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The Next Stage — Making the change to civilian life

The text on this page can be downloaded as a full-colour brochure, The Next Stage — Making the change to civilian life (PDF 3.7 MB).

Cover of The next stage—Making the change to civilian lifeDVA is here for you

You might not need help now, but you might need it down the track, so it is important you are aware of the support and services you can access. DVA is here for you — please contact us to find out what we can do to help.

Planning your transition

DVA's On Base Advisory Service (OBAS)

If you are thinking about leaving the ADF, OBAS should be your first stop.

OBAS provides a DVA presence on more than 44 ADF bases nationally and offers information and advice about the support and entitlements that you might be able to receive through DVA.

DVA's advisors present at pre- and post-deployment briefs, at unit and commander briefs, and at Defence’s national Transition Seminars throughout the year.

To find out which bases are routinely visited by DVA, visit OBAS.

Stepping Out

Making the transition from military to civilian life can be a big change for you and your family. Stepping Out is a free, two-day program for all ADF members, and their partners, who are discharging from the ADF, or have discharged in the last 12 months.

The program focuses on transition skills including:

  • planning
  • motivation and adaption techniques
  • expectation and attitude management
  • maintaining relationships
  • learning where to seek professional support.

Visit Open Arms or call 1800 011 046.

Health services

Treatment for mental health conditions, whatever the cause

DVA pays for treatment for any mental health condition whatever the cause (related to service or not) and with no need for a compensation claim. This is known as 
Non-Liability Health Care.

Anyone who has been a member of the permanent ADF or has a period of continuous full-time service, even for as little as one day, is eligible for the treatment of any mental health condition.  It doesn’t matter when you served, how long you served, or the nature of your service.

To find out more visit Non-Liability Health Care.

GP health assessments

After you have discharged from the ADF (either from the permanent or reserve forces) you can access a one-off health check from your general practitioner (GP).

The health check has been specifically designed to help identify any physical or mental health concerns you may have, and to treat or refer you to other services.

A Medicare rebate is available.

Rehabilitation and compensation

Making a claim

If you have any health conditions you believe may have been caused by your service — from minor to serious injuries or illnesses — you should lodge a claim as soon as possible.

Even if you don’t need help now, finding out if your conditions are covered will make it faster and easier for you to access help in the future.

You can check your eligibility for compensation through the Entitlements Self Assessment wizard, and submit a claim through a DVA office or by registering online through the DVA website.

It is also a good idea to get copies of your medical records before you discharge to speed up your claim.

Rehabilitation support and services

An accepted claim with DVA entitles you to a tailored rehabilitation plan to get you back on your feet. Your plan may include support for securing civilian employment, managing your treatment and health conditions more effectively, and overcoming any barriers to building a new life outside the ADF.

Visit Rehabilitation

Invalidity benefit

If you are medically discharged from the ADF, you may also be able to access an invalidity benefit under military superannuation arrangements from the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

Visit Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

Qualifying Service

Certain operational service is also considered qualifying service, giving eligibility for a DVA Gold Card to cover all your health care services from age 70. Qualifying Service also gives you early access to the aged pension, and means that you may be eligible for Defence and DVA housing assistance schemes, to assist you in buying a house or getting insurance.

To find out more talk to an OBAS advisor or visit Eligibility (benefits and payments).

Help to buy a home

Leaving the ADF changes your Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme entitlement and may mean moving out of your Defence rental property or giving up rental assistance. Depending on your qualifying period of service and when you discharged from the ADF, you may be eligible for subsidised housing loans, home support loans and associated insurances.

Visit Loans and insurance and Separation, medical/ death, surviving partners

Mental health

Logo: Open Arms — Veterans & Families CounsellingOpen Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS)

Open Arms is a national mental health service that provides 24-hour, free and confidential, individual and family counselling, as well a group programs and suicide prevention training for current and ex-serving ADF members, and their family.

Transitioning personnel and their families should consider taking part in our Stepping Out Program or Life Style Management Program.

To get support or to find out more, call 1800 011 046 or visit Open Arms.

At Ease

The At Ease portal provides a suite of websites, apps and YouTube videos that offer self-help tools and advice about mental health and wellbeing for ex-service members and their families.

At Ease focuses on general mental health and wellbeing, PTSD, alcohol management and suicide prevention.

Visit At Ease.


While you're still serving, a specially trained OBAS advisor can provide you with information about DVA services and how to access them.

Visit OBAS

Contact DVA

Ex-service organisations

There are a number of ex-service organisations (ESOs) that offer a range of support, information and advocacy services, including help with DVA claims.

Visit Ex-service organisations

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