Service pension for partners

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Find out about partner service pension, who can get it and how to claim.

Go to Service pension for veterans for information on age and invalidity service pension.

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What is a partner service pension

The service pension provides a regular income to veterans and their partners. When paid to a veteran's partner, it is called a partner service pension.

You may be able to qualify as a current or former partner, or as a widow or widower.

A service pension is an income support payment, so your income and assets affect how much you can receive. If you are partnered, we assess your combined income and assets as a couple.

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Who can get it

You may qualify for a partner service pension if you are the:

  • current partner of a veteran who has qualifying service
  • former partner of a veteran who has qualifying service
  • widow or widower of a veteran who had qualifying service.

There are other requirements depending on your situation. The following sections contain more details about who is eligible.

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Current partners

You may be eligible if the veteran you are partnered to either:

Who counts as a partner

We consider you to be partnered if you and the veteran either:

  • are legally married and live together
  • live together in a de facto relationship
  • remain a couple but have to live apart due to illness.

If we need to clarify whether or not you are partnered, we consider whether you:

  • think of yourselves as a couple
  • share financial and household responsibilities
  • do social and leisure activities together
  • appear as a couple to the general community.

We may consider you to be partnered if some or all of those factors apply. Go to Your relationship status for more details.

Age requirements for current partners

To be eligible for a partner service pension you need to be at least 60, except in some situations.

You may be eligible from age 50 if your partner either:

The following rates of VEA disability pension count as AGR:

You may be eligible for a partner service pension at any age if one of the following applies:

If none of the above categories apply to you, and your partner has qualifying service but is not yet eligible for a service pension, you need to be Age Pension age.

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Former partners

If you have been receiving a partner service pension and your relationship with the veteran ends, your service pension will usually continue for 12 months. There are some exceptions, depending on your circumstances.

You can remain eligible for service pension indefinitely if either:

  • you reach Age Pension age within 12 months of your separation
  • special domestic circumstances apply.

Special domestic circumstances apply if the veteran has a mental health condition, and you or your family were in an unsafe or abusive domestic relationship before your separation. If this may apply to you, contact us.

If the above points do not apply, you will stop being eligible for partner service pension 12 months after the date of your separation.

If you enter a new relationship, you will stop being eligible for partner service pension immediately. The only exception is if you qualify as the current partner of a veteran in your new relationship. To keep receiving service pension, your combined income and assets as a couple would need to be below the cut-off limits.

If you weren’t receiving a partner service pension at the time of your separation, you can apply for one as a former partner. The age requirements are the same as for current partners. This means your eligibility may depend on which payment or payments your former partner receives.

What to do if your relationship ends

If you become single, you need to let us know so we can pay you correctly. We will need to remove your partner’s income and assets from your assessment. We will also need to change your pension to the single rate.

You may need to give us new bank account details to pay your pension into. If you have authorised your partner to communicate with us on your behalf, we can update your preferences to remove this authority.

For more information about how your relationship status affects your payments, visit Your relationship status.

Counselling and support

If you or someone else is in crisis and needs immediate help, please call:

  • Triple zero (000) if you feel like you may hurt yourself or someone else
  • Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046
  • ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line on 1800 628 036
  • Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14
  • 1800RESPECT, National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732.

Find more options at Receive urgent help and support.

In some situations, we may be able to pay you a crisis payment.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling is a free and confidential 24-hour service for current and ex-serving ADF members and their families. Call 1800 011 046 or visit their website to get support or find out more.

If you are no longer eligible for a partner service pension but need financial support, contact Services Australia to find out about Centrelink payments.

Legal and financial advice

For legal advice, you can contact Legal Aid in your state.

You can also contact legaladvice.com.au, an independent organisation.

A Financial Information Service is available through Services Australia to help you make informed decisions about your finances.

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Widows and widowers

If you were receiving a partner service pension immediately before the veteran’s death, you continue to be eligible regardless of your age.

If we grant you a war widow(er)’s pension, you will no longer be eligible for a service pension but you may receive an income support supplement instead.

If you were not receiving a partner service pension at the time of the veteran’s death, you can apply for one as a widow or widower.

You may be eligible if the veteran either:

  • was receiving, or was eligible to receive, a service pension
  • was registered as a member of the Pension Bonus Scheme (PBS)
  • had qualifying service, and you have reached Age Pension age
  • had made a claim for service pension which would have been granted if they had not died.

If you enter a new relationship, you will stop being eligible for partner service pension immediately. The only exception is if you qualify as the current partner of a veteran in your new relationship. To keep receiving service pension, your combined income and assets as a couple would need to be below the cut-off limits.

Age requirements as a widow or widower

You may be eligible from age 60 if, before the veteran’s death, you either:

  • were receiving a social security pension
  • had lodged a claim for partner service pension
  • were registered as a member of the PBS.

If you currently have a dependent child, you can apply as a widowed partner at any age.

In all other circumstances, you need to have reached Age Pension age.

What to do if you become widowed

When someone receiving a service pension dies, we may pay a bereavement payment to their surviving partner or estate. In some situations, we may also help with the cost of a funeral. Visit Bereavement payments for more information.

It is important to notify us of the death as soon as possible, so we can make sure your payments are correct. A family member, friend, representative or funeral director can notify us.

If you become widowed while receiving a partner service pension, your payments will change to the single rate.

