Service Pension for veterans

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Information about Service Pension Age and Service Pension Invalidity, who can get them and how to claim.

Go to Service Pension for partners for information on Service Pension Partner.

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What is Service Pension Age or Service Pension Invalidity

The Service Pension provides a regular income to veterans. You may qualify based on your age, or at any age if you are permanently incapacitated for work.

A Service Pension is an income support payment, so your income and assets affect how much you can receive.

We recognise that the impacts of service can reduce the length of time you are able to keep working. For that reason, you can get the Service Pension earlier than the Social Security Age Pension.             
 

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Who can get it

To qualify for Service Pension as a veteran, you need to:

You may qualify for either:

  • Service Pension Age if you are at least 60
  • Service Pension Invalidity if you are permanently incapacitated for work.

If you are partnered, your partner may also qualify for a Service Pension Partner.

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What is qualifying service

It usually means you have been in danger from hostile enemy forces. There are specific types of service that qualify. See Qualifying service for details.

You may qualify as an Australian, Commonwealth or allied veteran or mariner.

There are extra residency requirements for Commonwealth and allied veterans and mariners.

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Who can get Service Pension Age 

If you meet residency requirements and have qualifying service, you become eligible for a Service Pension once you turn 60.

You may be eligible but still not receive a payment if your income or assets are above certain limits.

Usually the Service Pension Age is simply called a Service Pension.

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Who can get Service Pension Invalidity

If you are a veteran with qualifying service and you are permanently incapacitated for work, you may be eligible for Service Pension Invalidity.

There is no need for your service to have caused your permanent incapacity. You do not need to have reached a certain age.

We will automatically consider you permanently incapacitated for work if one of the following applies:

If none of these apply, we need to assess whether you are permanently incapacitated for work.

We consider you to be permanently incapacitated if you have a significant physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment that meets all of the following:

We will let you know if we need you to attend a medical examination to help us assess your claim.

If you have already turned 60, you can still apply for Service Pension Invalidity. The Service Pension Age is taxable, but the Service Pension Invalidity is not taxable until you reach Social Security Age Pension age.

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How to apply

You can apply for a 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.

Note that if submitting a joint claim with your partner, your partner may need to provide additional POI documentation to support their claim if they have not had their POI verified via MyService previously.

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.

We need to confirm that you have qualifying service before you can apply for a Service Pension. If you don’t see an option in MyService to apply for a Service Pension, look for an option to apply for qualifying service.

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.

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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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When to apply

If you're not ready to apply for a Service Pension yet but want to find out whether you may be eligible, you can use MyService to:

  • ask us to confirm that you have qualifying service
  • let us know that you plan to claim a Service Pension so we can backdate your claim to the earliest date possible.

It may be worth contacting us if you plan to stop working soon, or will be turning 60, and you have questions about when to submit your claim.

You may be able to keep working and still receive some Service Pension. Using the work bonus, we may be able to disregard some of your earnings.

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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 single

Single rateMaximum per fortnight
Service Pension$1,020.60
Pension supplement$95.70
TOTAL$1,116.30

If you are partnered

Couples rateMaximum per fortnight (each)
Service Pension$769.30
Pension supplement$72.10
TOTAL$841.40

These rates are current from 1 July 2024 to 19 September 2024. 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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Service Pension and the Veteran Gold Card

If you have qualifying service, you will be eligible for a Veteran Gold Card once you turn 70.

You may also be eligible for a Gold Card if you receive a Service Pension and either:

  • you have certain impairments
  • your income and assets are below certain limits.

See Veteran Gold Card for details.

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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.

If your payments are reduced to nil due to income, including some level of employment income, your payments will be suspended for 2 years, instead of cancelled, providing a streamlined return to payment if your income again becomes below the threshold. You won’t have to submit a full application to have your payments reinstated.

Income and assets

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

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. We pay you at the couples rate.

Becoming partnered

If you are single and become partnered, you need to let us know so we can pay you correctly. We need to assess your combined income and assets as a couple and pay you at the couples rate. Your partner may be eligible for Service Pension Partner.

Living apart

If you live away from your partner due to illness, we may be able to pay you at the single rate. Your partner may also be able to receive Service Pension Partner at the single rate.

Becoming single

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 and 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 details about what may happen to your partner’s Service Pension if you separate, go to Service Pension for partners.

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

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Counselling and support

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.

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Living arrangements

Planning a change

If you are planning a change to your living arrangements and want to know how this might affect your payments, go to 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 arrangements
  • relationship status.

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

The amount of 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.

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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.

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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.

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. 

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What happens to payments when someone dies

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 payments are correct. A family member, friend, representative or funeral director can notify us.

If your partner dies while you are receiving a Service Pension, your payments will change to the single rate.

If your partner is receiving a Service Pension Partner at the time of your death, they may either:

See Service Pension for partners for more information.

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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