Claim processing times

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As more veterans access our services, we have seen a big increase in the number of compensation claims. We are working on reducing wait times. Find out what to expect.

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2021–22 Financial Year

Table 1: 2021–22 financial year claims lodged, determined and liability acceptance rate
Claims lodged Claims determined Acceptance rate for liability conditions**
63,853 53,380 73.2%
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2022–23 FYTD* (at 31 December 2022)

Table 2: 2022–23 financial year to date claims lodged, determined and liability acceptance rate
Claims lodged Claims determined Acceptance rate for liability conditions**
33,946 31,084 71.0%
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Total claims^ in the backlog

Table 3: Total claims in the backlog
Claim type Number as at
31 October 2022
Number as at
30 November 2022
Number as at
31 December 2022
Change from previous month
Liability
(DRCA, MRCA, VEA)
32,951 32,323 31,632 -691
Permanent Impairment
(DRCA, MRCA)
11,268 11,442 12,231 +789
Incapacity
(DRCA, MRCA)
592 647 754 +107
Total 44,811 44,412 44,617 +205

* Financial year to date (FYTD): from 1 July 2022 to 31 December 2022.

** Acceptance rate for liability conditions; of the initial liability conditions that were decided between 1 July 2022 and 31 December 2022, 45% were lodged via MyService. The acceptance rate for those conditions was 75%, which is higher than the overall acceptance rate (71%) for the same period.

^ Total claims is the total count of individual claims. It is not a count of individual clients. Veterans are able to lodge any number of claims and may submit claims across a number of claim types, such as Liability and Permanent Impairment.

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How long it takes

The time it takes to process a claim depends on how complex it is. It also depends on how quickly we receive all the information we need.

Where things are at

In the month of December 2022 we:

  • have made 4,552 decisions on claims
  • are currently working on 26,969 claims
  • have received claims from 3,929 veterans
  • have 30,087 veterans whose claims haven’t yet been allocated to a decision-maker (this is known as our claims backlog)
  • have 48,842 veterans with claims lodged.

To reduce processing times and address the backlog of claims, we are:

  • improving our processes
  • recruiting and training more staff
  • checking when we receive a claim for signs a veteran may be at risk so we can prioritise their claim or offer extra support
  • checking claims when we receive them so we can ask veterans for any information that is missing while their claim is waiting to be allocated
  • keeping veterans informed about how their claims are progressing and what they can expect
  • following up on any information that we still need.

What to expect

The table below shows the average time each type of claim is taking to process. This is based on the claims decided between 1 July 2022 and 31 December 2022.

Go to the Key terms explained section for more detail on the terms used in the table.

Table 4: Claim processing times
Type of claim Average total number of days to decide a claim Average number of days to allocate to a decision maker Average number of days between allocation to a decision maker and the decision being made
MRCA Initial Liability 405 293 108
DRCA Initial Liability 427 230 181
MRCA Permanent Impairment 251 101 138
DRCA Permanent Impairment 236 76 148
MRCA/DRCA Incapacity Payments 98 18 79
War widow(er)’s pension 86 Not available Not available
VEA Disability Compensation Payment 445 222 203

Note: The table above shows the average time taken to process. Claims will take a variety of times to complete based on whether or not the claim is prioritised for allocation to a decision maker and the complexity of the claim itself. For example, if the service of the individual crosses two or more Acts or contains a lot of health conditions and injuries or both. This results in some claims being decided faster than the average in the table above, while some claims take longer.

Source: Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran and Family Services Group

What you can do

For any condition, to make the claiming process smoother, follow these 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Get your medical practitioner to confirm your diagnosis.
  • Step 2: Supply the documents you need to.
  • Step 3: Check if you are already eligible for free health care and treatment.

If you are unsure about whether to claim a certain condition, many ex-service organisations have advocates who are trained to help. You can use the Advocate Register to find one near you.

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Why processing times vary

Some claims also take longer than others because they are complex. Complex claims might:

  • include multiple conditions
  • relate to more than one Act
  • need significant investigation into the condition itself or what caused it.

The single most effective step you can take to speed things up is to provide all the information we might need when you lodge your claim, or as soon as possible afterwards.

This includes making sure that you and your doctor complete all relevant sections of any claim you submit.

If we don’t have everything we need when we are processing your claim, there will be a delay. We might have to ask you, your medical provider or Defence for the information that’s missing and then wait until we receive it. This takes time. Contact us or an advocate if you’re not sure what documents you need to support your claim.

Find out more about:

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Why the number of claims has increased

We are completing more claims each year, but the number of claims we are receiving continues to rise. Some of the reasons for this are that we have:

  • made it easier to claim online using MyService
  • connected with veterans who were previously unaware of our services, such as through the Veterans’ Recognition Program, mobile service centres and social media
  • expanded some services to include veterans and serving members with at least one day of continuous full-time service.
  • serving members who are more aware that it’s important to claim for injuries when they happen and to claim all conditions before they transition out of Defence.

Trends in claims over time

Go to Appendix A: Veteran and claims statistics, DVA Annual Report 2020–21 and the Statistics about the veteran population to get information on:

  • the number of claims we’ve received over recent years
  • conditions that are being claimed
  • compensation claims on hand, and
  • other related data.
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Key terms explained

Here are some definitions to help you understand the claims data in the tables.

Acceptance Rate

The percentage of conditions accepted in proportion to those decided

Average

Also called the mean, average refers to the sum of processing days for all claims decided, divided by the total number of claims decided. It is provided for a specific period, such as a month or the financial year to date.

Backlog

The backlog is the number of claims that are not currently being processed, ie have not been allocated to a decision-maker.

Claim

A claim is a veteran’s request that we accept liability or pay compensation for an injury or disease that was caused or made worse by their service. A claim can include multiple conditions. Veterans can lodge any number or type of claim.

Condition

A condition is any injury or disease that a veteran has claimed was caused or made worse by their service. This claim could be under any of the 3 Acts.

FYTD

Financial Year To Date – period of time from 1 July in the current year to the reporting date.

The 3 Acts

Veterans’ service is covered by 3 Acts, known as the MRCA, VEA and DRCA. Which Act you are covered by will depend on the service that relates to your injury or disease. As a general rule, if your condition relates to service:

  • after 1 July 2004, then the MRCA will apply
  • before 1 July 2004, then either the VEA, the DRCA or both will apply
  • that spans 1 July 2004, then one or more of the VEA, DRCA and MRCA will apply.

For information on the 3 different Acts, go to the:

Time taken to process

This is the length of time taken for a decision to be made on a claim from the time we receive it.

Types of claim

Find out about the different types of claim.

Initial liability / liability

Under the MRCA and the DRCA, an initial liability claim can be made for a service-related injury, disease or death. One claim can include multiple conditions. Once we receive a complete claim, we will consider the evidence provided. We will use that evidence to decide whether or not to accept that the condition is service related.

Permanent impairment and incapacity

Once we have accepted that a condition is service related, we work out compensation payments based on the effects of that condition. Types of compensation that might be payable include incapacity compensation, permanent impairment under MRCA and permanent impairment under DRCA.

Permanent impairment compensation is a payment for functional loss caused by a service-related condition.

Incapacity compensation is a payment for reduced capacity for service or work caused by a service-related condition.

Disability Compensation Payment

This compensation can be claimed under the VEA. It is a fortnightly payment for the effects of injuries and diseases related to service. The Disability Compensation Payment was formerly called the disability pension.

War widow(er)’s pension

This is a fortnightly payment. It is made to the partner of a veteran where the veteran’s death was related to service or other eligibility criteria were met before the veteran died.

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