Depending on the circumstances, we may automatically grant you a war widow(er)’s pension and replace your partner service pension with an income support supplement. If this does not happen automatically and you believe the veteran’s death was related to their service, you can apply for a war widow(er)’s pension. Go to Pension for orphans and war widow(er)s for details.

Our Planning ahead kit can help you and your family prepare for bereavement.

You can also contact Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling for support.

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How to apply

You can apply for a partner service pension online through MyService.

Using MyService means:

  • it is simpler and faster to submit your claim
  • you don't need to send us proof of identity documents
  • we can access the information we need quickly
  • there is no need to wait for documents through the post.

Find out how to register for MyService. If you need help to register, call us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372). To access MyService, sign in to MyGov.

If you prefer to use paper forms, contact us and we can send you the ones you need. There may be different forms to complete depending on your circumstances.

You can download the following forms:

Go to Forms to find others you may need.

Get help with your claim

Many ex-service organisations have advocates who are trained to help you submit your claim. You can use the Advocate Register to find one near you.

You can also contact us if you have questions about applying.

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Transferring from another payment

If you are receiving a Centrelink payment from Services Australia and become partnered to a veteran, you will need to notify Services Australia. If your partner receives a service pension, they will need to notify us.

You may be eligible for a partner service pension, which would replace your Centrelink payment. Go to Current partners for details about who is eligible.

We will need information about your combined income and assets as a couple. This is regardless of whether you actually share your finances. Go to Income and assets for more information.

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How much you can receive

How much you receive will depend on:

If you are permanently blind, you can receive the maximum rate of service pension regardless of your income and assets.

The following tables show the maximum you could receive each fortnight.

If you are partnered

Couples rate

Maximum per fortnight (each)

Service pension

$665.00

Pension supplement

$64.30

TOTAL

$729.30

If you are single

Single rate

Maximum per fortnight

Service pension

$882.20

Pension supplement

$85.30

TOTAL

$967.50

These rates are current from 20 September 2021 to 19 March 2022. Payment rates are reviewed every March and September, and adjusted in line with the cost of living.

Depending on your situation, you may also be eligible for:

If you receive a service pension, we will send you a Pensioner Concession Card.

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What can impact your payment

Your payment rate can change when your circumstances change. Things that are likely to affect your service pension include changes to your:

There are many other changes that can affect your payments. Go to What you need to tell us for more information.

Income and assets

The amount of partner service pension you can receive depends on your financial circumstances. You may receive:

  • the maximum rate, if your income and assets are below certain amounts
  • a partial rate, calculated based on your income and assets
  • no payment, if your income or assets are above the cut-off limits.

You need to let us know about any significant changes so we can keep paying you correctly.

To work out your payment rate, we use an income test and an assets test. The test that results in the lower rate of pension is the one we apply. See Income test and Assets test for details.

Relationship status

If you are partnered, we use your combined income and assets as a couple to work out your rate of service pension. We do this regardless of whether you actually share your finances.

If you live away from your partner due to illness, we may be able to pay both of you at the single rate.

If you are single, we assess your income and assets as an individual and pay you the single rate of pension.

See Your relationship status for details.

Living arrangements

If you are planning a change to your living arrangements and want to know how this might affect your payments, see Your property or accommodation. You can also contact us to discuss your situation. This may be helpful if you plan to:

You can also access Help to buy property or find accommodation.

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What you need to tell us

When you apply for a service pension, we collect information about your financial and other circumstances to work out how much we can pay you.

While you receive a service pension, you are obliged to keep us updated about any changes to your situation. Changes we need to know about include your:

  • financial circumstances
  • living situation
  • relationship status.

For details about the things we need to know, go to What you need to tell us about.

The amount of partner service pension you can get will always depend on your circumstances at the time. If you do not keep us informed about changes, we may pay you too much, and you will need to pay the extra amount back.

What you don’t need to tell us

You don’t need to tell us about minor everyday changes in your bank balances, or when you move money between your accounts.

We receive automatic updates about some types of income and assets. Get more information at The things you do not need to tell us about.

Contact us if you are unsure whether you need to tell us something.

Update us when your circumstances change

To avoid being overpaid, you must tell us about any changes to your circumstances within 14 days. If you live overseas or receive the remote area allowance, you must tell us about these changes within 28 days.

If a change results in a higher rate of service pension, we can only pay the higher rate once the change has occurred and you have told us about it.

It is important that you take time to understand your obligations. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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How to tell us about changes

You can tell us about changes to your circumstances:

  • online through MyService
  • by calling us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)
  • in person at a DVA VAN office
  • by writing to us at:
    Department of Veterans' Affairs
    GPO Box 9998
    BRISBANE QLD 4001

Set yourself a reminder

Savings can increase over time, resulting in a gradual change in your finances. It may be helpful to set yourself a 6-monthly reminder to provide us with:

  • updated bank balances
  • other income and asset changes.

You still need to tell us about significant changes within 14 days, or 28 days if you live overseas or receive a remote area allowance.

Get someone to act on your behalf

If you need help to keep us informed about your finances, you can nominate someone to act on your behalf. Once we have received your written authority, this person can contact us directly to let us know about any changes.

The person you nominate can register for their own MyService account to act on your behalf.

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Managing your finances

If you need financial advice, Centrelink runs a free Financial Information Service (FIS). This service provides information to all Australians on financial and lifestyle issues. Any personal information given to FIS officers is treated as confidential. You can contact the FIS on 132 300.

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