Pension supplement

Last updated: 
20 March 2020

This page explains what pension supplement is, who is eligible for it, how much it is and how it is paid. It is relevant to you if you receive a service pension or age pension or veteran payment from DVA.

This page is current from 1 July 2020 to 19 September 2020.

What is pension supplement?

Pension supplement is a fortnightly amount paid to help you with the cost of prescriptions, rates, telephone and internet connections, energy, water and sewerage. It is payable to:

  • service pensioners,
  • invalidity service pensioners;
  • partner service pensioners;
  • age pensioners;
  • veteran payment recipients; and
  • income support supplement (ISS) recipients.

You may also defer a portion of the fortnightly amount and have it paid to you quarterly.

Note: Veteran payment recipients are unable to have pension supplement paid quarterly.

How much is pension supplement?

The maximum fortnightly rate of pension supplement for service pensioners, invalidity service pensioners, partner service pensioners, age pensioners and income support supplement (ISS) recipients is:

  • $83.70 – single
  • $63.10 – partnered (each)
  • $83.70 – illness separated.

*Note: - These rates include Energy Supplement

The maximum fortnightly rate of pension supplement for recipients of veteran payment is:

  • $69.60 – single
  • $52.50 – partnered (each)
  • $69.60 – illness separated.

Veteran payment recipients will not receive Energy Supplement.

Your pension supplement may be reduced:

  • under the income and assets test;
  • if you move overseas;
  • if you travel overseas for more than six weeks; or
  • if you are single and enter a relationship.

If you are an Australian resident, the minimum amount of pension supplement you will receive for service pensioners, invalidity service pensioners, partner service pensioners, age pensioners and income support supplement (ISS) recipients is:

  • $51.50 – single
  • $38.80 – partnered (each)
  • $51.50 – illness separated.

*Note: - This includes Energy Supplement.

The minimum amount of pension supplement you will receive for veteran payment is

  • $37.40 - single
  • $28.20 - partnered (each)
  • $37.40 - illness separated.

Veteran payment recipients will not receive Energy Supplement.

What if I go overseas?

If you are travelling outside Australia temporarily, your usual rate of pension supplement may be payable for 6 weeks after departure from Australia.

If you are temporarily absent from Australia for longer than 6 weeks or you live overseas, you may, depending on your income and assets, receive pension supplement at the basic rate.

The basic rate of pension supplement is:

  • $24.20 – single
  • $19.90 – partnered (each)
  • $24.20 – illness separated.

How do I apply for pension supplement?

Your pension supplement entitlement is determined when you apply for your pension. You do not need to apply for it separately.

Is my pension supplement reduced if I don’t have a telephone or internet connection?

The same rate of pension supplement is payable regardless of whether you have a telephone or internet connection.

What is quarterly pension supplement?

Since July 2010 you have had the option to receive the minimum amount of your pension supplement quarterly, rather than fortnightly. The remainder of the supplement will continue to be paid fortnightly. If you choose the quarterly option, the amount of your payment each fortnight will be reduced by that portion, which will accrue and be paid to you at the end of the quarter. If you take no action, you will continue to receive your supplement fortnightly.

Who can receive the minimum pension supplement amount quarterly?

Service pensioners, ISS recipients and age pensioners paid by DVA can elect to receive the minimum pension supplement amount quarterly.

Pensioners whose rate of pension is determined by the transitional arrangements (pre‑September 2009 rules) also have the option to receive an amount equal to the minimum pension supplement amount in a quarterly instalment.

Members of a couple can elect to have different payment frequency.

Veteran payment recipients do not have the option to elect to receive the pension supplement amount quarterly.

What do I need to do to receive my pension supplement quarterly?

You can elect to receive the minimum pension supplement amount quarterly by contacting DVA by phone, request it in writing (by letter, email or fax), or visit a DVA office. If you choose to receive the payment quarterly it will commence accruing on a daily basis from the first convenient payday after we receive your request. You can also change back to a fortnightly payment at any time.

When is the quarterly pension supplement payable?

Quarterly pension supplement is payable on the first practical payday after the end of each quarter.

How is the quarterly pension supplement amount calculated?

The minimum pension supplement amount (the portion of the pension supplement that can be paid quarterly) accrues daily in relation to each day on which a quarterly election is in force.

The daily rate is calculated by dividing the annual minimum pension supplement amount by 364.

Will I get the same amount each quarter?

No, each quarter will vary because the number of days in the quarters are different.

Test Day Covers period Number of days
20 December 2019 20 September 2019 to 19 December 2019 91 days
20 March 2020 20 December 2019 to 19 March 2020 91 days
20 June 2020 20 March 2020 to 19 June 2020 92 days
20 September 2020 20 June 2020 to 19 September 2020 92 days

Depending on when you tell us you want to be paid quarterly, we will need to exclude any minimum pension supplement amount that has already been paid in your fortnightly payments since the last test day.

If you were granted pension part way through the quarter, or you were overseas and not eligible for the minimum pension supplement, we will adjust your payment for any days for which you were not eligible to receive the minimum pension supplement amount.

Is there any advantage in choosing quarterly payments?

Pension supplement entitlements are calculated daily, so there is no financial advantage or disadvantage in changing from quarterly to fortnightly payments.

However, you may find this option useful for budgeting purposes.

What happens if my pension or payment is cancelled?

If your income support pension or payment is cancelled, any minimum pension supplement amounts that have accrued for the quarter will be paid to you immediately.

Obligations

You have a responsibility to keep us informed of changes that may affect the amount of pension or payment and pension supplement you receive. These responsibilities are described in our letters to you as ‘obligations’, and apply equally to trustees.

In order to meet your obligations, you need to tell DVA within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) if:

  • your residential situation changes;
  • your relationship status changes;
  • you receive the maximum rate pension or payment and your income exceeds the ordinary income free area and/or your assets exceed the assets value limit;
  • you receive a reduced rate pension or payment and your income and/or assets exceed the limits stated in our most recent letter to you about your service pension, veteran payment or ISS;
  • you move or travel overseas; or
  • there is any other change that would affect the rate of your service pension, veteran payment or ISS.

Social security age pensioners (paid by DVA) have the same obligations, except that if you receive remote area allowance you need to tell us within 14 days, not 28 days.

Fulfilling your obligations within the specified time period assists us in maintaining your correct rate of service pension, income support supplement and veteran payment.