Overview of disability pensions and allowances

Last updated: 
29 March 2019

This page provides an overview of disability pensions and allowances available under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).

What is disability pension?

Disability pension is paid to compensate veterans for injuries or diseases caused or aggravated by war service or certain defence service rendered on behalf of Australia before 1 July 2004. It is a non-taxable pension.

Who is eligible for disability pension?

You may be eligible for a disability pension if you suffer from an injury or disease that is a result of service rendered:

  • in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in a war of conflict before 1 July 2004;
  • in the Australian Merchant Navy during the Second World War;
  • as a member of a specified peacekeeping force overseas;
  • in the ADF whilst undertaking service overseas before 1 July 2004 that has been designated as hazardous;
  • during the British Nuclear Tests program in Australia at prescribed nuclear test areas or whilst performing certain tasks during prescribed nuclear testing periods in the 1950s and 1960s;
  • as one of certain civilians who assisted the ADF in wartime before 1 July 2004;
  • in the ADF (after completion of 3 years qualifying period, unless medically discharged) from 7 December 1972 to 6 April 1994; or
  • as a National Servicemen on or after 7 December 1972, where you chose to complete your service obligation or were medically discharged.

You may also be entitled to a disability pension if you served with a Commonwealth or allied country and you lived in Australia before you enlisted.

*Note: - If you enlisted in the ADF before 22 May 1986 you can also claim for injuries or diseases resulting from service after 6 April 1994 up to 30 June 2004.

How much is the disability pension?

The amount of disability pension paid depends on the level of incapacity you suffer as a result of your war-caused or defence-caused injuries and diseases. Generally, the more incapacitated you are, the higher the amount of pension you will receive.

There are 4 'categories' of disability pension payable:

Generally, the disability pension will become payable from three months before the date a claim is received by DVA. This means that once your claim for a disability pension is granted, the pension will commence from the next pension pay day along with an arrears payment for the pension that was payable for up to three months prior to your claim being received.

For information on the current rates of disability pension payable, refer to Rates for the Disability Pension and War Widow(er)’s Pension.

How do I claim disability pension?

You need to lodge DVA Form D2582. DVA Forms are available from your nearest DVA office or on the forms page

For further information about how to lodge a claim and how claims are decided, please refer to Apply for the disability pension under the VEA

What is a disability pension allowance?

A disability pension allowance may be paid to pensioners to provide financial assistance, compensation or reward for valour.

Applications can be made under the VEA in respect of the following allowances:

  • attendant allowance;
  • clothing allowance;
  • decoration allowance;
  • loss of earnings allowance;
  • recreation transport allowance;
  • vehicle assistance scheme.

Attendant allowance

Attendant allowance may be paid to an eligible veteran to assist with the cost of an attendant to help with such things as feeding, bathing, dressing and other activities of daily living. The allowance is payable where a veteran has certain war or defence-caused amputations, blindness, or injury or disease affecting the brain and spinal cord system, or has a condition similar in effect or severity. 

Clothing allowance

Clothing allowance may be paid to an eligible veteran to help offset the cost of modifications, deterioration or damage, to clothing. The allowance is payable where a veteran has certain war or defence-caused amputations, blindness or disabilities that adversely impact the veteran's clothing.

Decoration allowance

Decoration allowance may be paid to a veteran who is eligible for a DVA disability pension and has received an eligible decoration.

Loss of earnings allowance

Loss of earnings allowance compensates an eligible veteran for salary, wages or earnings lost due to absence from work. This can be for treatment of war or defence caused disabilities or to attend certain appointments. It may also compensate the veteran's authorised representative or attendant who accompanies the veteran. 

Recreation transport allowance

Recreation transport allowance is paid to an eligible veteran suffering from severe war or defence-caused disabilities that affect mobility to promote access to recreational activities. The allowance is payable where a veteran has certain war or defence-caused amputations or blindness, or is handicapped to a similar extent to these disabilities. 

Vehicle Assistance Scheme

The Vehicle Assistance Scheme may assist an eligible veteran to purchase and modify a motor vehicle. The assistance may be provided where a veteran has certain service or war caused amputations, complete paraplegia, or a condition similar in effect or severity to certain amputations. A running and maintenance allowance is also payable to assist with the costs of vehicle registration, insurance and other incidental costs. 

How much are these allowances?

The allowances are paid at different rates. For details of the current rates of allowances, see Rates for the Disability Pension and War Widow(er)’s Pension

Energy Supplement

Energy Supplement may also be payable to disability pensioners. 

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