General Rate

Last updated: 
21 January 2020

This page provides a brief description of the General Rate of disability pension under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).

What is the General Rate of disability pension?

A disability pension is paid to compensate veterans for conditions caused or aggravated by war service or certain defence service on behalf of Australia.

The General Rate is the scale of compensation that takes into account the medical impairment and lifestyle effects of a condition. It does not have regard to whether or not a veteran is employed. The initial assessment of pension follows automatically after a condition is accepted as war or defence caused.

If you cannot work because of your accepted condition/s you may be eligible to receive a pension at the Intermediate Rate, Special Rate (commonly known as Totally and Permanently Incapacitated – TPI pension), or Temporary Special Rate (commonly known as the temporarily totally incapacitated – TTI pension). These payments are further described in Special and Intermediate rates.

If you are aged 65 or over and are severely incapacitated due to your accepted conditions, you may be entitled to an Extreme Disablement Adjustment. This pension is described in Extreme Disablement Adjustment.

How is the General Rate of disability pension determined?

The way that your pension is determined is complex and depends on your degree of incapacity due to your accepted conditions. Generally, the higher your degree of incapacity, the higher the rate of pension you will receive.

The General Rate is paid in 10% multiples up to the maximum rate payable per fortnight. For information on the current rates of General Rate of disability pension payable under the VEA, see Disability Pension and War Widow(er)’s Pension Rates and Allowances.

If compensation for the same incapacity is received from another source an adjustment will be made to the amount of disability pension paid to ensure that you are not compensated twice for the same incapacity. For more information, refer to Disability pension and compensation offsetting.

How do I apply for a pension or an increase in my rate of pension?

Information on how to apply for a disability pension is provided in Apply for the disability pension under the VEA. This page also provides information on how to apply for an increase on your rate of pension if you believe your accepted condition/s have worsened, and/or you have developed further conditions which you believe are war or defence caused.

How do I apply to have my decision reviewed?

If you do not agree with the assessment of the rate of your disability pension you can appeal to the Veterans’ Review Board for a review of the decision.

Time limits apply for lodging appeals. The procedure on how to appeal is included in the Department’s notification of its decision on pension rate. For more information, refer to Your rights to review an unsuccessful VEA claim.

More about the pension

Pension rates are indexed twice yearly. The General Rate is indexed in a similar manner as the service pension, that is, with reference to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI). Any increases from indexation are paid automatically, you do not need to contact the Department.

Disability pensions are not taxed. You do not need to declare it as income in your tax return.

A disability pension is not counted as income for the service pension income test. However it is counted as income when assessing eligibility for rent assistance (an addition to the service pension) and for working out how much rent assistance is to be paid.

The disability pension is counted as income for the Age and Disability Support pensions and other benefits claimed under the Social Security Law. However, the Defence Force Income Support Supplement (DFISA) may be paid to you if your Centrelink income support payment is reduced or not payable because of adjusted disability pension. 

Energy Supplement

Energy Supplement may also be payable to disability pensioners.