-taxable until the veteran or the partner reaches age pension age.  Partner service pension paid to a former partner is taxable.
     
    If your pension is taxable, you will receive a Payment Summary (previously called a group certificate) from DVA at the end of each financial year. Generally speaking, if the service pension is the only income you receive, you will not have to lodge a tax return.
     
    The following are not taxable:
    ·   pension supplement (except for the basic amount)
    ·   clean energy supplement
    ·   veterans supplement
    ·   seniors supplement
    ·   service pension allowances
    ·   disability pension and allowances; and
    ·   war widow(er)’s pension.
     
    Your obligations
    As a service pensioner you have a responsibility to keep us informed of changes that may affect the amount of pension you receive.  These responsibilities are described in our Factsheets and letters to you as ‘obligations’.
     
    In order to meet your obligations, you need to tell DVA within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) if:
    ·   your residential situation changes
    ·   your relationship status changes
    ·   you receive the maximum rate pension and your income exceeds the ordinary income free area and/or your assets exceed the assets value limit
    ·   you receive a reduced rate pension and your income and/or assets exceed the limits stated in our most recent letter to you about your service pension
    ·   you move or travel overseas
    ·   there is any other change that would affect the rate of your service pension.
     
    Fulfilling your obligations within the specified time period assists us in maintaining your correct rate of service pension.
     
    Can you apply for an increase in your service pension?
    Yes.  If you receive a reduced rate of pension, you may apply for an increase in your rate of pension any time there is a change in your circumstances.  You can do this by contacting us by phone, in writing or in person.
     
    Financial information
    We can provide information on how your particular financial circumstances, or future financial decisions, might affect your service pension.  To arrange an appointment contact DVA.
     

    Centrelink Financial Information Service
    Centrelink runs a dedicated Financial Information Service (FIS) which is also free to DVA pensioners.  This service provides confidential independent information about financial investments - for example, what is available, analysis of investment products, taxation implications and general information on financial planning.  FIS Officers provide information to people over the telephone, at personal interviews, or through financial seminars.  They do not recommend any particular type(s) of investment, prepare financial plans or give financial advice.
     
    For more information:
     
    Centrelink FIS   132 300
     
    Arranging your affairs
    It is advisable to keep all your important papers, such as wills, birth certificates, and mortgage papers, in a safe place known to family and friends.  A folder containing information to assist you in arranging your affairs, called Planning Ahead undefined A Guide to Putting Your Affairs in Order, is available from DVA or ex-service organisations such as the R&SL or Legacy.
     
    Bereavement payments
    Additional financial assistance, in the form of a bereavement payment and/or a funeral benefit, may be provided.
     
    For more information, veterans and their families eligible under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) should refer to Factsheet BR04 Bereavement Information.
     
    Veterans eligible under the MRCA should refer to Factsheet MRC18 Bereavement Payments.
     
    Freedom of information
    Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 you may seek access to information about yourself.  This means that you can look at your personal files held by DVA and ask for copies of documents.
     
    You need to apply in writing and there is an application fee of $30.00.  However, the fee does not apply if the documents you need relate to claims for, or increases in, your pension.
     

    Privacy
    The Privacy Act 1988 governs the collection and handling of personal information by Australian Government agencies, including DVA, and the process is overseen by the Privacy Commissioner to ensure the rights of individuals are protected.
     
    Disclaimer
    The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position, e.g. retirement, on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.
     
    Other Factsheets
    Other Factsheets related to this topic include:
    ·   CEP01 Clean Energy Supplement
    ·   IS16 Pension Supplement
    ·   IS46 Income Support Supplement
    ·   IS30 Pension Rates, Limits and Allowances Summary
    ·   IS160 Overview of Cards Available to Veterans and Their Dependants
    ·   IS15 Health Care Eligibility for Service Pensioners
    ·   DVA06 Proving your identity to DVA – Proof of Identity (POI)
    ·   MRC46 Medical Treatment.
     
    More information
    All DVA Factsheets are available from DVA offices, and on the DVA website at: www.dva.gov.au.
     
    You can phone DVA on 133 254 or free call 1800 555 254 if you are outside a major city.
     
    Note:  *       Use a normal landline phone if you can.  Mobile phone calls may cost you more.
     
    You can send an email to DVA at:  GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au.
     
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