Service pension for veterans
Information about age service pension and invalidity service pension, who can get them and how to claim.
Go to Service pension for partners for information on partner service pension.
On this page
- What is an age or invalidity service pension
- Who can get it
- What is qualifying service
- Who can get an age service pension
- Who can get an invalidity service pension
- How to apply
- Get help with your claim
- When to apply
- How much you can receive
- Service pension and the Veteran Gold Card
- What can impact your payment
- Counselling and support
- Living arrangements
- What you need to tell us
- What you don’t need to tell us
- Update us when your circumstances change
- How to tell us about changes
- What happens to payments when someone dies
What is an age or invalidity service pension
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.Back to top
Who can get it
To qualify for service pension as a veteran, you need to:
You may qualify for either:
- age service pension if you are at least 60
- invalidity service pension if you are permanently incapacitated for work.
If you are partnered, your partner may also qualify for a partner service pension.Back to top
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.Back to top
Who can get an age service pension
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 age service pension is simply called a service pension.Back to top
Who can get an invalidity service pension
If you are a veteran with qualifying service and you are permanently incapacitated for work, you may be eligible for an invalidity service pension.
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:
- you are permanently blind in both eyes
- you receive or are eligible for a Disability Compensation Payment at the special rate (TPI) under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA)
- you receive or are eligible for a Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP) under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).
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:
- has been rated at 40 or more impairment points using the Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans’ Pensions (GARP)
- is permanent
- prevents you from working more than 8 hours a week.
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 an invalidity service pension. The age service pension is taxable, but the invalidity service pension is not taxable until you reach Age Pension age.Back to top
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.
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:
- D0503 Claim for service pension part A – eligibility
- D0648 Claim for service pension or income support supplement part B – income and assets
- D0503-4B About claiming service pension
Go to Forms to find others you may need.Back to top
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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
Maximum per fortnight
If you are partnered
Maximum per fortnight (each)
These rates are current from 20 September 2023 to 31 December 2023. 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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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:
- income and assets, such as buying a new car or giving money away
- relationship status, such as becoming single or partnered
- living arrangements, such as selling your home and moving into a retirement village.
There are many other changes that can affect your payments. Go to What you need to tell us for more information.
From 1 January 2023, if your payments are reduced to nil due to income, including some level of employment income, your payments will be suspended for two 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.
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.
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 partner service pension.
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 partner service pension at the single rate.
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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:
- sell your home
- rent out your home
- buy or build a new home
- buy or sell an investment property
- rent accommodation
- move into a retirement village
- move into a residential aged care facility
- move overseas.
You can also access Help to buy property or find accommodation.Back to top
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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. You can contact the FIS on 132 300.Back to top
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 partner service pension at the time of your death, they may either:
- continue to receive a partner service pension if they are not eligible for a war widow(er)’s pension
- receive an income support supplement instead of a service pension if they are eligible for a war widow(er)’s pension.
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.Back to top