Qualifying service

Last updated: 
18 November 2020

Qualifying service is a criterion for getting a service pension. Having qualifying service also means that you can get the Veteran Gold Card when you turn 70 and can access the Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme.

What is qualifying service

Qualifying service is one of the criteria for getting a Service Pension.

Who has qualifying service

You may be considered to have qualifying service if you are any of the following:

  • an Australian veteran
  • an allied veteran
  • a Commonwealth veteran

You may have qualifying service if you served between 2 September 1939 and 29 October 1945 and are either:

  • a civilian who performed certain tasks in aid of the Australian war effort
  • a person regarded as a member of the Australian armed forces.  

There are different eligibility requirements for other conflicts. Depending on the conflict, to have qualifying service you may need to have served:

  • in operations against the enemy
  • in an operational area during certain time periods; and/or
  • at a time when you incurred danger from hostile forces of the enemy

When you are not eligible

You are not eligible for qualifying service if you have either:

  • served in the forces of a country, or allies of country, that was at war with Australia at the time of your service
  • engaged in hostile operations against Australia at the time of your service.

Qualifying service during the Second World War

You may have performed qualifying service if you served overseas between 2 September 1939 and 29 October 1945 (inclusive) and incurred danger from hostile forces of the enemy.

Service inside Australia

You may have qualifying service if you are an Australian veteran of the Second World War and served either:

  • for a continuous 3 months in the Northern Territory above 14.5 degrees south latitude. This covers service in and around Darwin during the period of Japanese air attacks
  • in other areas of Australia that were subject to enemy attack. You will need to provide a statement describing how you incurred danger from hostile forces of the enemy.
     

Qualifying service after the Second World War

You may have qualifying service from: 

  • a pre-1998 deployment overseas to an operational area defined in Schedule 2 of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) if you were allotted for duty on operations in that area;
  • a deployment which the Minister for Defence has declared to be warlike service 

Operations that may count as qualifying service are listed below in the Post Second World War Operations Table. Please note that the requirements and eligibility for benefits are different for Commonwealth and Allied veterans of post Second World War conflicts.
 

Qualifying service in bomb and mine clearance operations

You may have qualifying service if you were awarded the Naval General Service Medal or General Service Medal (Army and Royal Air Force) with one of the following medals or clasps:

  • the Mine-sweeping 1945-51 Clasp
  • the Bomb-Mine Clearance 1945-53 Clasp
  • the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-49 Clasp
  • the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-56 Clasp

Qualifying service on submarines between 1978 and 1997

You may have qualifying service if you served in submarine operations between 1978 and 1997 for which the Australian Service Medal (ASM) with Clasp Special Ops was awarded.

Post Second World War Operations Table

Listed in full in VEA Schedule 2 - Operational Areas.

Location

Start date

End date

Operation

Afghanistan

7 October 2001

31 December 2014

Operation Enduring Freedom

 

1 December 2001

31 December 2014

Operation Ariki

 

18 April 2003

5 July 2004

Operation Palate

 

17 July 2003

31 December 2014

Operation Athena

 

11 August 2003

31 December 2014

International Security Assistance Force

 

1 September 2004

31 December 2014

Operation Herrick

 

27 June 2005

10 March2017

Operation Palate II

 

1 January 2015

ongoing

Operation Highroad

 

28 April 2016

ongoing

Operation Augury

Cambodia

20 October 1991

7 October 1993

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 12

East Timor

16 September 1999

23 February 2000

Operations Faber and Stabilise

 

16 September 1999

10 April 2000

Operation Warden

 

20 February 2000

19 May 2002

Operation Tanager

 

20 May 2002

17 August 2003

Operation Citadel

Gulf War of 1990/1991

2 August 1990

9 June 1991

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 10

Iraq

23 February 1991

9 June 1991

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 11

 

30 June 1991

12 January 2003

Operation Jural

 

11 August 1991 

15 December 1996

Operation Provide Comfort

 

31 August 1992

12 January 2003

Operations Southern Watch and Bolton

 

13 January 1993

19 January 1993

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 15

 

1 January 1997

12 January 2003

Operation Northern Watch

 

18 March 2003

22 July 2003

Operation Falconer

 

21 July 2008

14 December2013

Operation Riverbank

 

9 August 2014

ongoing

Operations Okra (the operational area changes of time)

 

16 July 2003

31 July 2009

Operation Catalyst

 

1 January 2009

9 August 2011

Operation Kruger

  10 September 2018 Ongoing Operation Steadfast
Korea 27 June 1950 19 April 1956 VEA, Schedule 2, Item 1
Lebanon 12 July 2006 14 August 2006 Operation Paladin
Libya 31 March 2011 31 October 2011 NATO no-fly zone and maritime enforcement operation against Libya

Malaya

29 June 1950

31 August 1957

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 2

Malaya and Singapore

1 September 1957

31 July 1960

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 3

Malay-Thai border

1 August 1960

16 August 1964

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 5

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei 17 August 1964 14 September 1966 VEA, Schedule 2, Item 7
Mali 1 April 2020 Ongoing Operation Orenda

Middle East Area of Operations (actual area varies according to date of service)

11 October 2001

31 December 2014

Operation Slipper

Namibia 

18 February 1989

10 April 1990

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 9

North East Thailand

31 May 1962

27 July 1962

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 3A (Ubon only)

 

25 June 1965

31 August 1968

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 3B (including Ubon)

Rwanda

25 July 1994

16 January 1996

Operation Tamar

Sabah & Sarawak (now part of Malaysia) & Brunei

8 December 1962

16 August 1964

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 6

Sierra Leone

15 January 2001

28 February 2003

Operation Husky

Somalia

20 October 1992

30 November 1994

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 14

Syria

9 September 2015

ongoing

Operation Okra

Vietnam

31 July 1962

11 January 1973

VEA, Schedule 2, Items 4 & 8

 

12 January 1973

29 April 1975

Australian Embassy Guards and RAAF evacuation personnel in Vietnam

(Former) Yugoslavia

12 January 1992

24 January 1997

VEA, Schedule 2, Item 13

What you can get

You may be able to receive the Service Pension. If you are an Australian veteran you may also be able to receive other benefits.

How do I confirm my qualifying service

To confirm your qualifying service you will need to fill out either:

You will also need to fill out either:

You will need to provide us with documentation such as:

  • service records
  • a discharge certificate

All documents must be supplied as certified copies.

Important information

  • Qualifying service is based on actual hostilities. The dates that are accepted can differ from the formal dates of peace treaties and from the dates for operational service.

What other help is available

British Nuclear Test Defence Service under the Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986

Benefits and services available to ex-service personnel and other participants who were involved in the nuclear tests at Maralinga, Emu Field and Montebello Islands between 1952 and 1965.