Family Support Package for widowed partners

Last updated: 
17 April 2020

This page explains the services that you might access if you are eligible for the Family Support Package under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

What is the Family Support Package?

The Family Support Package for widowed partners provides:

  • child care support for the children of MRCA veterans;
  • life skills/ counselling support; and
  • home help assistance.

Similar assistance is also available to MRCA veterans and their families under this package. For more information, please see:

Who is eligible to access assistance?

To be an eligible widowed partner, the following applies:

  • you were the partner of a veteran at the time of their death; and
  • the veteran had rendered warlike service on or after 1 July 2004; and
  • the veteran’s death was a suicide related to his or her service; or was a service death.

For child care support, you will also need to have been assessed for eligibility of Commonwealth child care requirements and that your child/ren meet the immunisation requirements for Commonwealth child care entitlements.

How can I access the Family Support Package?

If you are a veteran, you should discuss your needs with your DVA Rehabilitation Provider.

If you are a widowed partner of a veteran you should talk to our Coordinated Client Support (CCS) team. If you are not already working with the CSS team, contact us and ask for a referral.

Child care support

Who can access child care funding?

Eligible widowed partners can access childcare assistance under the Family Support Package.

An eligible child, for the purpose of receiving child care, must either be a biological child of the veteran, a step child of the veteran or an adopted child of the veteran.

Who can provide the child care?

Commonwealth approved child care providers can be used and providers can be found on Australia’s online child care website.

Child care provided through informal arrangements, such as care provided by family members or friends, cannot be funded through this initiative.

What are the payment arrangements?

Your Client Support Coordinator will work with you to identify the child care you need and liaise with the Family Support Package team to organise the payment arrangements with your nominated provider. A maximum limit applies within a financial year depending on the age of your child, and the scope of support will be determined by your needs. DVA is unable to provide reimbursement to clients for incurred expenses.

What about Commonwealth child care entitlements?

If not already assessed for the Child Care Subsidy, you are encouraged to undertake assessment for this entitlement to ensure you are eligible for this subsidy if/when funding support from DVA is exhausted or ends.

Life skills/Counselling support

Life skills and counselling support is intended to provide you with assistance you may want or need to manage challenging circumstances following the death of your partner.

What life skills/ counselling support is available?

The support provided is in addition to any services offered by Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling. The types of counselling could include short courses or skills focussed counselling including, but not limited to:

  • resilience development or grief and loss support
  • drug and alcohol, or gambling issues
  • personal, parenting or relationship skills
  • Mental Health First Aid Training
  • financial counselling and financial management support

Who can provide the support?

The services need to be provided by a professional with the appropriate qualifications, and where applicable, membership with a professional or industry body.

How many sessions can you access?

You can be provided with up to four counselling sessions (or short courses) each year for two years from the date of your partner’s death.

Immediate assistance

Immediate counselling assistance can also be provided by Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling, which provides a free and confidential 24 hour counselling service for eligible veterans and their families on 1800 011 046.

Home Help

Home help is intended to assist to ensure the proper running and maintenance of your residence, at a time when you may be assuming additional family responsibilities.

What home help support is available?

Home help services occur within and around your home. They generally include activities that:

  • occur on a regular or relatively frequent basis,
  • could otherwise have been undertaken by yourself or your partner, or
  • are unanticipated maintenance that is required to keep your residence safe.

Examples include:

  • Activities conducted within & around the home – eg: cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing; lawn mowing and garden maintenance;
  • Minor home maintenance repairs and tasks that can be undertaken by a handyperson; and
  • ‘Exceptional circumstance’ maintenance - repairs that are required to be completed within a short time frame to ensure the safety of your home.

The focus of home help is the provision of service (manual labour). Home help does not include work to develop a property, such as renovations or extension, nor the repair or maintenance of whitegoods.

Who can provide the home help services?

Home help services must be provided by a professional with an Australian Business Number and public liability insurance. Family members cannot be paid to provide home help.

Payment is made directly to the provider. Reimbursement to you may only be considered, subject to approval, where exceptional circumstances exist (relating to health and safety matters).

How many home help services are available?

Home help is capped at a maximum of $500.52 per week (Monday to Sunday). This weekly amount is not cumulative, and as such cannot roll over to subsequent weeks. You are responsible for any expenditure over this weekly limit.