How your VEA, DRCA and MRCA payments are protected

Last updated: 
24 January 2020

This page explains how your DVA payments are protected under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). Certain provisions under these Acts operate to prevent other people and/or agencies (third parties) from accessing your DVA payments before they are credited to your bank account.

How are my DVA payments protected?

Ordinarily there are a number of ways a third party can legally access a payment. This can occur through the use of a garnishee notice, a court order or other statutory notice. An order of this type requires all or part of a payment to be redirected to the third party who obtained the order.

However, if you receive a payment or benefit from DVA, section 125 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), section 112 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and section 425 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) operate to prevent third parties from gaining access to your payment before it is credited to your bank account.

For example, if DVA receives an order requiring it to pay money from a person's pension directly to a third party, the order has no legal effect. That is, DVA does not need to comply with the order and the full amount of pension continues to be paid into the entitled person's bank account.

*Note: - These provisions do not prevent third parties from pursuing the order once the payment is credited to your bank account. That is, once your payment or benefit is deposited into your bank account, the protection ceases and a third party may be able to access the payment through a garnishee notice, a court order or other statutory notice.

Are there exceptions to this rule?

Yes. If you owe DVA a debt, generally that debt can be recovered from any other type of DVA payment. Also, some DVA payments may be recoverable against certain Centrelink debts.

In certain circumstances, the Child Support Agency and Centrelink can also require DVA to make direct deductions from some VEA, DRCA and MRCA payments. This reflects the Australian Government policy that veterans, and other benefit recipients, should not be able to avoid their obligations under family law, child support or Centrelink's income management regime.

Centrelink can require DVA to make direct deductions from certain payments if:

  • you are subject to an income management regime under part 3B of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (the Social Security Act); or
  • you fail to comply with school enrolment and attendance requirements set out in Part 3C of the Social Security Act.

This means that the Child Support Agency and Centrelink can require DVA to make direct deductions from your VEA, DRCA or MRCA payment prior to it being deposited into your bank account and without your consent. The payments which may be accessed by the Child Support Agency and Centrelink are outlined in the table below.

Payment Type Child Support Agency Centrelink
Age Service Pension Yes Yes
Invalidity Service Pension Yes No
Partner Service Pension Yes No
Income Support Supplement Yes Yes
Veteran Payment Yes Yes
Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA) Yes Yes
Veterans' Supplement under section 188B of the VEA No Yes
Bereavement Payment No Yes
Advance payment under Part IVA of the VEA No Yes
Compensation payable under the DRCA and MRCA* Yes Yes

* Compensation payable under the DRCA and MRCA may also be accessed by a third party prior to it being credited to your bank account under the Maintenance Order (Commonwealth Officers) Act 1966 and as specified by regulations under the Family Law Act 1975.

Disability Pensions

The Child Support Agency and other third parties cannot require DVA to make direct deductions from your VEA disability pension. However, while disability pension payments are protected when they are in the possession of DVA, this protection ceases once the payment is deposited into your bank account.