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Chapter 1 — introduction

Who this guide is for?

This guide has been written for:

  • people who receive an income support payment from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA);
  • service pensioners, veteran payment recipients, social security age pensioners (paid by DVA), war widows and widowers and their families and carers;
  • representatives of ex-service organisations; and for others who act on behalf of, help or advise income support pensioners.

Compact Disc (CD)

This guide is available on CD, for people who have difficulty reading standard print. Please contact your nearest DVA office for a CD if you need one.

What this guide is about

The guide contains information about:

  • pensions, payments, services and benefits;
  • health, personal finances and lifestyle issues; and
  • your rights and obligations.

We hope that this guide will be a handy reference for you and your family. If you have any questions about your income support pension, your eligibility for other benefits or services or your obligations, use this guide as a starting point.

If the guide does not answer your questions, ring us or write to us at your nearest DVA office. 

Your obligations

As a person receiving a service pension, social security age pension (paid by DVA), veteran payment or an income support supplement, you have a legal obligation to keep us informed of changes that may affect the amount of pension you receive.

The obligations apply equally to the partners, trustees and agents of service pensioners, social security age pensioners (paid by DVA), veteran payment and income support supplement recipients.

We want to help you to understand what you need to tell us and what you don't. Many of you tell us more than you need to and we want to reduce any worry you may have about fulfilling your obligations.

In each chapter you will find that your obligations have been clearly and simply explained. Remember, fulfilling your obligations within the specified time period helps to ensure that your income support pension is paid at the right rate.

Specified time period

The specified time period in which you must tell us of changes that may affect your pension is as follows:

  • service pensioners, veteran payment recipients and war widows and widowers receiving the income support supplement – within 14 days of the event (or 28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance)unless otherwise stated
  • social security age pensioners (paid by DVA) – within 14 days of the event (or 28 days if living overseas) in all circumstances unless otherwise stated. (See Chapter 2 - Your obligations.)

The words we use

In this guide we use the following terms:

income support - the term ‘income support’ refers to those pensions, payments and allowances which are paid subject to a means test

income support pension - the term ‘income support pension’ includes the service pension, the social security age pension (paid by DVA), the veteran payment and the income support supplement paid to many war widows and widowers

reduced rate pension - a ‘reduced rate pension’ is an income support pension paid at less than the maximum rate

partner - the term 'partner' refers to a person who is a member of a couple. It means the other member of the couple and includes spouse and de facto (of the same sex or a different sex). It does not apply to a person who is living separately and apart from their spouse on a permanent basis.

veterans - includes mariners, members of Peacekeeping Forces and members of the Australian Defence Forces

war widows (er)s- the term 'war widows' refers to widows and widowers of veterans whose death has been accepted as related to war or defence service rendered before 1 July 2004

war widow's pension - this term refers to the pension paid to war widows and widowers


Further information about DVA benefits and services is available through our factsheets referred to in this guide. These are available at any DVA office or on the internet address

Who we are

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) serves Australia's veteran and defence communities, their widows, widowers and dependants through programs of care, rehabilitation, compensation, income support, commemoration and defence support activities

Ring us, write to us, visit us online or at any of our offices.

We are listed under Veterans’ Affairs in the telephone directory White Pages. Our telephone number is also on our website:

Whenever writing to us, include your DVA file number in addition to your full name and address. This helps safeguard your records and avoid confusion with people with a similar name.

You can update your personal and contact details as well as request a range of services through the MyAccount internet site. Call the DVA Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) on 1800 555 254 and request a MyAccount registration number. Complete your registration by visiting us on-line at

You can Contact DVA for more information.

Verbal advice

We make every effort to ensure that you are given accurate information, however, it is important that you seek written confirmation before making any major decisions based on verbal advice. For instance, ask us to confirm in writing the effect on your income support pension of making or withdrawing a significant investment before making a decision. We want to improve the level of service you receive and make this request as an added safeguard for you.


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