How to claim income support supplement

Last updated: 
17 January 2020

This page explains how to claim an income support supplement, a payment made under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).

What is income support supplement?

Income support supplement (ISS) provides a regular income in addition to the war widow’s or widower’s pension or the wholly dependent partner's payment for Australian war widows and widowers with limited means. The payment is subject to income and assets tests.

ISS is paid fortnightly, based on daily entitlements. The rate of ISS is reviewed twice-yearly in March and September, in line with movements in the cost of living and/or average wages.

Refer to Income Support Supplement Overview.

How do I become eligible for income support supplement?

To be eligible for ISS you must:

  • be an Australian war widow or widower; and
  • be an Australian resident; and
  • be in Australia at the time of lodging the claim;

or

  • be a war widow or widower; and
  • be living outside of Australia; and
  • be receiving a service pension or a social security pension; and
  • would, if that pension were cancelled, be eligible for ISS.

What do I need to do to claim ISS?

If you are automatically granted war widow(er)'s pension or a wholly dependent partner payment and you and the deceased were both receiving service pension and/or age pension by DVA, then your service or age pension will be cancelled and ISS will be automatically grated if you satisfy the income and assets test.

If you are not automatically granted ISS and wish to make a claim, there are two ways of claiming income support supplement. These are:

To apply online;

  • go to the DVA website www.dva.gov.au and under the Online Services heading, select Online Claim
  • Under the Pension Applications heading, select Income Support Supplement
  • Read the instructions carefully then select the Start Application button and follow the prompts to complete your application.

To make a hard copy application:

The booklet D0529B About Claiming Income Support Supplement provides further information about claiming ISS.

You may be required to provide copies of documentation to support your application. For instance, you may be asked to provide copies of investment certificates, pay slips, rate notices, or tax returns. Each form will state the documents needed.

By completing all forms relating to your circumstances, and providing copies of the necessary documents, you will help to reduce the time it takes to process your application.

Completed claim forms, as well as any supporting documentation, should be lodged with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) within 3 months of the original request for forms. This will ensure that any pension payable can be granted from the earliest possible date. If your claim forms are not received within this 3 month period, the earliest date of grant may be the date the completed forms are received.

What if I need help filling out my forms?

If you need help filling out your application form, you can visit DVA for assistance.

Alternatively, ex-service organisations such as Legacy or the War Widows Guild have pensions and welfare officers who will be able to help you with your claim.

What if I am applying on the grounds of invalidity?

If you are claiming ISS because you are permanently incapacitated — that is, you are no longer able to work because of illness or injury or you are permanently blind — you may be required to undergo medical examinations to determine the extent of your incapacity.

You are permanently incapacitated for work if you have a level of impairment (from one or more conditions), which means that you are unable to work for more than 30 hours a week, for the following two years.

It is necessary that your inability to work arises solely out of your impairment, rather than (for example) the local employment market, your transport needs, or your family situation.

You may claim invalidity ISS at any age. If you are under age pension age, invalidity ISS is exempt from income tax. There is no advantage to claiming invalidity ISS if you have reached aged pension age.

See Social Security Age Pension Overview to work out when you reach age pension age.

We will tell you if you need to undergo medical examinations and will arrange these appointments for you. You should provide copies of any medical reports you have from your local doctor or specialist.

You may be eligible to claim reimbursement of travel expenses related to these medical appointments. For further information on how to claim reimbursement contact DVA

What does DVA do when I put in my claim?

DVA will determine if you are eligible and then work out how much ISS you will be receiving, depending on your income and assets. When a decision has been made you will be notified by letter. This will include the date of grant and amount of ISS you will receive. Your Pensioner Concession Card will be issued at the same time. If you were previously on a social security pension or benefit that was cancelled when your war widow’s or widower’s pension started, ISS may be payable on and from the date of grant of your war widow’s or widower’s pension, ensuring that you receive the maximum amount of income support available to you.

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