What help you can get under the DRCA

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Find out about the payments and support you can get under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA).

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What is the DRCA

The DRCA applies to current and former ADF members. It covers certain service before 1 July 2004.  It provides treatment, rehabilitation and compensation for service-related injuries and conditions.

The DRCA also covers dependants following a death related to ADF service before 1 July 2004.

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The Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) also covers some service before 1 July 2004. You could be eligible under the VEA, the DRCA or both.

If you served after 30 June 2004, you may be eligible for support under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

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What you can get without claiming compensation

You may be able to get free mental health treatment without needing to lodge a claim for a mental health condition. For details and to find out if you’re eligible, go to Non-Liability Health Care (mental health) for veterans.

Depending on when you served and the nature of your service, we may also cover free treatment for cancer and pulmonary tuberculosis.

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How we can help while your claim is in progress

If you have claimed a mental health condition and cannot work more than 8 hours a week, we may be able to pay you a Veteran Payment while we assess your claim. It is an income support payment, so your income and assets affect how much you can receive. It is also available to partners.

If any injury or illness you claim is on our list of 20 most commonly accepted conditions, we can pay for treatment for that condition while your claim is in progress. This applies to claims submitted before 30 June 2024.

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What support you can get after your claim is accepted

If we decide that your injury or condition is service related, the next step is a needs assessment. This gives us a chance to consider how the condition impacts you and what support you need.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to access various payments and support.

Go to Compensation payment rates for DRCA and the Defence Act for current payment rates.

Permanent impairment payments

Permanent impairment (PI) payments compensate you for the lasting effects of an injury or condition. They are paid as a lump sum.

You can get this if:

  • we have accepted the condition as service-related under the DRCA
  • the condition has caused permanent impairment.

For more information, go to our page about permanent impairment.

Incapacity payments

Incapacity payments compensate you for not being able to earn as much income because of a service-related injury or condition. They are paid fortnightly.

We work out your incapacity payments based on the difference between:

  • what you were earning before your injury or incapacity
  • your current earnings or your ability to earn.

Because the amount that we pay depends on your current situation, it can change over time.

Find out more about incapacity payments and how we calculate them.


After we have accepted your claim, we will assess your rehabilitation needs. This includes your medical management, social support and vocational rehabilitation needs.

You may be able to get help with:

  • developing a tailored program to help you to reach your goals
  • aids, equipment and modifications to your home, vehicle and workplace so you can be as independent as possible
  • establishing a meaningful and fulfilling career outside the ADF
  • adjusting to your new circumstances and focusing on recovery.

Find out more about rehabilitation.

Veteran White Card

When we accept a condition as related to your service, we will send you a White Card that covers treatment for that condition. If you already have a White Card, we will add it to your list of accepted conditions.

Find out more about the kinds of treatment you can get at Veteran White Card.

Household and attendant care

You can get extra support if you need help at home because of a service-related injury or condition. This help can include:

  • house cleaning
  • gardening
  • laundry services
  • cooking
  • attendant care services such as bathing, dressing or feeding.

For further information, visit household and attendant care services.

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What support your dependants can get

Your family can get financial help and other support if you die as a result of ADF service.

Your dependants may be entitled to:

  • a lump sum compensation payment
  • an additional death benefit (payable under the Defence Act 1903)
  • a further lump sum for each dependent child (payable under the Defence Act 1903)
  • funeral expenses
  • reimbursement for the cost of getting financial advice when an additional death benefit is paid under the Defence Act 1903.

We may also make a weekly payment to your child. To be eligible, a child must have been either of the following at the time of your death:

  • aged under 16 years
  • between 16 and 25 years old in full-time education and not working full-time.

They must have also been dependent on you for economic support.

Find out more about benefits for dependants.

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