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Factsheet MCS13 - How to claim benefits under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA)


This Factsheet briefly explains how to submit a claim and the benefits available under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and the Defence Act 1903.

What is the DRCA?

The DRCA is the compensation legislation that applies to members and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with service prior to 1 July 2004, and replaces the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) for ADF service.

Compensation coverage under the DRCA can be provided for injuries, diseases or deaths that are linked to most peacetime ADF service between 3 January 1949 and 30 June 2004 (which includes British Nuclear Test defence service) and for certain periods of operational service between 7 April 1994 and 30 June 2004, including warlike, non-warlike, hazardous and peacekeeping service.

Your entitlement to benefits under the DRCA will be exactly the same as those that were available under the SRCA. The DRCA replicates the SRCA and retains the provisions that applied to veterans, serving and former ADF members.

From 12 October 2017, all claims that were considered under the provisions of the SRCA (for conditions attributable to pre 1 July 2004 service) are now considered under the DRCA. All pre-existing claims under the SRCA are now treated as claims under the DRCA. There is no change to existing entitlements or the manner in which claims under the DRCA interact with claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) and/or the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) (for offsetting purposes).

The Defence Act 1903 provides additional benefits in DRCA cases involving severe injury or death due to service between 10 June 1997 and 30 June 2004.

All ADF service from 1 July 2004 onwards will continue to be covered under the (MRCA). For more information about MRCA, see Factsheet MRC01 Overview of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 204 (MRCA).

Who are ADF ‘members’?

The benefits available under the DRCA apply to the following ADF ‘members’ with service prior to 1 July 2004:

  • all members of the permanent ADF;
  • all members of the Reserve force;
  • all Cadets and Officers and Instructors of Cadets; and
  • people declared in writing by the Minister for Employment who:
    • hold an honorary rank in the ADF,
    • are members of philanthropic organisations that provide services to the ADF, or
    • are undertaking Career Transition Training under an arrangement made by the ADF.

How do I make a claim?

To lodge a claim, please fill out DVA Form D2020.  Ex-ADF members may obtain a form from the DVA website or from your nearest DVA office.

If you are still a serving member, you should formally report your injury or disease through your chain of command. Claim forms for serving members are available from your orderly room or ship’s office, or DEFWEB. If you are a serving member, your Service Medical Centre should hold your medical records.

When you have completed the claim form, you should send it and all requested documentation to your nearest DVA office. You should retain a copy of the claim form (and any documents you provided with it) for your personal records.

If you have not been able to obtain all the information or documents required, you should contact staff at your local DVA office. They may be able to help you obtain the necessary information.

Am I eligible for Veteran Payment?

If you are making a claim for a mental health condition under the DRCA (or the MRCA) are under age pension age and are incapable of working more than eight hours per week, you may be eligible for veteran payment.

Veteran payment provides interim financial support to veterans whilst they await the determination of their claim for a mental health condition. It is also available to partners.  Veteran Payment is subject to an income and asset test.

For further information please see Factsheet IS189 – Veteran Payment Overview.

What benefits are available?

Medical and other treatment expenses

The cost of treatment for your accepted conditions will generally be met through a DVA Health Card. The Australian Government will pay all reasonable medical, hospital, pharmaceutical and other treatment costs related to your compensable injury or disease. For further information, please see Factsheet HSV61 DVA Health Card - Specific Conditions (White).

Incapacity payments

If your claim for compensation is accepted and you are unable to work due to your injury or disease, you may be entitled to weekly compensation benefits based on your Normal Weekly Earnings (NWE). For serving members, this is the higher of your salary at the time of injury or at the onset of your incapacity for service. For ex-members, NWE is the higher of your salary at date of injury or what you were receiving at the time of discharge from the ADF. For further information, please see Factsheet MRC08 Incapacity for Work.

Permanent impairment lump sum

Permanent impairment is the measurable effect of an injury or disease on a part of the body or on a bodily system. If you suffer a permanent impairment from a condition linked to your service under the DRCA, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment of compensation. For further information, please see Factsheet MCS07 Permanent Impairment.

Rehabilitation and help to return to work

An assessment of your rehabilitation requirements, including your medical management, psychosocial and vocational rehabilitation needs, may be made after your claim has been accepted.

If your rehabilitation assessment indicates that you would benefit from rehabilitation, the assistance available to you may include:

  • the development of an individually tailored program to assist you to reach your rehabilitation goals;
  • the provision of aids, appliances and/or home, vehicle and workplace modifications to assist you to be as independent as possible;
  • help to establish a meaningful and fulfilling career outside the ADF; and
  • involvement in programs to help you adjust to your new circumstances, focus on recovery and to build a fulfilling life after your service related injury or disease.

For further information, please see Factsheet MRC05 Rehabilitation.

Household and attendant care services

You may be reimbursed for costs incurred if, as a result of compensable injury or disease, you require assistance with cooking, house cleaning, gardening, laundry or attendant care services, such as bathing, dressing or feeding. This reimbursement is subject to a maximum weekly amount. For further information, please see  Factsheet MRC41 Attendant Care and MRC42 Household Services.

What financial help will my family receive if I die as a result of my service prior to 1 July 2004?

Financial help is available to your family if your death is a result of ADF service. Your dependants may be entitled to:

  • a lump sum compensation payment for death;
  • an additional death benefit (payable under the Defence Act 1903);
  • a further lump sum for each dependent child (payable under the Defence Act 1903);
  • a weekly payment for those children who were dependent upon you at the date of death, and who are either under 16 years old, or are full-time students between 16 and 25 years of age who are not ordinarily engaged in employment on their own account;
  • funeral expenses; and
  • reimbursement for the cost of obtaining financial advice when an additional death benefit has been paid under the Defence Act 1903.

What happens if my service is on or after 1 July 2004?

As previously mentioned, the information contained in this Factsheet is relevant only for service prior to 1 July 2004. Injuries, diseases and deaths that are related to service on or after 1 July 2004 are covered by the MRCA and claims may be lodged under that legislation. For further information, please see Factsheet MRC01 Overview of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

Proof of identity

Proof of your identity must be obtained before any claim can be determined and any benefits or compensation can be paid to you under DRCA. For further information please see Factsheet DVA06 Proof of Identity Requirements.

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

 Phone: 1800 555 254 *


DVA Website:

Factsheet Website:

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Related Forms


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 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.

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12 September 2018