Income support supplement

Last updated: 
26 March 2019

This page explains the eligibility criteria for the income support supplement (ISS).

What is income support supplement?

ISS is an income support pension paid to:

ISS is subject to an income and an assets test.

Who is eligible?

ISS can only be paid to eligible recipients of a war widow(er)’s pension payable under the VEA and a person who has received or is receiving wholly dependent partners’ compensation under the MRCA.

ISS is not payable if you receive compensation in respect of your deceased partner’s death other than as an Australian war widow(er) under the VEA, or as a wholly dependent partner under the MRCA.If you do not receive a war widow(er)’s pension or wholly dependent partner payment, you should contact your nearest Centrelink office to find out if you are eligible for an income support pension under social security legislation.

To be eligible to claim ISS you must be:

  • an Australian resident; and
  • in Australia at the time of lodging your claim;

or

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

What does Australian War Widow or Widower mean?

Under the VEA an Australian war widow(er) is a person whose partner was:

  • a member of the Australian Defence Forces whose death is the result of an injury or disease that has been accepted as being war or defence-caused under the VEA or that has been accepted under the MRCA; or
  • an ex-prisoner of war; or
  • receiving a disability pension at the Special Rate; or
  • receiving the Extreme Disablement Adjustment; or
  • receiving the Intermediate Rate; or
  • receiving a disability pension at an increased rate due to being a double amputee; or
  • at some point in their life, eligible for the Special Rate Disability Pension under the MRCA; or
  • assessed at 80 or more impairment points under the MRCA.

Can payment of ISS be backdated?

If the social security payment or benefit or partner service pension you were previously receiving is cancelled as a result of the commencement of your war widow(er)’s pension or MRCA compensation payment and you claim ISS, your ISS may be backdated to the grant date of your war widow(er)’s pension or the date your wholly dependent partner payment was paid or commenced.

Invalidity ISS

ISS may be granted on the basis of invalidity, if you are permanently incapacitated for work. Eligibility for Invalidity ISS is similar to Centrelink's disability support pension under the Social Security Act 1991.

The criteria are:

  • you are permanently blind in both eyes; or
  • you have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability; and
  • the disability(ies), are assessed at 20 points or more under the Impairment Tables in Schedule 1B of the Social Security Act 1991; and
  • you are unable to work for at least 30 hours a week for the next 2 years solely because of the disability(ies).

Invalidity ISS is a non-taxable payment until you reach age pension age. Your age pension age depends on your date of birth, see Social security age pension overview to work out your age pension age.

The income and assets tests

Income support pensions, including ISS, are subject to an income and an assets test. The rate of ISS that is paid depends on the amount of income you receive and the assets you have. Even though you may satisfy the other criteria for ISS, if you have a high income or a large amount of assets you may not be entitled to receive any payment.

*Note: If you are considered blind for ISS purposes, ISS is not subject to the income and assets tests.

Automatic grant of ISS

If you are granted war widow(er)’s pension or receive compensation as a wholly dependant partner under MRCA, and you had been receiving a partner service pension or a social security age pension paid by DVA, your partner service pension or age pension will be cancelled and you will automatically be granted ISS, providing you satisfy the income and assets tests.

If you are automatically granted ISS your assessment under the income and assets tests will be based on details already held by DVA. You will be advised of the income and assets used in calculating the amount of your ISS. If your income and assets differ from those advised, you should notify DVA of the correct details.

What if I do not qualify for an automatic grant of ISS?

You need to put in a claim for ISS if:

  • you are granted a war widow(er)’s pension or start to receive compensation as a wholly dependent partner under MRCA but had not been receiving a partner service pension;
  • you have previously been granted a war widow(er)’s pension but are receiving a ceiling rate age pension from Centrelink; or
  • you have previously been granted a war widow(er)’s pension or start to receive compensation as a wholly dependent partner under MRCA but are not receiving any income support pension.

If you are receiving a ceiling rate age pension from Centrelink it is to your advantage to transfer to ISS payment from DVA. The ISS ceiling rate is indexed twice yearly, whereas the equivalent income support payment from Centrelink is a frozen rate and will not increase.

You will have to give details of your income and assets, and you may have to provide evidence of your identity

If you are claiming because you are permanently incapacitated for work you will need to provide evidence from your doctor.

DVA can give you all the forms you need to make your claim. For more information refer to How to claim income support supplement