Claims for cadets and their officers and instructors

Last updated: 
20 January 2020

This page explains when members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Cadets, Officers of Cadets (OOCs) and Instructors of Cadets (IOCs) are covered for rehabilitation, treatment and compensation under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). It also explains the types of benefits that are available where a cadet is injured, contracts a disease or dies as a result of cadet service on or after 1 July 2004.

Who is a Cadet, an Officer of Cadets and an Instructor of Cadets?

The ADF Cadets is a community based, youth development program aimed at youths between the ages of 12 ½ and 20 years of age. Defence Service Chiefs appoint suitable adult volunteers as OOCs and IOCs to supervise and control the training program for, and the activities of, ADF Cadets. A person may not be appointed an OOC unless they have reached 19 years of age. Officially appointed OOCs and IOCs are paid a Cadet Force Allowance based upon the equivalent service rank. However, persons who provide support to ADF Cadet activities as 'Approved Helpers' are not appointed as Cadets, Officers of Cadets or Instructors of Cadets, and are not covered under the MRCA. Coverage for 'Approved Helpers' is available through Comcare.

When are Cadets, Officers of Cadets and Instructors of Cadets covered under the MRCA?

All members of the ADF Army, Navy and Air Force cadets, OOCs and IOCs are covered under the MRCA for injury, disease or death related to cadet service on or after 1 July 2004. This includes injury, disease or death:

  • sustained while travelling between home and the place where they undertake cadet service, including parades, camps, etc;
  • to which cadet service on or after 1 July 2004 has made a material contribution; or
  • which is aggravated by cadet service.

What types of benefits are available if a Cadet, Officer of Cadets or Instructor of Cadets suffers injury or disease as a result of cadet service?

The MRCA provides a range of benefits, depending on the cadet’s particular circumstances and needs. Some of these benefits include:

  • permanent impairment (lump sum) compensation;
  • incapacity benefits (due to an inability or reduced ability to work);
  • rehabilitation (both vocational and non-vocational);
  • medical treatment; and
  • household and attendant care services.

A needs assessment will be conducted where compensation is payable to assess the cadet’s needs so that the full benefits to which they are entitled are provided. For further information, please see Needs Assessment

What types of compensation are available if a Cadet, Officer of Cadets or Instructor of Cadets dies?

Compensation for the dependants of a deceased cadet, OOC or IOC may be provided where:

  • the death is accepted as related to cadet service on or after 1 July 2004;
  • the cadet, OOC or IOC was entitled to Special Rate Disability Pension at some point before his or her death; or
  • the cadet, OOC or IOC was entitled to maximum permanent impairment compensation immediately before his or her death.

Regardless of the circumstances of the death, bereavement payments may also be available to some dependants. Assistance with funeral costs may also be provided even if a cadet, OOC or IOC dies leaving no dependants.

Are there any differences between the benefits available to Cadets and those available to permanent force members and reservists?

All ADF members can receive the same range of benefits. To ensure that cadets, OOCs and IOCs who are incapacitated for work receive incapacity payments that reflect fairly the earnings they have lost, their civilian earnings (and in the case of OOCs and IOCs, their cadet pay and/or ADF pay) can be taken into account in assessing the level of their incapacity payments. Special rules apply to cadets who cannot work or study at all because of their service injury or disease and were not working or were only in casual employment at the time of the incapacity. In these circumstances, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission looks at each cadet’s situation individually to determine the degree of economic loss they are suffering and the level of incapacity payments payable.

What about medical treatment for Cadets, Officers of Cadets and Instructors of Cadets?

Before DVA can assist with meeting any costs associated with medical treatment, it is necessary to lodge a claim for acceptance of liability for the injury or disease under the MRCA and for it to be determined that there is liability to pay compensation for that injury or disease.

In some instances where the cadet, OOC or IOC suffers severe impairment as a result of their service, treatment is provided for all conditions, whether accepted as service related or not.

How do I go about claiming MRCA benefits for a Cadet?

Where the cadet is under 18, a claim can be made by the person with primary responsibility for the daily care of the cadet (e.g. the cadet’s parent, foster parent, step parent or guardian). For information on how to lodge a claim, please see How to Make a Claim under the MRCA

To whom is compensation paid

Until the cadet turns 18, compensation is paid to the person who made the claim. Payments can be made directly to the cadet once they reach age 18.