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Program 1.3: Assistance to Defence Widow/ers and Dependants


Deliver war widow/ers and Defence pensions, allowances and special purpose assistance to the dependants of veterans under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and related legislation including the payment of war widow/ers claims for compensation.


Deliver pensions, allowances and other support to war and Defence widow/ers under the VEA and related legislation, by processing new claims for the war widow/ers and other dependants' pension.

War widow(er)'s claims

There were 1,489 claims for war widow(er)'s pension received in 2016–17, compared to 1,663 claims in 2015–16.

In 2016–17, 1,328 war widow(er)'s pension claims were determined, with an acceptance rate of 71.8 percent, compared to 1,374 war widow(er)'s pension claims determined in 2015–16 with an acceptance rate of 60 percent. The number of claims on hand at 30 June 2017 was 104, compared to 221 at 30 June 2016.

The number of war widow(er) pensioners continued to reduce, and has dropped by 25.7 percent over four years, from 86,865 at 30 June 2013 to 64,500 at 30 June 2017.

Time taken to process

The mean time taken to process war widow(er)'s pension claims in 2016–17 was 47 days, compared to 49 days in 2015–16, against a target of 75 days.

The median time taken to process war widow(er)'s pension claims in 2016–17 was 24 days, against a target of 30 days.

The mean time taken to process section 31 reviews was 14 days in 2016–17, against a target of 40 days, compared to eight days in 2015–16. See Program 1.2 for further information on section 31 reviews.


The unit cost in 2016–17 is reported as the program staff and administration expenses (departmental) per war widow or widower. The average cost was $181 per war widow or widower in 2016–17, compared to the average cost of $157 in 2015–16.


DVA continues to work on improving performance by reinforcing policy and procedures and refining and improving staff training. Under the Improving Processing Systems Program, DVA is building a single R&C processing system. This system will include processing of war widow(er)'s pension claims and is expected to improve the quality of transactions.

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