Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS)

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Find out how the VVRS can help you to obtain or sustain paid employment.

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What is the Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS)?

A voluntary rehabilitation program that can help you find or stay in suitable paid employment. 

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Who can take part

If you are medically able to take part and you have been assessed as needing support to find or stay in paid employment, we may be able to help.

You may be eligible to take part in the scheme if you served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and your service was one of the following types: 

  • operational service - service performed outside Australia, during warlike operations in which the ADF was involved, and in areas with a higher level of risk than normal peacetime conditions
  • peacekeeping service - service outside Australia with a Peacekeeping Force
  • hazardous service - service on an overseas deployment that the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs has deemed high risk, even though it was not during wartime, conflicts or peacekeeping operations
  • Defence service - peacetime service in the ADF, usually between 7 December 1972 and 6 April 1994. In most cases you need to have completed 3 years continuous full-time service, unless you were medically discharged
  • British Nuclear Test Defence service - you participated in the nuclear tests at Maralinga, Emu Field and Montebello Islands between 1952 and 1965, or patrolled Maralinga after the test period as a police or protective services officer

You may also be eligible if you get the Service Pension due to invalidity and you are a:

Commonwealth veteran 

You may have qualifying service as a Commonwealth veteran if you served: 

  • in the defence force of a Commonwealth country
  • during a period of hostilities
  • in war or warlike operations in which the ADF was involved.

You also need to have been: 

  • in danger from hostile enemy forces while serving outside your country; or 
  • awarded a campaign medal for service within your country.

Allied veteran 

You may have qualifying service as an Allied veteran if you served: 

  • in the defence force of an Allied country 
  • during a period of hostilities 
  • in war or warlike operations in which the ADF was involved 
  • while in danger from hostile enemy forces.

Allied mariner

You may have qualifying service as an Allied mariner if you: 

  • served during World War 2 
  • were detained by the enemy; or 
  • were in danger from hostile enemy forces; and 
  • served in an area where you would have been entitled to a campaign medal if you were a member of the defence force.

If you receive a Special Rate or Intermediate Rate pension, you will keep the TPI or Intermediate Rate status.

You do not need to be getting payments or treatment from us to be eligible.

If you are involved in any other vocational rehabilitation program, you cannot take part in the VVRS as well.

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What you can receive

There are several types of support available under the VVRS.

Rehabilitation assessment and plan

Clients who are assessed as needing rehabilitation support, to help them stay in or find paid employment, will commence on a rehabilitation plan. 

Assistance provided must link to paid employment and can include:    

  • advice or support if you are having problems at work
  • assistance with updating or upgrading your skills
  • advice on getting your skills recognised
  • job-seeking assistance including resume writing or job interview skills
  • limited training or retraining to help you obtain suitable work.

Pension protection and income safety net

If you are on a rehabilitation plan under the VVRS your employment circumstances may change. For example, returning to or increasing your paid employment. 

The Scheme has rules in place regarding how returning to paid employment will impact on your Disability Pension and/or Invalidity Service Pension payments. 

These rules provide surety if you are in receipt of a Special or Intermediate Rate of Disability Compensation Pension (DCP), and/or Invalidity Service Pension, that the income from your employment earnings and disability pension will never be less than the disability pension you would receive if you were not working. 

If you receive the Special or Intermediate Rate of DCP you will:

  • keep the TPI or Intermediate Rate status and the ancillary benefits. 
  • see a gradual decrease to your rate of Special or Intermediate Rate DCP while you continue to work

If you receive the Invalidity Service Pension you will also:

  • retain your eligibility to this pension and the ancillary benefits for 7 years.
  • see your employment income initially counted at 50% and, gradually increased to 100%.

If you receive both of these pensions, you can access the benefits for both while you are employed.

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How you can apply

You can apply by filling out the VVRS application form and returning the form to us

If you are eligible to participate in the VVRS, your application will be referred to a rehabilitation provider who will make contact with you to organise an initial assessment. 

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What we require you to do

You have certain obligations when you take part in DVA rehabilitation. It’s important that you understand and meet them.

How to meet your obligations

Your role requires you to:

  • participate and cooperate in your assessment
  • provide medical certificates or the status of your health condition/s if this is requested
  • work towards your rehabilitation goals and participate in all the activities on your plan
  • attend medical or other appointments if this is requested
  • respond to contact from your consultant and DVA.

Reporting employment 

You must report any of the following changes to rehab [at] dva.gov.au:

  • You stop or start working
  • Your employment income changes 
  • Your number of employment hours change.
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Things you should know

  • You do not need to be getting payments or treatment from us to be eligible for the VVRS.
  • If you are already participating in another vocational rehabilitation program, you are not eligible to take part in the VVRS as well.
  • Medical treatments and drug or alcohol rehabilitation are not covered under the VVRS. Treatment options are available for eligible clients who hold a Veteran Card.
  • We do not pay for business loans, tools of trade or equipment to establish a business through the VVRS.
  • We do not fund tertiary level study through the VVRS. 
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Relevant Legislation

Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme Instrument

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