Claims for reservists

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Australian Defence Force reservists can get compensation for medical conditions or deaths caused by their service. In some cases, reservists can also get treatment for mental health conditions without needing to link those conditions to service.

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Who we cover

All ADF reserve service gives you access to DVA entitlements. This includes both part-time service and full-time service. We sometimes refer to full-time service as ‘continuous full-time service’ (CFTS) if a reserve member has been formally appointed to full-time service by Defence.

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What entitlements you can get

Reservists get the same range of benefits as permanent force members. Having said this, we do have to use a different formula to work out incapacity payments for reservists.

The incapacity payment:

  • replaces any income a person loses because their medical condition affects how much they can work
  • amounts are based on the difference between your normal earnings (before your injury) and your actual earnings (after you are injured).

Reservists can be either full time or part time, and have incomes from both civilian work and ADF work. Because of this, we work out their normal and actual earnings in a different way from permanent force members.

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What if you get sick or injured

You can get compensation and treatment for any medical conditions your reserve service causes. This is also the case if reserve service causes a condition you already had to worsen.

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What mental health treatment you can get

If your reserve service includes a period of CTFS, we can pay for treatment of any mental health condition, whether or not it was caused by your service. If you don’t have any CFTS, you can still get this mental health treatment if you have done reserve service days that included:

  • Disaster Relief Service, such as Operation Vic Fire Assist
  • Border Protection Service, such as Operation RESOLUTE
  • Disaster Relief Assistance, such as Operation COVID-19 ASSIST
  • involvement in a serious ADF training accident.

This mental health treatment is also called non-liability health care (NLHC) because we provide it even though the medical condition is not related to service.

Accessing non-liability mental health treatment

If your reserve service includes a period of CFTS, you may automatically receive a Veteran White Card. This covers mental health treatment when you leave the ADF.

If you meet the eligibility criteria but do not have a White Card, you can apply for non-liability mental health treatment by:

  • going to our website online claim
  • submitting a request in writing, including via email to NLHC [at] dva.gov.au.

Getting out-of-pocket treatment expenses back

If you have privately visited a doctor for treatment, we can reimburse you for that cost if:

  • you have claimed compensation from us for that medical condition and we have accepted your claim
  • the treatment is of a kind and cost that we think is reasonable for that condition.
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How to make a claim

To make a claim, you can apply online through MyService.

Alternatively, you can complete a claim form. You can get these at your nearest DVA office or on our website.

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What services and support are available for family members

If a reservist dies because of their service, the following dependants can get compensation:

  • their partner
  • dependent children.

These dependants can also get compensation if both of the following apply:

  • The reservist’s death was caused by service after 30 June 2004.
  • The reservist already had a high level of service-related medical conditions before their death.

You can tell that the reservist has a high level of service-related medical conditions if they are receiving a Special Rate Disability Pension or the maximum rate of permanent impairment compensation.

Dependants of a reservist who has died might also be able to get bereavement payments and assistance with funeral costs.

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