Who can claim under the DRCA
Find out about the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and who it covers.
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What is the DRCA
The DRCA covers certain ADF service before 1 July 2004. It provides treatment, rehabilitation and compensation for service-related injuries and conditions.
In 2017, the DRCA replaced the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) for ADF service. The entitlements under both Acts are the same.
The DRCA also covers payments and support for dependants following a death related to certain ADF service before 1 July 2004. Go to Comparison of benefits for dependants to find out more.Back to top
What service is covered
The DRCA covers:
- most peacetime ADF service between 3 January 1949 and 30 June 2004
- British Nuclear Test defence service
- hazardous and peacekeeping service between 3 January 1949 and 30 June 2004
- operational service between 7 April 1994 and 30 June 2004, including warlike and non-warlike service.
If your service is covered under more than one Act
Some service is covered by both the DRCA and the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA). If we accept an injury or condition under both Acts, we may need to reduce your VEA payments so that you won’t be compensated twice for the same condition. This is called compensation offsetting.
Payments that can be affected include:
- Disability Compensation Payment (formerly known as the disability pension)
- income support payments, such as the service pension.
Go to Disability Compensation Payment and compensation offsetting to find out more.
If more than one Act could apply to your claim, we will talk with you about your options. You can ask us to assess your claim under the VEA, DRCA or both. An advocate can help you with this decision. You may find it easier to claim online through MyService.
Service covered by both the DRCA and VEA
Your peacetime service is covered under both the DRCA and VEA if it was continuous full-time service (CFTS) between 7 December 1972 and 6 April 1994, but only if either:
- it was CFTS of 3 years or more
- you were engaged for at least 3 years of CFTS but served less than 3 years because you were medically discharged before 7 April 1994.
The period of CFTS may have started before 7 December 1972 as long as it finished on or after that date. Only the portion from 7 December 1972 will be covered under both the DRCA and VEA.
If you enlisted before 22 May 1986 and served full-time and continuously until at least 7 April 1994, the entire period of that CFTS between 7 December 1972 and 30 June 2004 is covered under both the DRCA and VEA. If this applies to you, and you later served another period of CFTS, only the period that started before 22 May 1986 is covered under both Acts.
If you were called up for a period of full-time national service in the Regular Army Supplement, and you completed the full period with an end date after 6 December 1972, you are covered under both the DRCA and VEA for your national service after 6 December 1972.
British Nuclear Test service is also covered under both the DRCA and VEA.
You may be covered under both the VEA and DRCA for service before 1 July 2004 that the Minister for Defence has declared to be:
- peacekeeping service after 6 December 1972
- hazardous service after 21 May 1986
- operational, warlike or non-warlike service after 6 April 1994.
Contact us if you have questions about whether your service is covered.Back to top
What service is not covered
The DRCA doesn’t cover:
- any ADF service before 3 January 1949
- any period of declared operational service before 7 April 1994.
These types of service are covered under the VEA.Back to top
What activities are covered
Service that’s covered may include:
- being at work or during an ordinary break (e.g. lunch)
- a direct journey between home and work
- Defence authorised and approved activities outside normal hours of duty, such as approved participation in sport
- undergoing approved Career Transition Training around the time of your discharge under an arrangement made by the ADF.
Who is covered
You are covered under the DRCA if you served as a member of the permanent ADF or reserve forces between 3 January 1949 and 30 June 2004.
Cadets and their officers and instructors are covered under the DRCA for service between 1 September 1971 and 30 June 2004.
You are also covered under the DRCA if the Minister declared in writing that, before 1 July 2004, you:
- held an honorary rank in the ADF
- were a member of a designated philanthropic organisation that provides services to the ADF
- were doing Career Transition Training under an arrangement made by the ADF.
A small number of civilians may be covered if they have been declared to be members of the forces by the Minister and do not have other compensation coverage.
Your family may get financial help if you die as a result of your ADF service.
Comparison of benefits for dependants details the benefits under the VEA, DRCA and MRCA.Back to top
Who is not covered
Most civilians are not covered.
Instead, you will have coverage under your existing statutory workers’ compensation if you are either:
- a civilian who supported the ADF
- a Commonwealth, state or territory government employee.
Where to get help
Contact us if you have questions about whether you can claim under the DRCA.
Find out about:
You can also nominate:
- a friend or family member to be our contact person for your claim
- someone you know and trust to act on your behalf for all DVA matters.
If you have nominated someone to act on your behalf, they can submit a claim for you online by registering for their own MyService account.
If you need counselling or support
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.
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 go to their website to get support or find out more.Back to top